How distressed farmers should get de-stressed

Jug Suraiya

Two guests at a cocktail party at a five-star hotel in the national capital discussing farmers’ distress.

1st guest: I don’t know why the media is giving so much coverage to all this business about distressed farmers. I just can’t understand it.

2nd guest: Neither can I. I mean, what’s so stressful about having a farm. I have a 10-acre farm just outside Delhi, and you don’t see me going around moaning and groaning about how distressed I am, and marching into the city and causing a massive traffic jam, do you?

1st guest: No, I don’t. You don’t look stressed at all to me. So what do you grow on your farm? Vegetables, wheat, what?

2nd guest: Grow? I don’t grow things on my farm. I rent it out for shaadis, you know, big dhoom-dhaam weddings. At the rate of a lakh a day. All paid for in cash, of course, so none of that stupid income tax business.

1st guest: A lakh a day, eh? That’s pretty cool. 

2nd guest: Yeah, it’s nice pocket money to supplement my day-to-day dhandha. Which is export-import.

1st guest: Export-import? That sounds good. What do you export, and what do you import?

2nd guest: I export Indian rupees and import US dollars. 

1st guest: Isn’t that called hawala, or something?

2nd guest: I prefer to call it export-import. So what’s your line of business?

1st guest: Me? I’m a stripper.

2nd guest: A stripper? You mean like those naach-gaana women who dance in night clubs and bars without any clothes on? Pardon me, but looking at the size of your waistline, I don’t think I’d pay good money to see you doing a nanga-punga item number.

1st guest: Oho! I’m not that kind of stripper. I’m an asset stripper. I take loans from banks, buy up businesses of all kinds, strip them of all the assets they have, then declare them bankrupt and walk away with the loot.

2nd guest: Asset stripping seems like a good business to be in.

1st guest: It is, just like your export-import deal is. Instead of going around being stressed all the time, these dumb farmers should take a couple of tips from people like us.

2nd guest: You mean they should start renting out their farms for shaadi-waadis at a lakh a day like I do? 

1st guest: To start with. Then they should diversify into the dhobi business. 

2nd guest: The dhobi business? Like washing other people’s dirty baniyans and kachhas and pyjamas, and things like that?

1st guest: No, no! Not washing other people’s dirty kachhas and baniyans. Washing other people’s dirty money and making it clean. That sort of dhobi business.

2nd guest: Don’t they call that money laundering, which is against the law?

1st guest: I like to call it the dhobi business. And who says it’s against the law. Isn’t agricultural income exempt from tax? So taking people’s black money and turning it white is just like growing a cash crop, the crop you grow being cash itself.

2nd guest: That’s a pretty smart business to be in, growing cash as a cash crop. Much better than having to go to the sarkar-run Agriculture Produce Market Committee and being forced to sell the tomatoes you’ve grown for Rs 2/kg, and for which the consumer ends up paying Rs 22/kg, if not more.

1st guest: Exactly, if these distressed farmers follow our business model they will soon be de-stressed, and will have no need to ask for bank-loan waivers because they’ll have made so much money that they’ll own the banks from whom they previously had to take loans.

2nd guest: You know what? We should be put in charge of the Ministry of Agriculture, which right now is more the Ministry of Aggroculture in that it gets everyone aggro with everyone else.

1st guest: Yeah, we’d transform the rural economy overnight. The Green Revolution is dead; long live the Greed Revolution…. 

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