as he looks up from the wilting cotton, perspiration smolders his forehead, the wrinkles around his dark brown eyes squint, and blackened calluses on his hands ache. the scorched canola hug his limping body, his lifeline, his mere source of income, thus the accumulation of his sacrifices. his hope parched for water, on a land struggling to cope with agriculture, the land of five rivers, now becoming the land of the forgotten. once a symbol of Punjab’s strength, now the land without aqua serves a constant reminder that in twenty years time, a desert will remind him of his land snatched by corruption.
I wrote this poem as a free verse poem sectioned into four stanzas. I wrote a free verse poem, because I wanted to get my point across clearly with four stanzas each trying to bring the story together. I don’t think a rhyme scheme would shed the same respect as a free verse poem, because rhymes tend to showcase a sense of perfection. However, this situation is very close to my heart and the reality of the situation is devastating. My family comes from a long line of farmers; generations and generations of my family have been heavily involved in agriculture in Punjab, India. Punjab is a northern state in India, where agriculture is one of the most prominent industries. Punjab means “Land of the Five Rivers” in Punjabi, but water levels are becoming scarce and groundwater sources are fast depleting. Seventy five percent of the water from these rivers have been diverted to other states, leaving Punjab with only 2.5 rivers. Moreover, NASA has put the state on red alert, concerned that it will become a desert in fifteen years. However, this isn’t the only factor affecting livelihoods of farmers in Punjab. There are new bills to be put in legislation that will privatize certain aspects of selling crops, leaving the farmers with no safety net to fall back on. By capitalizing the market, these farmers are facing new challenges, regulations, and poverty on top of the mounting challenges of climate change. This is leading to devastating drug usage, alcohol consumption, illness and higher suicide rates in these communities. Sadly, farmer suicide is a common occurence in Punjab with 16,606 suicides between 2000-2015. With all of this being said, I don’t think we realize how big of a role farmers play in our lives. So if you ate today, please keep these farmers in mind.