Karti Dharti

Nosheen Ali, New York
Read in Gurmukhi

One thing is clear from the farmers’ protest - when a woman farmer talks about the crop, she showers love like she does on her own children. She nurtures the crop and children alike. When men farmers talk, they consider the land as mother. They say that they can’t abandon land just like they can’t abandon mother. The difference between the two perspectives is noteworthy. Why don’t women farmers consider the land, the earth as a mother?

Perhaps, in our society mothers belong only to sons. A daughter is a chore, a liability, a gift for another home. A daughter is brought up with the consideration that she would be sent away to her husband’s home one day. How can she, a stranger since birth, call earth her mother? Unmarried women and women who can’t birth children are insulted. She is not someone’s property. She did not produce someone who will ultimately own a property. Our society’s norms are poisonous. In reality, no one can have a dignified life in such a system.

Our earth and a woman’s worth are the same. I have named it karti dharti. The way women’s rights and agency are snatched, the word ‘farmer’ is stolen from women too. There is no word for a female farmer. I am protesting too, along with the words, and karti dharti is the name that describes nature's traditions. It is directly opposite to ‘karta dharta’. Neither the earth is a property, nor women. We look at both with the intention to own. We wish to control both, but we don’t want to love. If the earth remains a victim, we will remain victims too.

Unnatural seeds, urea and insecticides are the poisons that assault the earth. These are the things used to intimidate and threaten. These things make us sick. These ultimately will end the tradition of farming. What is unfortunate is that our hands are tied too. We are made to cast ourselves and the earth into the system. We have ultimately been threatened by the same system. Earth is screaming:

Fareed has observed that even sugar has become poison,

Without Beloved, who do I tell about my sorrow. 

We must rethink - what does the earth wish.