Lets Bid Farewell To Agrarian Society: by Aziz Narejo
The proclamations that we are an agrarian society and that agriculture makes up sizable portion of our GDP should not make us any proud. They actually demonstrate the failure and the inability of the state and the free enterprise to develop and create other more viable, more efficient and forward looking means of production in the country.
It is time our leadership in the fields of politics, economics, planning, business, trade and industry makes serious efforts to come up with a workable plan to leave behind the failed legacy of the so-called agrarian society, which has major contribution in our backwardness. It is undoubtedly responsible for leaving a large section of our society at the mercy of ‘agri-chieftains’, waderas, choudhries, Khans, Sardars, tribal war lords, Pirs and all the other evils of the kind.
One would also like to point out that our so-called agrarian society is also guilty of over exploiting, misusing and wasting water, the nature’s most precious gift to us. The canals, water courses and the flood irrigation system, which is in vogue in Pakistan, are the major culprits. There definitely are other irrigation systems tested and used in the world, which if put to use in Pakistan, may increase the agriculture production many times over from the same amount of water. WAPDA and other related agencies are committing an unforgivable crime by not exploring alternate, more efficient irrigation/water management systems.
It is imperative to look for newer methods to get the most out of this highly valuable source of life rather than focusing on the most divisive and politically motivated plans to build large dams that we don’t really need and which will be a drain on the national exchequer and harm the human life, the economy and the ecology in the southern part of the country. We should spend those billions of dollars on developing alternate means of production, industrialization and building infrastructure for the future of our country. We should have been ready to enter the environment friendly and more prosperous post-agrarian era by now instead of still lingering under the dark ages.
(Letter published in daily Dawn, Karachi in October 2003).