Post world war-2, western elites created new issue i.e. world hunger. And to solve the problem, they came up with ‘Green Revolution’.
First, the illusory problem and then delusional solution. Hunger was never an issue in localized societies. But without creating this problem, how can you sell the mechanized techniques? 😀
I often discuss case studies of Punjab and MP, traditional wheat lands, to understand disaster we invited in name of green revolution.
Today, I studied Bali.
Decentralized Water management by temples vs Failed disconnected bureaucratic green revolution
In the mid-1970s, a young anthropologist, Steve Lansing, arrived in Indonesia to study the ancient rituals of the water temples on the volcanic slopes of Bali.
John Steven Lansing is one of the only anthropologists to study agricultural practices in Bali. Through extensive research into Balinese culture, he discovered the cosmology behind much of daily life, including the organization of water irrigation systems.
For thousands of years, generations of Balinese farmers have transformed their landscape to enable the growth of irrigated rice. Parallel to the physical system of rice terraces and irrigation, intricate networks of shrines and temples are dedicated to agricultural deities.
Balinese water temples are instrumental, both as religions markers and as aids to agricultural productivity. Traditional Balinese agricultural practices were based on rituals for the Goddess of the Lake, Dewi Danu, one of the two supreme deities of Bali. The top of Mount Batur has a vast freshwater crater lake that is considered a sacred cosmic map, or mandala, of waters.
Water temples organize community groups and maintain ecological productivity. It will take a book long note to describe this fascinating irrigation practice. Do read at sources [1] [2] [3]
The green revolution mania uprooted 1000+ years old efficient system. The Green Revolution was an approach to agriculture that involved the use of science and large-scale government to control productivity via the use of new forms of crops. It had a profound effect on the practical use of water temples in Bali, disrupting the balanced cycles of cultivation.
Temples were brushed off as religious institutions with no constructive role in boosting rice production. This resulted in an ecological crisis. The Green Revolution in Bali began in 1962, when the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) developed a new high-yielding variety of rice called IR-8. They encouraged its use throughout Asia. The Indonesian government was enthusiastic because it was expected to increase rice production and was responsive to chemical fertilizers (Lansing, 1995).
Countless centuries of clearly thought out irrigation schedules, intrinsically bound with Balinese religious cosmology, had coordinated a magnificent balance between water sharing and pest control. This system was undermined and infiltrated by naïve capitalistic policies in a matter of a decade.
The bureaucratic irrigation complex failed because it contradicted the native decentralized system of temple ritual and agriculture in Balinese society. A decentralized planning strategy is beneficial since it tends to favor indirect, non-central government control while empowering local people by giving them command over their project (Ralston, Anderson, and Colson 113). The water temples create a decentralized system in which priests and farmers control the land under a religious hierarchy rather than the central government. Scientists and economic policy makers who designed the Green Revolution did not consider the viewpoint of farmers, the very individuals who were the project’s main beneficiaries.
Along with our own several disasters, it is lesson to learn for Indian agriculture.