The headline in the Newspaper was not conspicuous (Page 8, bottom) but it tickled my cerebrum! It read “Maha Adds Aamir Power to Save Water,” presumably Maha stood for Maharashtra. I was impressed, the Maharashtra Government had  finally discerned the control that Aamir, the film actor, commanded over the life giving and thirst quenching fast dwindling commodity, water.  After having irrigated their personal coffers from the loot of their  much maligned irrigation projects the authorities now turned to the Actor to lead them to sing and dance to propitiate the rain God as he did in Lagaan. The drought hit areas eagerly await his arrival and with him that of of the dark clouds pouring rain to the parched surface where he can with his ‘power’ save the water! Where he and his band of actors can ‘educate’ the  beclouded farmers on ‘water conservation’.

I suppose the Government is following a fairly old concept that of a Brand Ambassador, borrowed from our Corporates to promote their products to increase their sales. It is amusing that these Brand Ambassadors nominated by the Government are in fact  made to sell products (ideas/concepts) in which their mentors have tried and failed miserably, notably amongst them is our Agriculture sector, where water is the lifeline. However, there are  other areas which merit urgent and concerted attention to streamline agriculture and these revolve around investment, incentive and institutions to which they have given short shrift. The unpredictability of the monsoon is a folklore which continues to haunt presently and will do so in posterity. Let us expand our vision and look in developed countries, where we do not hear of losses in agricultural outputs due to droughts or the constant vagaries of the weather. Farm products in these countries enjoy large subsidies and are sold in the market at rates that do not hurt the farmer. In most such countries one may come across a Brand Ambassador for a farm product, but never for water, electricity, fertilizer and the like!

The “Green Revolution” during the early phase, began in 1950 with men like McIlroy, Kaven and AK Smith Jr. who introduced it in Uttar Pradesh, with high-yield crop varieties and application of modern agricultural techniques  which lead  to an increase in food production in our country, especially in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The main development of  higher-yielding varieties of wheat were subsequently developed by many scientists, including American agronomist Dr. Norman Borlaug, Indian geneticist M. S. Swaminathan, and others. The Indian Agricultural Research Institute also claims credit for enabling the Green Revolution, in part by developing rust resistant strains of wheat. Thus the high production of wheat  produced, resulted in the best results in fueling self-sufficiency in our country. Along with high-yielding seeds and irrigation facilities, the enthusiasm imbibed by the farmers from these men mobilized the idea of agricultural revolution.

Yes during the Green Revolution we did have Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and of course Bimal Roy of “Do Bigha Zamin” fame!

Were they Brand Ambassadors?