Not so Happy Pongal?'

Actor-farmers on why the festival may have lost its charm this time around...

Pongal — the Tamilians’ harvest festival — will not be the same this time for farmers who are affected by the drought. Reports suggest that around 100 farmers have committed suicide due to the poor yield caused by the failures of the monsoon fall. Actor Vivekh was one of the first to raise his concern over the ongoing crisis — and claimed that he would not be celebrating the festival since it beats the purpose.

K’town also has many real farmers working in the industry as actors and directors. Over the years, these actors have been batting for the betterment of farmers... how are they anticipating Pongal this time around?

Comedian Senthil, a native of a village in Ramanathapuram district, farms in his village with his siblings. The actor this time is joining his family for the celebrations. “For the past two to three years, I have been going to my village for the festival. This week also, I am traveling back to my native,” he says.

He adds, “In urban areas, they celebrate inside the house. But in rural parts, it is a bit different. Cows are celebrated during this time of our festival. But, there is no more ‘maatu Pongal’; you can only call it ‘Tractor Pongal’, now, since cows are slowly coming down in number! The celebrations have also lost its glamour after the jallikattu ban. I hope they lift the ban soon so that the pride is restored and the festivities gets its energy back.”

“‘Tractor Pongal’ — Senthil sir has hit the nail on the head. That’s how you should call it,” says actor Kishore of Polladhavan fame, who is a farmer in Karnataka — which has been declared as a drought-hit region .

This time Pongal is not as happy as it should be because of the drought. But with the small yield we have got this time, we will celebrate it in our farm. In my college days, there used to be rain for three months continuously for the monsoon season. This time it just rained for a few days! It is mainly because of urbanisation and exploiting forest resources,” says Kishore.

Talking about maatu Pongal, he says, “I was shooting in Kumbakonam for Rekka, and I came to know from the people that there were no country cows in their villages. Everyone now has Jersey cows which yield more milk. Our breeds are sent for culling. It is a good thing that everyone is now supporting jallikattu.”

Recently, in an interview with DC, Prakash Raj, who owns farms in two states, also said that farmers have more problems in addition to water and only they can decide for themselves, “I am a farmer in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. There are more serious issues than water for the farmers. They also need to be addressed, instead of fighting it out on the streets.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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