Yuva - India

Farmer’s suicide: a reality or a political agenda

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In the world of grey, problems arise when we start looking at things being complete white or perfect black. We live in a century where a suicide by an Engineering Aspirant means Stress, by a Dalit means Oppressed, and by a Farmer means Agrarian Distress, case closed.

Science says, 43% of the suicides caused are the resultant of kinds of genes in the body, while the rest 57% is due to external factors. These external factors may include a continuous and on-going mental pressure, physical extortion, or social torture. There is another fact that says that the least likely society in India to commit suicide are farmers. In fact, the rural people or the economically weaker section commits fewer suicides than the stronger wings of the society.

Then how come is farmer’s suicide is so overrated and have ever been in the frontline of the magazine? This is because of the political agendas that work as a big vote bank for the upcoming ruling parties. We live in a land which holds six hundred thousand (6, 00,000) villages, that accounts for 70% of India’s total area. Also, 58% of the population directly or indirectly depend on agriculture. When such a large mass of our population lives in a society which is majorly less literate and rather much more under confident, it becomes very easy for the political leaders to play their vote card by gaining sympathy from the villagers.

Any suicide caused due to any reason is overshadowed by the name of bank debt suicide. How silly it is that many cases have been registered under the name of failure of repayment of loan of the bank when the farmer didn’t have a bank account too. Let me bring ahead the case of South India, Wayanad district of Tamil Nadu. Wayanad was suitable for growing black pepper until 1990; hence many non-farmers too, along with the farmers came ahead for growing black pepper. It returned them a good price until Liberalization came in India, which also brought a higher competition and lower prices of the domestic commodities along with it. Also, due to the extreme use of chemical pesticides, and mono-cropping in the entire land caused many diseases to occur like the ‘Foot-rot’ and ‘Quick wilt’ among many. This caused a heavy loss to the people, and subsequently they involved themselves into drudgery, drug addiction, violence and later, suicides.

Till many years after this case, a rumour was spread that bank and non-institutional loans forced the people of Wayanad to commit suicide. Whereas from the case we clearly notice that there was no indication of loans, rather the people were gaining good wealth and were prosperous. Also, it was found that the major concern of the people there primarily were their social status and secondary, the marriage of their daughters. It was never the loan.

Later many people came ahead to register fake reports of suicide of their family members as the government of Tamil Nadu assured to give Rupees 50,000 per suicidal family in the year 2006. Government clearly knew about the past and current situation, yet for gaining votes, it didn’t bother to recheck reported suicides. This package was called the ‘Vidarbha package’, the programme called ‘Vidarbha package relief programme’ and the beneficiaries, ‘Farmer suicides’ beneficiaries. The widow women (or so-called widow women) were regularly brought in front of media, NGOs, village officers, bureaucrats, and politicians. And these women narrated the same stories that had been taught to them, when brought in public meetings to get their compensation in front of a big audience. NGOs had their own rigorous way of encountering the ‘Victim Families’ (as named by the NGOs) which was followed by regular visits, and long intimate interviews with the social workers. The whole case of suicide had taken a very different direction by now, could be better known to be the ‘Scandal of the State.’ And not to miss out, that particular political party won that year in Tamil Nadu.

The people of Wayanad didn’t need attention, rather a way out of their current sufferings so that they could grow a crop that could be productive and bring out higher returns in future. But here, the case was completely moulded, and given a track of vinneal interests of the politicians. This is exactly the current condition of India. No one can deny the fact that the farmers are mostly poor, but the crisis of money solemnly leads them to take their own lives. It is the social status, self-respect, land and other assets that they are more concerned about. Hence, their suicide must be taken as a suicide of any common man of India, despite of his geographical location, and should not be hijacked under the cover of debt, and other agrarian crisis every time. Playing over the farmer’s agenda is not new, where the death of an individual farmer is regarded as the death of a community and then starts the role play of the local politicians who try to incorporate every vote giving member of the family in the trailer of the worst upcoming movie.

Author: Irashi Jha

Intern, Goa Chronicle
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