The tragedy of an Indian farmer

Recently I was having a conversation with one of my relatives and we both came to a state of agreement about the weather Gods being unkind. All was well until he said that the worst affected are farmers and us, because of the subsequent price rise. In complete acceptance of the first half of his statement, but the latter part exposed the inherent and normalized insensitivity of a city dweller towards a situation that leads to the death of innumerable farmers. Some people feel the need to sympathise with them because of this very reason. How Ganjendra Singhmaterialistic! Is there no other cause than a self-centered one with which we can perceive this as a serious issue which seems to be eating away our country’s roots?

The horrific and mysterious accidental or premeditated suicide of Ganjendra Singh in AAP’s rally in New Delhi directed concern towards the critical circumstances that drives farmers to a hopeless pitiable extent where no other resort than death befits the escape. Whether or not he intended to commit suicide is unsure of but the very astounding fact that a culmination of events as tragic as this went unnoticed by eyes of the many present is appalling beyond measure.

Apart from erratic rainfall and extreme weather conditions over which we do not have control yet we must not forget how our imprudent, careless and senseless actions have managed to cause drastic alterations in the weather patterns, there are man-made reasons which play a greater role in abetting farmer’s suicides. The growing use of biotechnology owing to the stiff competition Indian farmers face creates a vicious cycle of loans and debt. A single instance of crop failure in this case due to any reason leads to severe implications rendering the farmer incapable of paying the loan and hence falling greater in debt. The role of the state here becomes important; however the government’s insufficient measures and reforms have led to the perpetuation of this ghastly problem.

34405414-gajendra-singh-suicide_6Depression is the disease of the poor. According to a UN report on International Farmer Suicide Crisis many farmers have committed suicide by drinking the very pesticides that no longer work on their crops. An unexpected health expense or the marriage of a daughter is perilous to the livelihood of these farmers. The aftermath is more gruesome as the family is harassed by the moneylender, the widow is burdened with the responsibility of providing for the family and the compensation, if received, is minimal in the face of their dire circumstances.

Hence the insensitivity prevalent is evident as the suicide is seen as a matter relevant to us as long as it is affecting us personally by way of inflation or shortage of food. How can we blind ourselves to the fact that over 100,000 farmers fall prey to this epidemic because the system is compelling them to do so? How can we not see the death of each farmer as our irresponsibility as a citizen to address this issue as a collective? Why can we not view this deplorable condition of our society as loss of meaningful human lives rather than group them under a number as faceless individuals who died because it rained too less? The blame-game needs to stop.

Manleen Bawa

About Manleen Bawa

It is a very daunting task for me to describe myself. I feel that there isn’t any one particular kind of thing that can truly define me. So, I am the kind of person who will very blatantly speak her mind, shoving away all signs of coming across as rude. I am also the kind who might tell you that you look quite pretty today just because I know how good that will make you feel about yourself. I am the kind of person who will often lose herself in the beauty of a book while completely oblivious to the world around me. I am also the kind of person who will try to devote as much time to others (people I love and care about) as I possibly can. What makes us human are our complexities. So, rather than being a strict prototype of a certain way of life, be complex. Be human.
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