Monday, March 13, 2006

Suicide in a distant land

Another article by Jaideep Hardikar on IndiaTogether regarding the Vidarbha suicides: Suicide in a distant land. The case where farmers migrate to lease farms for cultivation and end up in debts. They not only have to pay money to lease farms and bear the input costs, but are also left with no land to fall back on in case losses due to failed crops or fluctutating market prices.
... Venkanna Ramayya Rayee's suicide has an unusual edge. A farmer from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, his name won't figure as an entry in the suicide ledger in either state.
"Every farmer is in trouble, and chilly grower is no different," Tiwari says sarcastically. The issue of pricing is central, he adds. And until that is addressed, the government won't be able to bail them out of debt-trap.

Venkanna was only 21 years old ...


Diana said...

Puru, I have been reading stories about farmer suicides for a long time nw and last year when i visited andhra pradesh for my deprivation trip, i heard similar stories. bt i have never seen someone writing or suggesting or doing anything for these farmers.

Purushottam said...

diana---true, I have read several posts on the same topic too, but not very many solutions. I think there needs to be a short-term and long-term approach to the problem. The short-term being correct distribution of the debt-relief packages and strengthening the credit system for the farmers and also looking into malpractices of seed distribution and sales and procurement of crops in terms of costs and the procedure. Over the long term, I am not sure, but as many and even P. Sainath has mentioned that post 1990 (when the reforms started) and also since India started opening its imports market, the agriculture sector is being hit in several areas. Addressing such issues maybe long term or at macro level.

The following article(The Word on the NH 45) summarizes the situation perfectly:
Journalist P. Sainath, one of the course co-ordinators, in the introduction to his book Everybody Loves a Good Drought, writes that often poverty and deprivation get covered as events. There is a flurry of media activity when some disaster strikes. Hordes of reporters descend on a particular location and in the buzz that follows, the processes that led to the event are often completely ignored. There is a disturbing tendency in the media to completely ignore citizens of India who are beyond the margins of what Sainath calls ‘the elite vision’. The suicides of farmers across India is a case in point. If the media had been wise enough to look at it as a process — a result of the post-1991 economic liberalisation that adversely affected and continues to affect agriculture — it could have turned the spotlight on the real issues that confronted Indian agriculture a long time back.

Cinderella said...

Gosh,you guys are one serious lot.
Ahem....I hope you dont mind that.
Di was one serious gal I found after a long time who talks about sex-workers and colour discrimination instead of love n infatuation( like me !! ),and was really impressed,and when I came up here via her blog LOOK JEEZ found another sheep of the same herd.
Are you guys classfellas ??
BTW nice blog,and quality posts.
I'll be back for more.
Anyway,jokes apart

arunima said...

farmers suicide in Maharshtra and Andhra have evoked wide-spread sympathies and has virtually unleashed a storm of rage against liberalism. questions are now being raised about the vey raison-de-etre of the green revolution that uplifted only a few.but this public outcry drowned completely the whimper of the farmers in the north-east, who sufffer ineffably due to floods every year yet never receive half of the attention that their counterparts in the rest of india do. neways, great post.
if only u wud increase the font size of ur posts.

Purushottam said...

thanks for writing cinderella and arunima.

arunima---yeah, there are certainly lots of issues that need to get immediate and lots of attention---not only as an event but also to document their causes and to get a focus on solving them. Even the Vidarbha crisis has come into focus only recently, whereas most likely it has been in the making/happening for quite sometime (Sainath has reports starting from May 2005).

will look at the font size too, thanks