26 April 2018
Farmer Suicides : Vidarbha
'We cultivate pearls, but our children go hungry'
Shreekrishna Kalamb's life and musings as a poet-farmer symbolise the agrarian crisis that is wrecking havoc in the Vidarbha countryside. Kalamb ended his life last month, and his grieving daughter now hopes to publish the collection. Jaideep Hardikar reports.

Life on credit, death in installments Four years, three men, one family. The tragedy unleashed by the agrarian crisis on the family of Deshmukhs in Katyar village of Vidarbha isn’t vanishing. Jaideep Hardikar reports.
Agriculture Farmer Suicides MAHARASHTRA
Cooking numbers as agri-volcano builds up Using a deviously devised method, Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is claiming that 75 per cent of Vidarbha farmer suicides are not due to indebtedness at all. Meanwhile, the toll has crossed 250 this year and is rising. Jaideep Hardikar reports.
Agriculture Farmer Suicides Agriculture Policy MAHARASHTRA
The tale of three widows Savita, Sunita and Pratibha are three women from different contexts, background and age groups, yet engulfed by the continuing tragedy that plays out in Maharashtra. The number of widows is growing at a frightening speed in the cotton country. Jaideep Hardikar reports.
Agriculture Farmer Suicides MAHARASHTRA Women
Striking a note of dissent Even as the suicides in Vidharbha go on relentlessly, a trend has strengthened these past months. More and more farmers are blaming the Government and even talking directly in their suicide notes to Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, writes P Sainath.
Farmer Suicides OP-ED P Sainath The Real Picture
Replying with bullets After the police firing incident at Wani in Vidarbha last month, the Maharashtra government's cotton procurement at the minimum support price rose to 20,000 quintals in four days at one centre alone. But in weeks, it's back to the old ways, making distressed farmers wait at market yards for days, writes Jaideep Hardikar.
Agriculture Farmer Suicides Government MAHARASHTRA
Sermons for the distressed souls In response to the mass farmer suicides in Vidarbha, the state government is organising spiritual and counselling sessions, even as there are no signs that the economic roots of the crisis are being tackled. Jaideep Hardikar reports.
Relief Farmer Suicides Culture MAHARASHTRA Society
A final note on credit The announcement of fresh crop loans came late in the sowing season for Vidarbha. And, say the suicide notes of farmers, the talk at the top has not been matched by credit at the bottom. Meanwhile, the rain is adding to the devastation, writes P Sainath.
Farmer Suicides OP-ED P Sainath The Real Picture
"Give us a price, not a package" Vidarbha's farmers are unhappy with the "relief packages" announced by the State and the Centre. Debt relief and access to credit are certainly important to them, but they want the larger issues driving the suicides addressed first, writes P Sainath.
Farmer Suicides OP-ED P Sainath The Real Picture
Politics of packages, packaging of politics Had there been a waiver of debt of up to just Rs.25,000, more than 80 per cent of Vidarbha's farmers would no longer have owed the banks money. People thought that waiver would come. It didn't, and the sense of being let down is great, writes P Sainath.
Farmer Suicides OP-ED P Sainath The Real Picture
How Mumbai came to discover Vidarbha The Prime Minister's upcoming visit to Vidarbha has had an impact even before he's reached there. It would, however, be a transient impact if he does not see through the charade. The mess there starts right at the top. Vidarbha's condition is the product of design, not decay, writes P Sainath.
Farmer Suicides OP-ED P Sainath The Real Picture
Slowing down the suicides There are several immediate steps both the Centre and the Maharashtra Government could take to ease the situation in Vidarbha. These would not solve the long-term crisis, but would surely slow down the farm suicides that continue to rise, writes P Sainath.
Farmer Suicides OP-ED P Sainath The Real Picture
Waiting for 'anna' in Vidarbha The failure of the banks has seen new kinds of creditors emerge in Vidharbha. Some of these now come in from neighbouring States - with a 'home delivery system' of loans. Many farmers owe money to banks, cooperative societies, input dealers, private lenders, close relatives - and 'anna.' Life is about borrowing from one lender to pay off another, writes P Sainath.
Farmer Suicides OP-ED P Sainath The Real Picture
India Together offers an excellent forum for people from diverse fields of expertise to present their views, share their experiences and raise questions about where our country and society are headed in the future.
Amitabha Basu
  • Retired Scientist
  • National Physical
  • Laboratory
  • India Together reader