Death – the only option for farmer?

  • Why is the poor farmer driven to death?
  • Can’t the society take care of him?
  • Why are we so insensitive to human misery?

(M Ramdas)

How inured are we to others’ suffering! How insensitive has society become!! These thoughts inevitably agitate our minds when we hear of yet another desperate farmer in Telangana taking his life.

Why is the poor tiller of the soil forced to take such an extreme step? Is the KCR government unable to provide water for irrigation, power for his pumpset, proper seeds and fertilizer for his crop and adequate finance to keep him and his family going?

The local moneylender plays a sinister role in the scheme of things. He is quick to grant a loan, unlike banks which involve red tape not to speak of inadequate finance. And if the farmer is unable to pay back in time, the loan amount multiplies manifold, making things worse.

There is, in such instances, talk in official circles of writing off loans. But, percentage-wise, how many farmers have thus benefited? Only a negligible few. In actual fact, the cornered man even pledges his crop and material possessions to stave off misery for his wife and children. But sooner than later, he is unable to keep his body and soul together and, out of sheer desperation and depression, commits suicide.

However, the Government has still remained unmoved. Is there any kind of aid which has reached the widow and the children? How will they survive? Each one of us should realize that even one farmer’s death will mean that amount of food grains will not reach the market. We live by the rice or wheat which he brings into our homes; so, if we drive him to despair and death, sooner or later we will starve.

The villains of the piece in this sordid drama are not just the government of the day or the micro financier. You and I are equally guilty of apathy and neglect of a very human problem.

Should not the powers that be constitute an expert committee on a war footing to address the plight of the farmer? Are we not all guilty of turning a blind eye to human misery? Let us wake up and move purposefully before news of another violent end reaches our ears. To paraphrase a line from a famous American folk song : “How many deaths will it take before we can say enough have died ?”

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