“I feel ashamed to call myself an Indian”: Farmer Suicide Every 30 Minutes

I feel ashamed to call myself an Indian after seeing what has happened here.

Few words could be more apt. They are not mine, but rather the Congress Party’s heir-apparent, Rahul Gandhi. Although he used them to criticize the Mayawati Government in UPs autocratic moves to seize land from farmers, the words resonate with something bigger that ails India.

To look for the roots of the problem, Rahul doesnt have to look far. His family Nehru, Indira, Rajiv have played a huge part in that shame. India is now a country where a farmer commits debt-related suicide EVERY 30 MINUTES! This has been the case for the last sixteen years. I shudder to think what it would be for just Punjab alone.

Yesterday, Smita Narula, aFaculty Director at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ), based at NYU School of Law, AND a Board of Director of ENSAAF, spoke on DEMOCRACY NOW!, a popular US radio show (pagh salute: Pali).

 


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25 Responses to ““I feel ashamed to call myself an Indian”: Farmer Suicide Every 30 Minutes”

  1. Blighty Singh says:

    Don't give a monkey's about India. What I care about is Punjab and when it comes to farmer suicides in Punjab, each of us sitting here in London, Toronto or San Jose is guilty of not only providing the rope but also making sure the knot is tight enough for an effective death. I'm talking about the way that many of these farmers are in debt in the first place because of the expense of getting their daughters married. Every time one of us in the west tells daddy we want a big no expense spared wedding we are effectively guaranteeing the ruin of a family back home. Like it or not, we should be setting the right example for them back home………knowing that they follow our trends. Its got to the stage in Punjab where, if the farmer doesn't mortgage his land and borrow the equivalent of 50 years wages to have a big wedding bash he and his family is socially ostracised. (continued in next message)

  2. Blighty Singh says:

    …….. I got married in Punjab a few years ago and my one and only condition was that it should not cost my wife's family more than the cost of a sukhmani path. I know alot of other British Sikhs that go there with the same noble intention. On the other side of the coin though you've got the Canadian Sikhs that see the rural farming families as some sort of business deal cash cow and only marry those that borrow the most money to give to them. Look, I'm not saying the cost of marriage is the only or even major factor….but it is a factor….and its something we ourselves can do something about.

  3. Gagandeep says:

    Also, Punjab is the only state in India that doesn't have control over its irrigation water. The Indian govt. has diverted the waters towards neighboring states. The farmers can't make money if they don't have water to grow crops.

  4. JSA says:

    Asnine. Vacuous.

  5. harinder says:

    I fail to understand why any one has to commit suicide?
    If farming is not finiacially viable then I guess
    Punjabi University must translate this book by Spencer Johnson
    "Who Moved My Cheese" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Moved_My_Cheese%

    in Punjabi and distribute it amongst the suicide prone brothers .

  6. Blighty Singh says:

    'Mera Paneer kehne hor kithe rakhtha ?" Yes, Harinder. I can just it flying off the shelves at Nurmahal District Library.

    Seriously though, the problem with rural land in Punjab is that although farming that land doesn't bring in much money the land itself is some of the most expensive on god's earth. In my own village in Jalandhar district for example an acre costs the same as 10 acres in England and up to 50 acres in relatively cheap Canada or Australia. As such, its very easy, and sometimes tempting, to borrow obscene amounts of money on the back of such mega valuable security. Paying it back ?…..Well thats another story. A none too pleasant story that often ends with a noose around one's neck.

  7. harinder says:

    Let the new slogan then be

    "No to Noose"

    Suicides should be bannned and made a Sin.

    There is no shortage of Land in this universe we after all live in a 'MULTI VERSE"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

  8. Gurprret says:

    Are there any like minded people who are ready to help/support such families of Punjab via http://www.bnespunjab.org/ ?
    -Mallika Kaur has written about them at http://sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=2309&am
    -Makers of the film Widow Colony made a new film on this and they did this based on works of Baba Nanak Educational Society

    Please reply so we can collect funds and donate to this organization.

  9. harinder says:

    a)Drugs and b)Suicide are the modern day problems Punjab is facing.
    I feel some cause could be

    1)Super ego of Punjabi boys of what jobs they should do or not do.
    2)Lack of dignity of labour.
    3)Inability to work hard amongst the youth.

    The questions youth should ask is

    1) If I am facing grinding poverty should I commit suicide ?
    2) If I am being denied justice should I commit Suicide ?
    3) If I am cheated in love should I commit Suicide ?

    What are the circumstances under which Suicide is Justifiable and a reasonable option ?

  10. Blighty Singh says:

    Sometimes suicide is the answer. But not when it comes to rural debts in Punjab because those debts are secured on the valuable land and on death, will pass on to the land's beneficiaries. So….why a farmer thinks passing a massive debt on to his wife and son is a good thing I do not know.
    Looking at things on a wider level….looking for other solutions…..what can be done ? 4 simple options (in next message)

  11. Blighty Singh says:

    1) stop planting rice. There's no money in it and it uses 20 times the amount of water that other crops need.
    2) If your son and daughter say they wanna go to university tell them to do a business management / agriculture course rather than the patheticaly obligatory 'Hotel Hospitality' course they all seem to do. Get educated in the valuable resource you have at your fingertips (land)……diversify your family land…..grow flowers…organic chillies or something and sell directly to European or north american wholesalers etc. Cut out the blood sucking vampire middle man : the Indian government.
    3) Live within your means. Set the right example and others will follow. Have small weddings. Don't have big parties. If you really wanna car buy a maruti……..Those big suv's are just gonna kill the environment your kids inherit.
    4) Stay away from the deras…nakli babas etc….re-find the Sikhi you once knew….and re-ignite that forever optimistic chardi kala attitude.
    There you go then. Bish bosh bish. Suicide problem sorted.

  12. harinder says:

    To this I would like to add. Know mathematics language well. Read latest theories like "M Theory" and String Theory. Like farm land out of which you can grow food and earn your livelihood. From these theories you can make new gadgets like "Quantum computers" "New universes with abundant land" and "Ever life" .
    Knowledge with Maths ,physics and engineering is the future.
    Suicides is no answer.

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  16. Sher says:

    Blighty Singh, sorry my command over your country's language is a bit shaky so please help me in understanding some parts of your, otherwise, wonderfully written posts.

    "Don't give a monkey's about India"

    What do you mean? Are you saying you do not give a damn about other Indian farmers committing suicides? Their (non-Sikhs?) collective tragedy flies right under your moral radar?

    I didn't understand, on one hand you are preaching about "re-finding Sikhi" and on the other you are being such an insensitive prick (pardon my french)! What you are suggesting is that Sikhs/Khalsas should be concerned ONLY about their co-religionists and if others are suffering from the same problem, they can go and get stuffed?

    Guess what would happen if others also have the same attitude for Sikhs, imagine people's reaction for Wisconsin tragedy. How you would feel is some idiot wrote: I don;'t give a monkey about Wisconsin but….'?

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