Farmers’ suicide rate in India

farmers suicide rate

An insight into farmers’ suicide rate in India

India has been witnessing an alarming farmers’ suicide rate in India since 1990 due to their inability to repay loans taken from banks or landlords. If we go by data from Wikipedia then, in the year 2014 there were 60,000 suicides in Maharashtra alone.

On an average, that means that there were 10 suicides per day. By the records of the National Crime Records Bureau of India, in 1995, a total of 294,438 farmers in India committed suicide. Out of this, 21% farmers were from one state i.c. Maharashtra and rest were from the states of Odisha, AP, MP, Telangana, Chattisgarh, and Gujarat.

All these states are known for loose financial and entry regulations. In a country where 70% of its population depends on agriculture, the suicide rate of 11.2% is shocking.

The causes for these have been varied like “high debt burdens, poor government policies, corruption in subsidies, crop failure, public mental health, personal issues and family problems.”
Around 60-70% of the Indian population is still dependent on agriculture then why is it that girls do not want to get married to boys who are farmers?

The writer has quoted a couple of examples to exemplify the struggles of farmers. Kishore and Vishwas Belekar, both are farmers and have not been successful in getting married on the grounds that they are farmers. Kishore is a rich man. He owns eight acres of land which is worth more than a crore. He is educated and has done his post graduation in Library Science and a diploma in Education.

In India, the problem of dowry is a social evil. Many parents get into lifelong debts just to pay their daughters’ dowries. Here is a boy, Kishore, who is a farmer and doesn’t want any dowry. His only demand is an educated wife but still, he has failed miserably in getting a suitable bride. He struggled for four years but in vain. His situations led him to think of changing his profession.

Even if it be a peon’s job so that some girl would agree to marry him. Whereas Vishwas Belekar did exactly that i.e. took up a temporary job so that some girl would agree to marry him. Vishwas played smart. He was happily settled in his original profession so he took up a temporary job just to get married. Once he was settled, he returned to agriculture after his marriage.

The writer has shared the perspectives of different stakeholders to further shed light on the farmers’ struggle to get married. What comes as a surprise is that girls born to parents who are farmers also do not want to get married in a farmer’s family.

“But in Beeker’s own home, his sisters Vanita and Savita refused to marry farmers. After turning down several suitors, they married small entrepreneurs, who earn much less than a farmer would.” The writer gives another example of Pallavi Nimule who would not get married to a farmer because she had seen the pain of her mother’s struggle to survive and feed the family. Her father was a farmer and he had committed suicide.

What comes as a surprise is that the marriage bureaus are not even willing to “list the names of boys whose occupation is agriculture”.

This is not the case of one or two farmers here and there. The scenario is across states. Be it in Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, etc. “This is the general scenario. Many boys come complaining that nobody is ready to marry them and that we should do something about it,” says Sowmya S R of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, a farmers ‘ body in the state.

Some would argue that girls from big towns or cities do not want to get married in villages because of lack of modern facilities in these places. But contrary to it, the girls who are born and brought up in villages or small towns are also not willing to get settled with farmers in the same villages or towns. For they believe that “Agriculture is not considered a reliable source of livelihood.”

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