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Society and government policies: Farmers are beaten on both the fronts amid rising suicides
Now a days suicides by farmers are almost hogging the media space. Farmers are finding it difficult to face the cost of farming due to rising prices. So they knock the door of debt. It is clear that farmers are beaten on both the fronts, by society as well as by government policies, so when nothing is left, suicide is the easiest viable option.
To be a farmer in this callous nation clearly comes at a price.

Farmers have no fixed income; they do not know how to negotiate with the bank officials, corrupt government machinery, or the private money lender. So they all join hands and torment the poor farmers. Often he meets them for the first time in life, when all the avenues are closed, but here too he is meeting his own ruin or ultimately death.

So he has so many tensions and stress to take his life as his domestic and worldly relations are so devastated by perpetual want and poverty. But should not be the last and only solutions for all the problems. All this happened over the problems unsolved. Misfortunes cannot be foreseen.

Farmers see their life journey, a very long and tough journey. Joys seemed far away as if thrown away out of their fate. To top it all, there is no help from any corner. The whole bogey of life is lay empty, like a graveyard filled with row upon row of graves and ghost voices. His heart began to sink. He is fed up with poverty, court notices, droughts and floods. Every day is the same tired day. He cries, Oh God! I am in a graveyard or in my farm? His harvest is like corpses, emerging from the graves. Oh God! Come and lift me….Oh God!, Oh God!... He always prays.

Suicide by farmers on account of debt and poverty is becoming saddest and most unfortunate part. Almost all the small and marginal farmers in every village are under debt and credit defaulters, there is no solution for those poor and helpless farmers.

There is hardly any big farmers left in the villages in the post independent era, thanks to draconian anti-farmers acts like Abolition of Zamindari (Landlord) System, Land Ceiling Act, etc. Under these acts, all the so called surplus lands were snatched from the farmers, without paying a single penny to them as compensation and distributed by political parties to their vote banks.

These acts made farmers almost beggars within a night. Ironically, all these acts were brought by Congress, Communists and other secular and socialist parties, who are now trying to show themselves as the messiah of farmers.

In the cases of suicides poverty clubbed with government's cruelty tips the poor farmers over the edge. Small land holdings, due to draconian acts are alone responsible for the miserable lot of the farmers which led them to suicide. Politicians and bureaucrats try to show the suicide of farmers as a puzzle but it is not a puzzle but very simple to understand.

Farmers do agriculture work in fields. So they are unaware how difficult and unkind is the outer world. When farmer is trapped in the racket of debt then that is very difficult for him to cross the bar. Nobody is kind to the poor and helpless farmer.

According to the National Crime Register, two highest causes for suicides in India are family problem and health. But the high and dry babus forgot to mention or study that the most of the time two are inter-connected. Even lakhs commit suicide because of high medical bills. This is also an important reason that forces people to fall into debt trap every year.

When it comes to farmers, the chain of poverty, illness, family needs, government apathy, cruel system and suicide is very harshly established. Bank loans are usually cleared off easily because the rate on interest is very low. There are other family pressures like education, health problem, court cases etc. Each of these acts as a ruthless attack on indebted farmer but health demands are most cruel and taxing of them all.

With great fanfare government framed some acts to help the farmers. But these acts brought more disasters to the farmers. Chakbandi Act, Ownership to Bataidar and Pettedars Acts etc. can be put in this category. Under Chakbandi Act, government tried to give farmers land at a single place instead of different places. But this act threw farmers in unending litigations. Poor farmers were exploited by cruel justice system.

Under Ownership to Bataidar and Pettedars Acts, so called surplus land was distributed among the landless farmers. But actually it was distributed among the vote banks. This act again brought more disaster, clashes and legal hassles to the farmers.

Similarly Rent Control Act is also a tool for the harassment for farmers. Under this act the old and ancestral property is allotted to the tenants on a very low rent by corrupt government officer and farmer is denied both the possession of his property as well as good rent.

All such anti-farmer acts were brought by non-BJP governments who are claiming now as the saviors of farmers.

It is very true and shocking that suicides by farmers are much higher than the general average. It is surprise that rich states like Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra are on top on this data. Poor states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal or Orissa have serious poverty level but much lower suicide rates than Maharashtra or Punjab. Perhaps the shame of debt is much serious in these states.

Farmers everywhere, borrow money from their relatives and friends. They adopt this measure after banks and private moneylenders refuses them. But the sense of shame is much more in these rich states.

Things get worse if the farmer fails to repay the debt in time. He is like an out caste in family functions, marriages and local meetings and gatherings. But in north Indian states of UP, Bihar, Bengal or Orissa there are no such morals. Perhaps this may be the reason of low incidence of farmers' suicide in the poverty stricken sick states.

It is then not just the callus and laughing world outside the home, but a poor farmer's loss of self respect as head of the family that makes a debt ridden farmer impossible to live.

Today farmers need special protection. First anti-farmers acts like Abolition of Zamindari (Landlord) system, Land Ceiling Act, Chakbandi Act, Ownership to Bataidar and Pettedars Acts, Rent Control Act etc., must be repealed. Farmers must get quotas and reservation in education, employment and government schemes. Special rural and agriculture banks should be opened to give farmers loan on easy conditions.

Most of the time farmers have to face droughts and floods. Governments can very easily solve these problems and help the farmers. Government must construct dams on rivers, link rivers and harvest rain waters. These measures will solve the problems of drought and floods permanently.

Governments must establish rural and agriculture based industries. These measures will give farmers employment and side income.

Only then they may not feel 'What an unlucky hour it was when I set foot in a farmer's family, and invited my own destruction!'

A long train of failures and callousness has brought the farmers to this unfortunate pass.

For farmers, this is not a kind nation!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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