When India gained independence, the country did not have enough food to feed its people, and famines were almost an annual occurance. Govt. of India used to issue ads about how to save food, and Prime Minister Shastri had to appeal to the population to keep fast one day a week to save food (and gave the country the slogan "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" back in 1960s).
We have come a long way since then, and are a food-surplus nation. In fact, India is world's 2nd and 5th largest exporter of rice and wheat, repectively, and agriculture exports account for 14-15% of country's exports.
Good news so far, till one looks at two paradoxes of this turnaround of Indian agricultural sector:
1. a third of Indian population still goes hungry to bed everyday, and
2. the Indian agricultural sector is gripped by another kind of epidemic: suicides by farmers.
This post is about the suicide economy which remains invisible (to many) under the prowess of Indian agriculture. The estimates show around 25,000 suicides since 1997 when this phenomenon became visible... but the phenomenon is there - and growing!! (one report mentions that in Andhra Pradesh itself 8-10 farmers commit suicide everyday!!)
So why are Indian farmers committing suicide?
The Indian Farmer is India's category of HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) - resource-rich debt-ridden poor - a victim of development and economic policies.
Facts of Indebtness:
...So why are Indian Farmers indebted?
More to come...
...well, next time, when we take a morsel of Roti or a spoonfull of rice, at least we can pay homage to these suicide bombers of our globalized economy!!!
A Harvest of Misery
Suicide Spree in India's Farms
The Suicide Economy of Corporate Globalisation
Seeds of Ruin
India's Agrarian Suicide
Farmers and NGOs Oppose Seed Bill