Friday, April 23, 2010

GREAT EXPECTATIONS (23rd Apr 2010, 1130 Hrs)

On 20th April, I visited the village Vaigaon, 18 kms away from Wardha. Great expectations indeed, whenever a new stranger enters the village. Especially for the families who have lost someone to the dreaded disease called ‘Farmers’ Suicide’! I got details of three recent suicide cases from the gram panchayat office.

This surely was the testing time for me. Not knowing exactly how I will be able to start the conversation with the affected families, with a strong will, I made my entry in the first house, then the second and followed the third one. Every single case was different from the other and every facts were revealing in many aspects. Deceased Namdeo Bablaji Jhade, a 65-year-old farmer committed suicide on the 1st of March 2010, leaving behind his wife, three married sons and a married daughter Madhuri (Vinod – 37 yrs, Pramod – 35 yrs and Vilas – 32 yrs) behind with as many as 6 grand children.

Children are oblivious of the tragedy and
they kept smiling looking at me

Reason of suicide was stated by Pramod as debt and distress and his father consumed poisonous pesticides to end his life. Pramod revealed that as much as Rs. 50,000 /- of bank loan and more than Rs. 1 lakh of moneylenders’ loan are to be paid. The joint family have 7.5 acres of farm land. To meet the demands of the family, the younger brother continues farming like his father while the other two work as every day labours to earn sufficient money to run the family of 13 members. They have in total four cattle for milk and ploughing the farm land. The amounting pressure of bank and moneylenders to return the loan amount led Namdeo to find the easiest route – SUICIDE!

Sad but true, unlike the soldiers of the nation who serve various defence forces, the poor farmers never get any pension from the government of India for his life-long services to grow food for the nation selflessly. I wonder what is the fault of the farmers’ community and why the government overlook such an important facets to compensate the hard working farmers of the nation. Inspite of facing various natural calamities, the farmers have to fight against all odds to keep growing food for the nation. And what does the nation gives them – SUICIDE!

Their losses are hard to compensate by the nation in whatever ways, even if one tries to do so… all they need is security of a decent living by the government and is this too much to ask for? If Swantantra Senani, Police, Armed Forces, Political Leaders and all Government Employees are entitled for pension by the government, WHY HAS THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT EXCLUDED THE FARMERS FROM THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA? Hope the nation wakes up to support the farmers of the nation by giving them a proper due by granting them pension for their selfless services as, unlike others who have a retirement age, the farmers continue farming till he is physically capable irrespective of his age… Please Mr. Prime Minister… if you have introduced the RIGHT TO EDUCATION, then why can’t you introduce PENSION FOR THE FARMERS???

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