In the month of July, I had announced “Vidarbha 11 Districts Run” for 45 days covering 200 odd villages of Vidarbha Region all across the 11 districts to spread awareness and raise funds for the suicide farmers’ families (http://support4suicidefarmersfamilies.blogspot.com/2010/07/vidarbha-11-districts-run-in-november.html) . As per plan, I had decided the run in the month of November-December 2010 but since the trust registration was taking its own sweet time due to unavoidable reasons, I later declared that the run would start on the 1st of February 2011 and end on the 18th of March... I am sure those who have been following the blog have been anticipating the run as the months are closing in... In fact, many enthusiastic individuals from various countries had even informed me about their participation in the run.
Dear citizen of the world, I am extremely-extremely sorry to inform you that I have no option but to postpone the run because our trust registration has taken many-many months to materialise. In fact, in yesterday’s post I wrote how relieved I was to finally submit our trust forms and papers for registration. I was told at the office that it may take another three more months before we get our registration papers... so a long discussion followed between the three trustees and we all decided we had no option but to postpone the run... since without the trust registration this run would have served no purpose at all.
Also various ground realities have pushed most of our plans further in future... when I arrived in the month of April in Vidarbha, I barely knew the seasonal months and also the working patterns of the farmers and their families throughout the year... it surely has been a learning experience for me to gauge the various acts of villagers as different months make them busy with sowing, removing weeds followed by harvesting season... each of these activities take various months as per seasonal change... currently while harvesting of various crops are taking place, the sowing is also simultaneously taking place... so all the farmers and family members are busy in the fields...
I am a bit content and sad too, to inform one and all that the year 2010 has been good and bad for Vidarbha farmers in many ways:
(i) The number of farmers’ suicide reduced to less than 700 this year as compared to other previous years.
(ii) Rainfall this year had been 25 per cent in excess, as compared to the last three years of drought like situation.
(iii) Farmers got a good rate for cotton this year from private traders to an extent that the range per quintal across the 11 districts of Vidarbha was between Rs. 4000/- to Rs. 5111/-
(i) 600 Plus Farmers’ succumbed to suicide due to various reasons this year.
(ii) The excess rain did damaged crops in many parts of Vidarbha and many farmers lost their earnings, savings and hard work and yes, some of them even their lives.
(iii) Government policies seem to do not much with only announcement being made in media.
It is only after our trust will get its registration number, we will be able to chalk out the 11 Districts Vidarbha Run... till then, I have many things to learn on ground to plan our programmes for the year 2011. In the past few months that I have lived as a Vidarbhan, I must confess I have been accepted by various villages as one of their own. The feeling of belonging to my own nation is perhaps the best any individual can ever experience... the spicy thecha (chilly chutney), bhakri (roti made of Jowar – Sorghum, Rice), kanda (raw onions) and dal... wow! The journey from Bollywood’s Five Stars’ Parties to simple food with pure love and warmth in villages has been amazing and an experience that truly cannot be described in mere words...
In my deepest of deepest heart, not even for once I felt that the transformation of my life and destiny had been a mistake... I am glad my destiny brought me to where I belong like a true Indian! A big-big ‘Thank you’ to one and all from all across the globe for encouraging and supporting the movement... you all have made me to become more stronger than I ever was!