Skip to main content

Deep into debt, failing to pay back loan, Banda farmer commits suicide

By Bharat Dogra* 

In a country that has already heard about so many suicides by farmers, perhaps the recent suicide by one more farmer will not attract much attention, but nevertheless the extremely distressing story of the recent death of a young farmer Ramnihor -- in Baragaon village (Baberu block) of Banda district, Uttar Pradesh, must be told.
As Sukhdev (photo), the elderly and ailing father of Ramnihor, says, "For a long time my son had been telling me, had been telling his mother and others that I have to die. He had already made two suicide attempts. Once he tried to take poison. Somehow he survived. Then he tried to hang himself and again he could be saved. I was alarmed and tried time and again to speak to him for long hours trying to get the thought of dying out of his head. His mother also spoke to him regarding this, and of course his wife spoke too."
Sukhdev wiped his tears and continued -- then I said to myself -- may be the words of family members do not carry so much weight. So I summoned those relatives who are widely respected. They also tried to convince him a lot. He nodded out of respect but it appears the turmoil within him never subsided.
What was it that was troubling Ramniroh so much, so badly?
His father suffered from a serious stomach ailment and needed surgery. His elder brother Basant too was not keeping well. So Ramniroh considered himself more to be responsible for managing family affairs.
Responsible he was and willing to work hard, but he was saddled with a great burden -- a loan which the family just did not have the resources to pay back. Sukhdev asserts that the original loan was just around Rs 100,000 or so but over the years, adding compound interest, this had escalated to closer to about Rs 500,000. 
With a land holding of about 3 acres of land, this family just did not have the capacity to pay back such a loan, particularly when they were confronted with frequent medical expenses.
However the path of suicide that Ramnihor chose to get out of his feelings of hopelessness has only added to the woes of his family members and particularly his elderly parents. His mother appeared to be in such extreme distress that it was extremely difficult to ask her anything. Still she told haltingly that Ramnihor has left behind a small daughter. 
Ramnihor thought and discussed a lot about how to get the family out of the debt burden, but he could not find any means of doing so
Ramnihor’s elder brother Basant who is not in good health has two children. Hence they are an eight member family now whose subsistence is extremely difficult as the most capable member of this family has committed suicide.
Can some relief be obtained for this family from the government? Such relief has not been difficult to get in recent times but nevertheless an effort should of course be made. An additional complicating factor in this case is that the land was not in the name of Ramnihor, it is in the name of his father Sukhdev.
Ramnihor thought and discussed a lot about how to get the family out of this debt, but he could not find any means of doing so, and he could not find anyone who could give him a sense of hope.
Could things have taken a more hopeful turn if someone had provided timely hope to Ramnihor? What sort of promise or help would have given him relief?
Clearly there should be places -- some sort of a farmer distress and relief centre -- where those farmers in such distressing conditions can go to discuss the possibilities of debt-relief or benefiting from any of the government’s numerous development schemes. 
Officials in such a centre can recommend if not decide some sort of special relief in such cases, or else they can make available additional counselling, anything to give hope and confidence to someone in deep despair. If such facilities had existed, perhaps Ramnihor would have been alive today.
*Honorary convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. Books: "Planet in Peril", "Man over Machine",  "India’s Quest for Sustainable Farming and Healthy Food"



'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

How US is using Tibetans to provoke conflict with China 'ignoring' India

By Lobsang Tenzin*  On July 12, US President Joe Biden signed the Resolve Tibet Act, and Tibetans cheered for it, believing that the law promotes a resolution of the dispute between Tibet and China. Is this true? First, let's look at the issue of the ownership of Tibet. 

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.

Tribals from 60 villages observe seed festival to 'protect' diversity of indigenous seeds

By Bharat Dogra*  Nearly sixty villagers are sitting on an open floor covered by a roof for shade but otherwise open on all sides. Women and men are present in equal numbers but the visibility of women is higher because of their colorful dresses.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says.