A tale of suicide

The Vidarbha region in Maharashtra has for long been known as the farmer suicide capital of India. Of the 200,000 suicides in the state, in the past decade, 70% of them were traced to the 11 districts of the region. One such village in this region is Kurzadi Fort, which has seen terrible crop failures for three consecutive years and regular farmer suicides. The rates have steeply fallen now, to 4 suicides last year.

“There are 12,000 people here. Almost everyone in the village practices agriculture. People grow BT cotton, Soyabean, Tuar and Urad Dal, but the harvest has been terrible for the last few years. All of our crops were affected by a virus called 'Lali'," says Prakash Dineshrao, the local Sarpanch's son.

These are the crops that have been affected by a virus, which is locally known as 'Lali'. The seeds become red and the crop withers away.

"The virus was first seen 3 years ago and it has come back to haunt us every year since. The estimated loss is around Rs. 1-1.5 lakh per hectare of land. We had sent samples of our soil to the lab in Wardha, but none of the reports suggest any problems with the land," he said.

There were 4 suicides in 2016, with the most recent one taking place in December. The dead was identified as Deepak Dashrath Dable.

Left to right: Deepak's son, widowed wife, mother and elder brother
"Deepak had sown BT cotton for the last two years and the virus completely ruined our crops. He did not make any returns and was in a very tough situation, so he switched to sugarcane this year, hoping that it would be more profitable. A herd of wild pigs ran havoc over our land, digging out most of the just-sown seeds. Unable to cope with the loss and increasing financial burden, he took his life last month,” says Digambar Dable, Deepak 's elder brother.

“The wild pigs are a huge menace. The problem has been on for the past 2 years now but we have not been offered any respite from the forest officials. We have sent them photos of the pigs too, but they haven’t taken any action as of yet," says Vilas Sahebraoji Kadu, who's crops were torn apart by these wild pigs. "We cannot put up electric fences because it could cause human deaths. How are we to tackle this problem? What are we to do?" he cries.

“We haven’t figured out what to do next. My brother has left behind 2 little children and his widow. We’re supposed to receive a compensation of Rs. 1 lakh from the government. We should get the money soon, once all the documents are verified,” he adds, as his elderly father looks on.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.