its for many years that farmers in many indian states are doing suicide. but many of us have come to know about it recently. thats the power of social media which covers what main stream media does not think is important for their TRP.
one of the very good marathi movie made on farmers plight and suicide issue is “gabhricha paus“. this movie will make your heart cry. short preview of the movie below:
farmers are hardworking and brave people. but somehow the time is not supporting them. so its high time we support them.
reading about farmers plight, i feel there are three reasons why farmers are committing suicide.
1. failure of rain or too much untimely rain which destroys standing crops.
2. not having enough money to support the family or to give back the loans.
3. no hope for good future. as not getting jobs else where also.
so can you do anything do help them in this time of distress?
yes, you can do many small things. your small contribution can become big if many people join together. i remember a old saying in hindi “boond boond se matka bharta hain“…. rough english translation will be “each water drop contributes in making the container full”. so never underestimate the power of common men and its small little help. do whatever you can and rest leave it on god.
a. immediate help to farmers:
1. donating money – right now they need money to survive. they cannot wait for 5 years for things to change. so you can donate money to any good NGO who is working to support them. here is one initiative by which you can adopt a family.
2. spread awareness – the more you talk about this issue, more people will get involve. thus more help will be reaching the farmers. so spread awareness in whatever form you feel suits you. this is what famous bollywood actor nana patekar is also doing by talking about this issue on various front. he along with actors akshay kumar and makarand anaspure has also donated lakhs of rupees to the family of farmers who have committed suicide.
do read about nana patekar NGO for helping farmers.
b) long term perspective help to farmers:
3. buy locally produced vegetables and fruits – this is the most important step you can take to help farmers.
take the case of maharashtra – farmers mainly grow rice, jowar, bajri, wheat, onions etc in maharashtra. if we eat more of these food items which are grown locally then their demand will increase and thus farmers can get more money for their product. but we are slowly moving towards eating noodles, pasta, pizza and burgers. don’t neglect your traditional eating habits because these eating habits are healthy and also help the farmers. remembers, its a food chain. if you break the chain by moving to fast food then everybody in that food chain (read farmers here) will be affected.
take another case, in maharashtra the main cash crops are cotton, sugarcane, mangoes and several oil seeds including groundnut, sunflower and soyabean.
so if i drink a glass of sugarcane juice than drinking pepsi or coke then i am indirectly helping farmers. instead of using imported olive oil, i can buy ground nut oil or sun flower oil. further i can opt for cotton clothing to help farmers. now someone might ask what will be the impact of my buying one cotton kurta on a farmer life. you never know your cotton kurta might inspire your friends to buy more cotton clothes. we all are conditioned by society. so bring the positive change in the society and for that ‘be the change‘. buy products which farmers are producing to help them getting higher price. remember, the price of any commodity is related with demand and supply. if you buy locally produce items them farmers will get more money.
take another example – i was once eating food in a popular shopping mall of pune. there were many food outlets selling punjabi, south indian, maharashtrian and fast food joints selling pizza, burger etc. on that day, i found the minimum crowd in the outlet selling maharashtrian food. i wonder why. after lot of thought, i came to conclusion that it might be because people are eating the same maharashtrian food at home and they want to try something different while going out. its natural instinct and i would have also done the same. so i don’t blame them.
but in the time of crisis we have to sacrifice a little, so that we can help the farmers. eat the maharashtrian food, if you want to help farmers of maharashtra. same is true for people who are residing in karnataka, andhra pradesh or any other state where farmers are committing suicide.
4. don’t bargain with poor people selling vegetables in street. bargaining for 5-10 rupees with a poor person will not make you more rich. but it can make a lot of difference in the life of a poor person. so be considerate. another thing you can do is to buy wheat directly from farmers. many people still do this in small towns. but in cities we have become used to buying readymade wheat flour. inquire with your friends and you might find someone who is buying stuff directly from farmers. this will cut the commission of middle men and will give some extra money to farmer. it will also save your money and you might end up buying a better quality wheat.
remember, always buy from veggies from a person selling them in street than from big shops. at toll booths on highways, you will often see villagers selling freshly plucked vegetables from their farms. consider buying it from them. these small steps do make a difference. at least in the life of that poor farmer.
5. respect the traditional food habits – don’t fell prey to marketing gimmicks and end up buying imported food items. e.g. you must have heard about quinoa and its health benefits. but how many of you know that amaranth grains are also equally healthy. in hindi ‘amaranth’ is known as rajgira (royal grain) or ramdana (god’s own grain). its one of the healthiest grain grown in india.
so don’t underestimate the power of locally grown food. support the farmers by buying food items which are healthy and nutritious like amaranth, millets, jowar, bajra, ragi, sama ke chawal, makhana and so on. do not abandon them. i am using the word ‘abandon’ because nowadays many people have stopped using them.
6. save water – if you are living in a state where farmers are committing suicide for shortage of water then every drop of water is precious. please use the water very judicially. don’t waste it. educate your near and dear one about the importance of water and how its shortage is leading to farmers suicide. one simple example is talking to your maid. most of the time they just keep the tap running while washing the utensils. if she does not agree then be ready to pay her few bucks extra every month on the condition that she will not waste water. another thing which many societies can do is rain water harvesting. this will bring up the water table in your locality. front loading washing machines use more water than top loading machines. so think about ways on how to save water and how to conserve the rain water.
7. plant trees – we all have studied in school that trees bring more rains. they also prevent soil erosion. they also give us clean air and contribute to slow down global warming and climate change. the climate change is disturbing the natural cycle of rains. sometimes too much rain out of season spoils the standing crops like it happened this year during the rains in months of april and may. so planting trees will help to bring more rains and to stop the climate change.
8. get involve – we all can contribute in some or other ways. so get involve in something constructive.
a). if you are an entrepreneur then by creating more jobs you are indirectly helping the poor people. if you are a rich or qualified professional then instead of moving abroad, choose to stay back in india and create some jobs. it helps the economy.
b) you can devote some days to an NGO. e.g. sri sri ravi shankar art of living foundation is working to revive rivers in maharashtra.
c) here is one more link of much appreciated jalyukta shivar abhiyan launched by maharashtra govt. you will be surprised to know that many local villagers and NGO also participated in this project.
9. keep money in india – one thing which i really like about some indian business communities is that they do lot of charitable work. they open schools, dharamshalas (lodges), hospitals, dispensaries, libraries, orphanage etc in their village, towns and cities. which is a good charitable work these business communities are doing for many generations. so wherever possible give business to indians than to foreign companies.
if someone is making profit in business then as a thanksgiving to the society they should do some charitable work to uplift the condition of society. we all must have seen many dharamsalas and hospitals opened by these business community but we take it for granted. do give them the due appreciation where they deserve it and this will encourage them to do more social service. the business community and corporate companies in maharashtra should be requested to do their share in helping farmers.
you also get income tax exemption for donating money to NGO registered under act 80G and 80GGA and 35AC. so you can promote those NGO who are working for farmers in your office.
10. vote for change (politics) – always cast your vote and choose the right govt. ignore the politics of cast, religion or money. vote for someone who can bring maximum development for your city, state and country. rise above cast and religion and vote for the country development.
so find any way but do something. as i said before, your small contribution can become big if we all join hands.
P.S. last but not the least, if you have any suggestion then do share.