Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Farmers' Suicide in Vidarbha Region of Maharashtra State: A Myth or Reality?

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Farmers' Suicide in Vidarbha Region of Maharashtra State: A Myth or Reality?

Article excerpt

Byline: P. Behere, A. Behere

Incidence of farmers ending their lives in Vidarbha region had hit epidemic proportions recently. We adopted the psychological autopsy approach to offer some insight into the reason why these individuals resorted to such a drastic step. Suicide in farmers is public health problem and we suggested some immediate and serious interventions to prevent suicide.

Introduction

"Jai Jawan , Jai Kisan" - Lal Bahadur Shastri

This slogan of a visionary prime minister had lost its potential over the time. After the independence, according to Gandhiji's vision of Gram-Swaraj, villages and specially farmers were to be the main focus of any development plan of India. As years passed, by agriculture as an industry lost its importance for policy makers of India. This over the time caused severe distress among the farmers leading to recent dramatic rise in the number of suicides among farmer community. Every day in national newspaper invariably there is news related to farmers' suicides.

India consisting of 16% of world's population sustains only on 2.4% of land resource. Agriculture sector is the only livelihood to the two-third of its population which gives employment to the 57% of work force and is a raw material source to large number of industries. Despite of portrayal of farming as a healthy and happy way of life, agriculture sector experiences one of the highest number of suicides than any other industry. Farmers' suicide is not only reported in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, but also from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, and Karnataka. Many enquiry commissions were formed and recommendations were implemented especially in Punjab.[sup] [1] The problem of suicide is not only reported in India, but also reported in different parts of the world like England and Wales.[sup] [2]

In 1990s, India woke-up to a spate of suicide among farmers community. The first state where suicides were reported was Maharashtra with particular reference to Vidarbha region. A look at the figures given out by State Crime Records Bureau makes it evident that farmers as a professional category is suffering from this problem of high-suicide rates. Approximately 3.4 million cotton farmers occupy the Vidarbha region (includes Akola, Buldana, Washim, Amravati, Nagpur, Chandrapur, Gondia, Bhandara, Yavatmal, Gadchiroli, and Wardha districts) and 95% of them struggle with massive debt, according to the Vidarbha Jan Aandolan Samiti (VJAS; Local Farmers' Support Network).[sup] [3] Incidence of farmers ending their lives in this region had hit epidemic like proportions recently.

We have studied the status of farmers' suicide in Vidarbha region on the request of Wardha district administration. We adopted the psychological autopsy approach to offer some insight into the reason why these individuals resorted to such a drastic step.[sup] [4]

In India, however, problems in identifying the population base and in the certification of death has meant that the true magnitude of the problem is yet to be realized.[sup] [5]

Several studies undertaken in India have revealed the incidence of suicides to vary from 8 to 43 per 100,000 population[sup] [5] with a pronounced State-to-State variation, the highest being in Kerala (27 per 100,000) while the lowest is in Manipur (0.02% of total suicides). Due to its medico-legal nature, information on suicides is available from national, state, and city crime record bureaus in various parts of India. Majority suicide studies are based on police records with very few from the hospital records and nil from population settings. Given the inadequacies of police reporting - analysis and misclassification bias (suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths) - the numbers may be an under reporting of the situation.

Farmers' Suicide

Since long time, Indian farmers have been facing a number of socioeconomic problems, such as harassment by moneylenders, inability to repay debts following crop loss, inability to get medical treatment for the family, etc. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.