Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Tragedy of Farmers' sucides in Vidarbha: A Lesson and a Ray of Hope


Published by: Rupa and Co;
ISBN 978-81-291-1469-3;
Price: Rs 95/-
For placing an order click here

Important findings of the study
Critical Solutions
Study Sponsor
Research Methodology
What people have said about the report

is impossible to fix one particular reason as a direct cause of farmers’ suicides
*People say it is money… but money is only a medium of exchange… why do farmers land up with a crunch for financial resources?
*The underlying forces cannot be seen piece meal, there are influences ranging from the international to the local level… a comprehensive look is important… Economical, sociological, political, educational, cultural, geographic…
*A farmer is being squeezed from all sides… as these forces become stronger and his defense mechanism becomes weaker, the probability that he will fall over the edge increases
*There are no signs that this trend is likely to be abate if left unaddressed
*The government has been forced to adopt a policy of liberalization in order to secure its integrity but questions arise as to whether it is within its reach to effectively handle the transition.
*One of the biggest mistakes committed by the present set of leaders is that they are not letting the farmers realize the implication of India moving from developing to developed nation status.
*The most important aspect of progress related to this issue being that the percentage of Indian population depending on agriculture must be brought down from figures that are close to 50% of the population down to less than 10%; farmers will be squeezed out of their profession.

*Sensitize the farming community to the realities staring them in the face; if informed they are more likely to adjust since they will know what is hitting them
*Village communities need to diversify in order to survive in the new environment
*Village dwellers need to re-assert their traditional community strengths and solidify mutual support mechanisms so that together they will be able to sustain the impact of impending change *Only village communities that have taken up responsibility for their own welfare have been able to achieve results against the adverse situation. The average citizen must take initiative and participate… he does not have the luxury of leaving it to the state…
*There must be effective and substantial decentralization…

Arun Sharma
KM Swaroop
M D Patil
Madhuri Apte
Nixon Fernando (Author of report)
Prabuddha Ahire
Priya Tayde
Rabi Narayan Patra

A group of eight participants of the MIT School of Government along with a support staff of seven persons, toured Vidarbha for eight days and videotaped the interactions with the people there. Having interacted with over 150 people from a wide spectrum including, farmer leaders, politicians, lawyers, government officials, spiritual heads, activists, civil society leaders, victims’ families, police officers, NGOs, cotton/grain federation officials, entrepreneurs, teachers, sarpanches, children… besides four members of the team of 15 people were native to Vidarbha and its surroundings. The group consisted of graduates, two of who were lawyers and one a PhD in water resources management.

Based on the inputs gathered, with reference to a large number of articles that were available on the subject, and after referring to four major studies (by IGIDR, YASHADA, TISS and Sakal News Network team) a report was compiled by the author. This report is presented in the form of the book. A documentary was also created based on the footage.

MIT School of Government Pune
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... The report makes for good reading and the pointers in it indicate both stark realities that have to be addressed and possible solutions of high potential…
Mr. TN Seshan, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India in the foreword

… I hope the book will be read by all interested in ending the era of farmers’ suicides…
Prof. M S Swaminathan, MS Swaminathan foundation, Chennai … Father of Green Revolution

After Sharad Joshi, this is the first instance I have come across which directly challenges the policies of the government. It is well written. Come over to Vidarbha, we will organize a big function for the release of the book and discussion…
Mr Nalkhande: Farmer Leader; vidarbha

"Very well written"
---Mr. Ramkumar, faculty member in TATA Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai, who was part of IGIRD study team which has extensively worked upon Vidarbha and Adhra Pradesh farmer suicide issue (Nov 2009)

“It’s a Good report...”
Dr. Shrikant Paranjpe… Professor and Head Department of Defence and strategic Studies University of Pune

“…terrific report...”
Dr. Delia Maria; Author, peace worker, Gandhian, Pune...

Thank you so much for lending me this report. So far, I have found it very well-written and extremely informative. I am especially happy to see work like this coming out of the School of Government … As I read through your report, I am writing down potential research questions for my own future work...
Christopher Robert; A researcher from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government who was making a related study in Gujarat

The report has come out extremely well…
Mr. Vishnu Swaminathan, Former Director, National Innovation Foundation... and former director of Administration MIT SOG


‘Our Farmers Are Dying, to hell with the World Cup’;
The Hindu; Sunday April 24, 2011; by Narendra Shekhawat

Why Are Indian Farmers Committing Suicide and How Can We Stop This Tragedy? by Vandana Shiva

The Largest Wave of Suicides in History

Indepth Study of Farmers’ Suicides, their Causes and Remedies
P R Dubhashi


The author taught physics for ten years at the prestigious National Defence Academy at Khadkwasla Pune, completed a one year Masters’ Program at the highly specialized MIT School of Government, Pune, and went on to serve as the Course Head at the same institution for a year. He is currently assisting Mr. TN Seshan, former Chief Election Commissioner on certain projects of national importance on a freelance basis.
He believes in Universal Religion and is greatly influenced by the Tej Gyan foundation, the New Testament and the Bhagwad Gita. Though he is an above average student of Physics, national rejuvenation has been his passion. A series of four books, besides this one, have resulted from close to 19 years of focused work on a vision to take the nation forward (Three await publication). His vision draws heavily from the great traditions of Ancient India while seeking to benefit from the fruits of modern civilization.


Towards The Kingdom of Heaven;
Book; Bharitiya Vidya Bhavan; 1999;
On basic philosophical conflicts between the west and the east

India Inspired
Blog post on the basis of corruption in Indian society