Vidarbha

In Vidarbha, on an average, 2 farmers commit suicide everyday.

Forget the Economic reforms, the growth rate and forget the FDI and the theories associated with it. I am sorry to say this, but India is not shining.

105 farmers committed suicide in Vidarbha in the month of August. These figures have more significance since they come to you just a month after the PM announced a relief package for the ill-fated region. It is clear how much this scheme has benefited the farmers. Or maybe it is not clear.

Don’t you see what is happening? You — the media, the administration. You — you and me? Not one CM went to the region in three years. The Minister for Food and Agriculture says, on prime time TV, that “Farmer suicide is a normal thing.”

P.Sainath, Dilip D’Souza, Sonia Faleiro, Jaideep Hardikar are a few names who have seen something wrong in all this. They have travelled to these regions, the 6 districts in the state of Maharashtra and they have their own stories to tell. One such story, by Sonia Faleiro is here.

Clearly, the media is not doing enough. Says P.Sainath, “You had India Fashion Week in Bombay, over 500 accredited journalists covered the Fashion Week. Less than 6 journalists from outside Vidarbha were in Vidarbha in that same week.”

Full Interview here. [Link via Sonia Faleiro]

I think I see a trend here. The media is targeting that segment of the population which is benefiting the most from the economic boom. The urban middle class. People like me, and in all probabilities, people like you. The fashion shows and the automobile exhibition stories are given precedence over something like the plight of the Indian farmer. Of what I have seen, I have lost my interest and maybe even faith, in the traditional channels of Indian journalism.

But to be fair to the media, even if the media machinery works to the optimum, one should not expect it to do what the babus and netas up there should.

Fact is, the economy boom has not touched the Indian farmer. Fact is, the Indian economy’s boom has more to do with the market driven forces, the private sector than with the Indian Government. Fact is, The Government has done absolutely nothing to improve the status of the farmers affected in regions like Vidarbha.

And it is not just Vidarbha. It is Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and it is Kerala too.

It was said that the last Government at the center fell for its indifferent attitude towards the Indian farmer. Isn’t it ironical, the Government that follows does it in a more evident fashion?

7 thoughts on “Vidarbha

  1. Yes, especially a government with the CMP should take some proactive long term steps for it. Small short term steps like waiver of debts is really not enough. The same principle applies to reservations in higher education without improving primary schools. The government just doesnt think long term enough.

  2. news is a product. the urban upper middle class guy wudn’t buy scenes of farmer suicides, he’d switch channels,what a disaster to trp ratings -the media is for him, the advertisig that supports media is for him or her…

    about the media, i am disillusioned beyond repair.

  3. “…it is not just Vidarbha. It is Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and it is Kerala too…”
    its very unfortunate the problem is that we are a nation of selfish people who dont like to get out of our pseudo lives, we are satisfied with our malls and mobiles, something which happens in a remote village in Maharashtra or some other state was never our problem. Its imbibed in us city bred folks since childhood to close our eyes to the stuff which goes around.As far as media is concerned well they would sell whatever people buy.Rahul Mahajan getting married can take thousands of news reels cause theres people out there who want it.

  4. Aditya, as somebody here points out, the news is a product, and therefore it should not be such a surprise that the press covers the Fashion Week so extensively. Yet I do wish more journalists would see what is happening with farmers as an opportunity to do serious journalism. The easy way is to say people are not interested in these stories. The challenge is to write these stories in such a way that it interests readers and keeps them interested. That is part of the job definition of journalism.

  5. A good one, Aditya. Very perceptive observations. As a part of the media fraternity, I’d accept that overall these suicides in particular, and the general condition of our agricultural economy, isn’t getting so much highlighted, as much as issues concerning the new-age economy, or even the service sector.

    Media also is a reflection of reality. So, to that extent, we need some real proactivity from the agricultural sector in the govt, private firms and NGOs. I don’t think there is any lack of awareness about these issues at the official level. People have to get down to act.

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