Bitter Harvest – 2
The monsoon, in Vidarbha at least, has washed away an enduring myth. “The age old notion of farmers jumping with glee when the first monsoon showers fall is now merely a delusion confined to primary school text books. The reality here is quite different,” says Suryapal Chavan from Nandgaon taluka in Amravati.
Extensive damage to the cotton and jowar crop in this region last year due to unseasonal rains, hail storms and a pest attack shattered the local economy, leading to 60 people committing suicide.
“Most farmers here are in a peculiar dilemma. While they want to make up for the previous year’s losses, they are unable to find the money for ploughing, preparing and sowing their fields. The majority have not yet begun work on their lands,” Mr Chavan explains. This dilemma has led to other forms of deprivation which have been overshadowed by the public attention directed towards the dramatic suicides in Vidarbha.