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Arts/Society Punjab suicides cast shadow on polls

Discussion in 'Language, Arts & Culture' started by kds1980, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    BBC NEWS | South Asia | Punjab suicides cast shadow on polls

    [​IMG]



    Jasbir discovered the body of her father, Sukhbinder Singh, whose photo is held by her mother
    By Suvojit Bagchi
    BBC News, Barnala, Punjab



    Mandip Kaur, a 29-year-old housewife from a farming family in southern Punjab, guards her husband round the clock.

    "I fear he may commit suicide," she says in broken Hindi.

    Almost every village in Punjab has witnessed a suicide in their once-prosperous farming families and it is a major issue in the general election.

    Ms Kaur's 35-year-old husband, Lakhbir Singh, a small farmer with a two-acre land holding, is a strong and neatly dressed man.

    He shows no sign of irritation or discomfort when we meet him in the village of Boparai Khurd in Barnala, about 500km (300 miles) north of Delhi.

    Each year before the harvest, the small farmers of Punjab, who make up nearly 85% of the state's farming community, borrow from local rural moneylenders at exorbitant interest rates to meet production costs, including fertilisers and electricity for irrigation.
    Commodity prices are plummeting in the international market... and farmer suicides may increase in coming months
    Bernard D'Mello, deputy editor,
    Economic and Political Weekly


    "[Lakhbir] has a loan of more than 700,000 rupees ($15,000), which he cannot repay," says Ms Kaur.

    Defaulting on payment increases the rates of interest and a farmer is publicly humiliated in the local panchayat (self-governing rural body) if he fails to pay up.

    "His elder brother, my father, committed suicide more than a year ago, as his loan had accumulated up to $20,000," says 15-year-old Jasbir, who discovered her father's body.

    "I do not think I can ever repay the whole amount," Lakhbir confesses.

    The Bhartiya Kisan Union-Ekta, (BKU-United), one of the largest farmers' unions in Punjab, is urging its members not to vote in the election if they feel that none of the parties is addressing their needs.

    'Major issue'

    National Crime Records Bureau statistics say close to 200,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997.

    The Punjab government says the state produces nearly two-thirds of the grain in India.

    But the state has faced many economic crises since the the mid-1990s.

    No comprehensive official figures on farmer suicides in the area are available.

    Mandip Kaur fears her husband Lakhbir may commit suicide


    But a report commissioned by the government of Punjab this week estimated that there had been "close to 3,000 suicides" among farmers and farm labourers in just two of Punjab's 20 districts in recent years, agriculture ministry sources told the BBC.

    The general secretary of BKU-United, Sukhdev Singh Khokri, says: "The findings of this report will snowball into a major electoral issue."

    Another government report published in 2007 suggested that "about 12% of marginal and small farmers have left farming" over the past few years.

    Among the reasons is the lack of access to credit, a facility denied by banks to farmers with no property.

    "Bank loans to small farmers without collateral declined sharply as India introduced neo-liberal policies in the 1990s," says Bernard D'Mello, deputy editor of Economic and Political Weekly.

    Farmers had to approach rural moneylenders who charge exorbitant rates.

    Amarjit Singh, another small farmer from Barnala whose father committed suicide a few years back, says: "My father could not read or write, so he could not calculate the amount of loan he had incurred.

    "Once it reached a staggering sum, he was publicly threatened by the moneylender and committed suicide.

    "If I am asked to pay my father's debt, I will also have to commit suicide," says Amarjit, who has also taken on loans to meet rising production costs.

    Surplus

    The Punjab government's website proclaims that "India has gone from a food-deficit to a food-surplus country" largely because of the Green Revolution of Punjab.

    Union man Sukhdev Singh Khokri says there will be protests


    In the 1960s, it revolutionised agricultural production by introducing high-yield varieties of seeds, chemical fertilisers, insecticides and machinery.

    But the 2007 report criticises the revolution and its surplus of crops.

    Independent researcher and activist Ranjana Padhi says: "Since everyone had money, labourers were replaced by tractors and unemployment increased, while productivity steadily declined."

    As production costs have risen, food prices have slumped.

    Traditionally, the government buys grain from farmers and distributes it in the open market.

    Sukhpal Singh, a senior economist at Punjab Agricultural University, feels farmers had to bear government prices that were too low and failed to take into account "risk factors like crop failure or soil maintenance".

    Poor prices internationally restricted the government from a higher buying rate for farmers.

    Amarjit Singh "will commit suicide" if he has to pay his father's debts


    Another factor is the subsidies in place in areas such as Europe.

    German non-governmental organisation Foodwatch says the European subsidies are responsible for large-scale unemployment and poverty among farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

    The issue is pending with the World Trade Organisation but talks on the issue have repeatedly failed.

    Bernard D'Mello feels the worst is yet to come given the recent recession.

    "Commodity prices are plummeting in the international market as a result of recession, which will depress the price in Indian markets as well and farmer suicides may increase in coming months," he says.

    Punjab Agriculture Minister Sucha Singh Langah says the state government has increased farming subsidies to all categories in recent years.

    But the Election Commission has put further projects on hold pending the polls.

    Meanwhile the farmers' unions are co-ordinating a joint protest to highlight the plight of farmers.

    Amarjit Singh will be one taking part. "We will stop everything in the state for two days," he says.
     
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    SO SAD..that the "Farmer" who FEEDS millions...has to sleep HUNGRY at night....all due to the GREED of his fellow Man. My heart bleeds for my beloved Punjab..the So called GRANARY of INDIA....the Jasbir in the photo could very well be my own daughter !! What can she hope for now ?? With Dowry hungry wolves....and much more to deal with..even earlier...what NOW that her dad is dead and the Family DEBT is mushrooming ??? Verily...ETi MAAR payee kurlanneh..tenkee DARD na aiyah ?? My people suffer so much..dont you feel their pain..o Lord ?? asked Guru nanak Ji:down::down::down::down::down::}--}:
     
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  4. pk70

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    Respected Gyani Jio
    My father was a very hard working farmer, his only aim was to give education to his kids and he did. I witnessed these hungry wolves jumping on him but he never gave in and he came out victorious, he was a khalsa too.
    My heart goes for those who are pushed to the verge of this terrible tragedy, these wolves go to Guru -ghar too, imagine their consciou
    s:D:mad:

    Regards
    G Singh
     
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  5. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Sometimes implementation of new technology can become curse.3-4 years ago Pakistani minister visted punjab to see the agricultural production methods implementd in India as per hectare production in Indian Punjab is much better than pakistani punjab, but when he saw farmers suicide in Punjab he was quite shocked.He then said Though per hectare production is not high as Indian punjab but agriculture is quite stable in Pakistan.

    Even yesterday It was shown on TV Wheat is lying unsold in punjab.As middlemen are asking for for heavy bribe only then farmers will get market support price announced by Government.Even Flour mills
    in Punjab are purchasing wheat from uttar pradesh as they are getting wheat cheaper than market support price from their.No Doubt Young people of punjab are paying anything for getting a job abroad
     
  6. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Gyani ji

    Its not like that Farmers will sleep hungry.Its decline of social status status that are forcing
    Farmers to commit suicde.We have mass poverty in Bihar,orissa,Jhakhand but still cases
    of suicde because of nothing to eat are yet to hear
     
  7. Sinister

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    you know what's ludricous, the indian government not paying farmers enough for there crops....just package it in a stimulus plan.

    but another problem is looming in punjab....agricultural land fragmentation. Indian farmers cannot compete with larger agricultural businesses, farms which are larger, better equipped have lower overhead costs per acreage, and are more productive.

    what the state government needs to participate in is the promotion of land consolidation and then promote the employment of small farmers to the corporate funded latifundia farms that specialize in export of high return/yeilding crops.

    its going to happen eventually might as well push it along

    my 2 cents
     
  8. dalbirk

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    In addition to profitless farming , it is also increasing materialism & consumerism in Punjab which is actively forcing these suicides . In Dhandra village on outskirts of Ludhiana , a well to do farmer consumed poison when his only son forced him day & night to get him his brand of car . In the same village a son hung himself with a fan when his father refused to buy him a motorcycle .
     
  9. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    KDS ji,
    My use of "hungry" is metaphorical - not in the sense of the famine type of hunger.
    I mean that when the Punjabi farmer INPUTS so much...its the GREEDY aarrthiyas, middlemen, shopkeepers, pesticide sellers, fertiliser sellers etc and the Procurement Authorities that LOOT the Farmer of HIS LEGITIMATE RETURNS from His Hard Labour.
    The Farmer also faces Natural disaters, misfortune, all these are on his head...no help no insurance...hence debts pile up.
    Secondly I saw Social "Keeping up with the Joneses" syndrome is very strong in Punajb..."Naak rakkhnna" is vital !!
    And this matter NOW..is for politics..as elections are around the corner..YA!!
     
  10. dalsingh

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    KDS I have to agree. It is a caste based superiority complex that often lies behind suicides. We have to face up to the hard fact that some strands of Jatt culture have become so status obsessed that suicide is considered a better option to living modestly.

    It is this defeatest attitude that must be attacked foremost. Sikhs are known to make something out of nothing. The point that people are living in infinitely more miserable poverty in other states but do not resort to this extreme measure is indicative.

    Can my fellow Panjabis truly put their hands on their hearts and say materialism is not the main cause of this problem? Also we need basic mathematics to be taught to everyone, often the dodgy money lenders trick illiterate or innumerate people into traps by taking advantage of their lack of knowledge. Thus the farmer only realises he has been trapped when it is too late.

    The mentaliity of young, modern "land owner" Panjabi boys also plays a part. Recently I saw a Panjabi film called "Mera pind" which sort of highlighted the issue of young farmer's sons not being willing to work manually anymore.

    Sikh farmers were once legendary for their fortitude and ability to endure physical fatigue. If they loose this through chasing "westernised" lifestyles, then not only will they suffer, so will wider Panjab.

    Pagri sambhal.........
     
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  11. jasi

    jasi
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    WITH DUE RESPECT TO ALL WHO ARE IGNORENT ABOUT THEIR VOTING RIGHT.

    IT IS PRACTICALLY UNACCEPTABLE TO IGNORE THE POWER OF VOTE . SOCIETY MEANS EACH ONE OF US IS RESPONSIBLE TO VOTE LEGISLATOR'S ONLY BY KNOWING THEIR PAST PERFORMANCES IF HE RESPECTED WHAT HE PROMISED 5 YEARS EGO.

    EDUCATIONS ,EDUCATION AND AWARENESS OF VOTING POWER IS NEEDED FOR THE MASSES FOR THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR DECISIONS TO ELECT SOME ONE.

    WHEN THE LAWS ARE ENFORCED BY THE SAME LEGISLATORS ON THE SOCIETY DO NOT BECOME MARTYER FOR YOUR OWN MISTAKES AND EXPLOITED BY SOME ONE WHO IS PLAYING THE SAME GAMES LIKE A LEGISLATORS OR COMMIT SUICIDE TO GET YOUR RIGHTS HEARD.
    THE SOCIETY DESERVES WHAT THEY ELECT. DO NOT COMPLAIN AND COMMIT SUICIDE BUT BE CAREFUL WHEN THE LEGISLATORS COMES BACK AGAIN FOR ASKING YOUR AFTER 5 YEARS DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE FOR YOUR CHILDREN'S SAKE..
    JASPI.

    [​IMG]



    Jasbir discovered the body of her father, Sukhbinder Singh, whose photo is held by her mother
    By Suvojit Bagchi
    BBC News, Barnala, Punjab



    Mandip Kaur, a 29-year-old housewife from a farming family in southern Punjab, guards her husband round the clock.

    "I fear he may commit suicide," she says in broken Hindi.

    Almost every village in Punjab has witnessed a suicide in their once-prosperous farming families and it is a major issue in the general election.

    Ms Kaur's 35-year-old husband, Lakhbir Singh, a small farmer with a two-acre land holding, is a strong and neatly dressed man.

    He shows no sign of irritation or discomfort when we meet him in the village of Boparai Khurd in Barnala, about 500km (300 miles) north of Delhi.

    Each year before the harvest, the small farmers of Punjab, who make up nearly 85% of the state's farming community, borrow from local rural moneylenders at exorbitant interest rates to meet production costs, including fertilisers and electricity for irrigation.
    Commodity prices are plummeting in the international market... and farmer suicides may increase in coming months
    Bernard D'Mello, deputy editor,
    Economic and Political Weekly


    "[Lakhbir] has a loan of more than 700,000 rupees ($15,000), which he cannot repay," says Ms Kaur.

    Defaulting on payment increases the rates of interest and a farmer is publicly humiliated in the local panchayat (self-governing rural body) if he fails to pay up.

    "His elder brother, my father, committed suicide more than a year ago, as his loan had accumulated up to $20,000," says 15-year-old Jasbir, who discovered her father's body.

    "I do not think I can ever repay the whole amount," Lakhbir confesses.

    The Bhartiya Kisan Union-Ekta, (BKU-United), one of the largest farmers' unions in Punjab, is urging its members not to vote in the election if they feel that none of the parties is addressing their needs.

    'Major issue'

    National Crime Records Bureau statistics say close to 200,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997.

    The Punjab government says the state produces nearly two-thirds of the grain in India.

    But the state has faced many economic crises since the the mid-1990s.

    No comprehensive official figures on farmer suicides in the area are available.

    Mandip Kaur fears her husband Lakhbir may commit suicide


    But a report commissioned by the government of Punjab this week estimated that there had been "close to 3,000 suicides" among farmers and farm labourers in just two of Punjab's 20 districts in recent years, agriculture ministry sources told the BBC.

    The general secretary of BKU-United, Sukhdev Singh Khokri, says: "The findings of this report will snowball into a major electoral issue."

    Another government report published in 2007 suggested that "about 12% of marginal and small farmers have left farming" over the past few years.

    Among the reasons is the lack of access to credit, a facility denied by banks to farmers with no property.

    "Bank loans to small farmers without collateral declined sharply as India introduced neo-liberal policies in the 1990s," says Bernard D'Mello, deputy editor of Economic and Political Weekly.

    Farmers had to approach rural moneylenders who charge exorbitant rates.

    Amarjit Singh, another small farmer from Barnala whose father committed suicide a few years back, says: "My father could not read or write, so he could not calculate the amount of loan he had incurred.

    "Once it reached a staggering sum, he was publicly threatened by the moneylender and committed suicide.

    "If I am asked to pay my father's debt, I will also have to commit suicide," says Amarjit, who has also taken on loans to meet rising production costs.

    Surplus

    The Punjab government's website proclaims that "India has gone from a food-deficit to a food-surplus country" largely because of the Green Revolution of Punjab.

    Union man Sukhdev Singh Khokri says there will be protests


    In the 1960s, it revolutionised agricultural production by introducing high-yield varieties of seeds, chemical fertilisers, insecticides and machinery.

    But the 2007 report criticises the revolution and its surplus of crops.

    Independent researcher and activist Ranjana Padhi says: "Since everyone had money, labourers were replaced by tractors and unemployment increased, while productivity steadily declined."

    As production costs have risen, food prices have slumped.

    Traditionally, the government buys grain from farmers and distributes it in the open market.

    Sukhpal Singh, a senior economist at Punjab Agricultural University, feels farmers had to bear government prices that were too low and failed to take into account "risk factors like crop failure or soil maintenance".

    Poor prices internationally restricted the government from a higher buying rate for farmers.

    Amarjit Singh "will commit suicide" if he has to pay his father's debts


    Another factor is the subsidies in place in areas such as Europe.

    German non-governmental organisation Foodwatch says the European subsidies are responsible for large-scale unemployment and poverty among farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

    The issue is pending with the World Trade Organisation but talks on the issue have repeatedly failed.

    Bernard D'Mello feels the worst is yet to come given the recent recession.

    "Commodity prices are plummeting in the international market as a result of recession, which will depress the price in Indian markets as well and farmer suicides may increase in coming months," he says.

    Punjab Agriculture Minister Sucha Singh Langah says the state government has increased farming subsidies to all categories in recent years.

    But the Election Commission has put further projects on hold pending the polls.

    Meanwhile the farmers' unions are co-ordinating a joint protest to highlight the plight of farmers.

    Amarjit Singh will be one taking part. "We will stop everything in the state for two days," he says.[/quote]
     
  12. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    40+ MPs recently elected on the BJP Ticket face CRIMINAL CHARGES...and 40+ MPS of the UPA also face Criminal Charge.......with others from other parties.....that makes about 100 out of 543 !!!
    One out of FIVE LEGISLATORS is a CRMINAL !!!???? WOW and WOW. PM designate..LK ADVANI alos faces a Criminal Charge...had he wona nd becoem PM..he would be the First Criminal PM !!
    How Indians can elect such defies logic...Sajjan kumar LK Bhagat and Tytler woudl also have been elcted..IF not kicked out !!! GREAT DEMOCRACY..even Criminals have RIGHTS YA YA YA.
     
  13. dalsingh

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    I saw a program on SEZs (Special Economic Zones) in India yesterday on Al Jazeera. Does anyone know if such things are being pushed in Panjab?

    Apparently the gor'ment want to industrialise India and move away from agriculture? They say too much of the population is dependant on this and that it is not sustainable. Anyone know about this?
     
  14. jasi

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    Please read my thread about us and our people who elect these criminals. As long asfull awareness is not publicized this will continue as it is since 1947.
    Jaspai

     
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  15. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    You must be joking ???
    PUNJAB....and SEZ/Nuclear Plants/Industry/ ??? Punjab is a "Border State"...no such things allowed here...anyway THAT was Nehrus policy/gharriah gharriah jawab for Lack of such in Punjab....imho NOTHING has changed... PUNJAB is LAST (BELOW the dotted line) whenever such programmes are initiated... Before 1947..AMRITSAR was GREATER THAN DELHI in terms of Trade....LUDHIANA had a thriving hosiery industry...Punjab was BEST STATE..in Education..wealth...Farming...NOW ALL GONE....Punjab and Sindh bank..grew so fast.( and what galled was that its Management was pushing fully into popularising Sikh hsitory etc through calendars and parchaar programmes..)..a new policy of "Kaumi karan" was born...( Never mind that the Best THREE Indian banks in malaysia fell into local hands...)
    PROVE ME WRONG...anyone ??
     
  16. dalsingh

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    So they want to leave Panjab in the dark ages............
     
  17. kds1980

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    There are 13 sezs approved by centre in punjab

    Centre has approved 13 SEZs for Punjab: Badal - Express India
     
  18. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    how many working..already set up.
    The last I heard even the Nano Car project was set up for Punjab...
    What these people do is DEMAND thousands of acres of Fertile FARM LAND for a IT project that can be housed in a multi storeyed building in under 5 acres...( but they "need" thousands hectares)
    IN Malaysia we had Multi national IT factories having thousands of workers on a few acres of land..and in Singapore multi storeyed factories house thousands of wortkers in even smaller places
    thus land is reposessed frm farmwers, puts them out of work/dispalced...and when the Factory goes BUST..they sell off the land at inflated prices and move out...everybody loses..the "investor" gains the most.

    2. ANY world class. IT Universityy/College Complexes/infrastructure approved for Punjab ??
     
  19. dalsingh

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    These SEZs are dodgy!!
     
  20. dalsingh

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  21. kds1980

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    Gyani ji

    Punjab has a 18900 crore bhatinda refinery project which will be completed in 2011
    In Mohali international airpot is going to be built
    Punjab already got an IIT in ropar

    Here is news how the real estate price is sky rocketed in Punjab
    Realty prices shoot through the roof in Punjab - The Financial Express

    Real estate prices is the indicator that there is development in Punjab otherwise no investor
    is going to interested in purchasing land in Area where there is no development.

    As far the problems you have mentioned I agree with it but these types of problems are all over India and not just only in Punjab
     

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