“Farmers in India became the centre of considerable concern in the 1990s. Official reports initially denied the farmer suicides but as more and more information came to light the government began to accept that farmers in India were under considerable stress. More than 17,500 farmers a year killed themselves between 2002 and 2006, according to experts who have analyzed government statistics.
Others traced the increase in farmer suicides to the early 1990s. It was said, a comprehensive all-India study is still awaited, that most suicides occurred in states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Punjab. The situation was grim enough to force at least the Maharashtra government to set up a dedicated office to deal with farmers’ distress.
In 2006, the state of Maharashtra, with 4,453 farmers’ suicides accounted for over a quarter of the all-India total of 17,060, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). NCRB also stated that there were at least 16,196 farmers' suicides in India in 2008, bringing the total since 1997 to 199,132. According to another study by the Bureau, the number of farm suicides increased since 2001.”
And I say….
Agriculture is the heart of India. We also know that we need food to sustain. Yet we neglect the fact that farmers’ quality of life is very low. Most of them are below poverty line and their life is no different from hell. They struggle hard to meet the ever increasing demand and technological changes. Their income is very less and they are forced to strive hard to make the ends meet.
There are subsidies... there are schemes to educate the farmers on how to increase productivity and how to reduce cost... But there are very less farmers who get benefitted because the effectiveness of such schemes is still debatable. Even today there are farmers who are unaware of the same.
Well... I know I am pouring with too much of information. And annoyingly, none of this is new to us. This is a reality and we all read in newspapers. We have seen live coverage on increase in number of suicides among the farmers.
In similar lines, Kota Neelima, a political journalist, takes up this sensitive issue and weaves into an intriguing yet hearth crunching story. She takes us through the plights that farmers undergo... She throws light on dirty politics and the way politicians play games to satisfy their selfish urges. She has unapologetically talked about something we ignore... something which we wish is not happening...
Kota Neelima’s Shoes of Dead is a tale about a farmer who dreams big. He is like you-and-me. He dreams of pursuing higher studies... moving out to city and getting into a secured job with regular income. But circumstances force him to take up agriculture. But he never gives up his dream. But unforeseen acts of nature compel him to commit suicide and thus begin this story. Shoes of Dead is about how his brother fights for justice.
The book gives a positive outlook for life. It speaks about the power of one-man-army.
In short, the book moves a little slowly. Yet it is a book worth reading.