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Friday 31 August 2018

A disappointing panorama rolls through India

Por olimurs.92

A few months after Radha Krishnan took her life, Rani, his wife, held her husband's skull in her hands, battered by the sun, as the most powerful evidence she could find of the existence of a growing disaster in its place. originally. She joined 1,000 farmers who travel thousands of kilometers to New Delhi demanding a package of aid for farmers affected by the drought in Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India.

Krishnan's public suicide was a last and hopeless protest. In February 2017, when her crops failed for the third year in a row and with no opportunity to repay her loans, she sat on the street outside the local bank and drank the pesticide from a bottle. He died hours later, leaving his wife and four children.

It is estimated that 59,300 Indian farmers have taken their own lives in similar public ways since 1980. Italian photographer Federico Borella thinks that figure could be much higher. "Suicide is related to a great shame in India, and I suspect that many people do not report on it," he says. Shame is also linked to failure, particularly among males. In 2011, in a study on self-aggression among farmers in the state of Andhra Pradesh, it was found that even failure to commit suicide produced ridicule; Unable to bear the "misfortune", these people tried again.

Last May, Borella was invited to Tamil Nadu by the Farmers Association of South India, the group that organized the rally in New Delhi. Borella was introduced to four families from the Tiruchirappalli area, each of whom had lost their family head because of the suicide. Two of the men hanged themselves in the field. Another, like Krishnan, took poison.

Across India, similar stories are told. The cycle of drought, debt and suicide spreads like the plague.

Agriculture remains an important source of income, accounting for 14 percent of India's gross domestic product. Tamil Nadu, an important banana, mango, turmeric, sugarcane and coffee producing region, among other crops, depends on monsoons that recharge local water sources: the southwest monsoon, from June to September, and the northeast , From October to december.

As of 2014, the rains stopped arriving. Tamil Nadu is the state that currently faces its worst drought in 140 years. The government has promised help, but very little has come. In many cases, farmers are forced to sell their products to companies well below the market price. When farmers lose their crops, they are offered minimal compensation.