Hit By Indebtedness and Suicides, Punjab Farmers Worry New Laws Will Make Things Worse
Researchers have found that small and marginal farmers and Dalit landless labourers are worst affected by the region's agrarian distress.
by Pawanjot Kaur
INDERJIT SINGH JAIJEE was born in Sangrur in 1931, the son of pre-partition farmers’ rights movement leader Harchand Singh Jaijee. After 26 years working as an executive in a multinational corporation he took premature retirement and returned to Punjab in 1984, spurred by the deteriorating situation in the state. He came back with the hope of saving lives.
In 1985 he was elected to Punjab Vidhan Sabha but resigned two years later to protest the 1987 attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Thereafter, he took up Human Rights work and documented fake encounters and disappearances and extra-judicial executions. This work was reflected in his book Politics of Genocide, and a sequel published 30 years later, Legacy of Militancy, the Long Road to Normalcy.
Documentation of militancy related un-natural deaths in Punjab led into the area of debt-related rural suicides. Since 1988 he has been documenting these suicides in villages of southeast Punjab.
This work found expression in another book, Debt and Death in Rural India: the Punjab Story.
In 2001 he set up the Baba Nanak Educational Society to provide assistance to suicide-affected families. The objective is empowerment through education. Prior to 2003 the sub-divisions of
Villages served by BNES are educationally backward. In 2003 the Society set up the first undergraduate college in the area.READ MORE
RESCUE & REVIVAL
Rescue & Revival is a Project Of The Baba Nanak Educational Society
The aim of BNES is to keep children whose parents have committed suicide in school by providing their families monthly
BNES investigates and fully recods cases of rural suicide taking affidavits from village panchayats for verification of debtrelated suicide
Availing of goverment help if diffcult BNES help victim families get state welfare pensions to which they are entitled .These pensions are small,but even small amounts can mean the difference between hope and despair and save family from the trauma of second or third even suicides
BNES pressures state and central goverments to rehabilites families of suicide victims and remove the causes of rural distress that drive people to take their own lives
UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM
All over india ,farmers and farm labourers are back-to-the-wall.The impact on Punjab is especially servere since the economy of this state depends almost exclusively on agriculture.
Agrarian distress has been building up for the past many years because
Grain prices lag far behind rapidly rising input costs
Land holdings fragment below economic viability
Employment outside of agriculture for poorly educated
villagers is non existent