Film on Farmer Suicides Released in Punjab

Harvest of Grief, a new documentary directed by Anwar Jamal recently premiered in Punjab. The film aims to tackle the rising number of farmer suicides in Punjab.

hogPIC.jpgHarvest of Grief is a 60 minute documentary of farmers’s suicides in the dry district of Sangrur. Suicides are due to indebtedness arising out of high costs of water, mechanized farming, chemical pesticides and fertilizers and low economic returns. The film also takes a comprehensive view of gender, health and environmental destruction which are the consequences of the Green Revolution and globalization.

The movie is sponsored by the Rescue and Revival Mission and predominantly focuses on the impact the suicides have had on women and children. A recent article in the Financial Times also discussed Harvest of Grief and the issue of famer suicides in Punjab. Official statistics say that 132 farmers in Punjab killed themselves in the past five years – attributing the deaths to natural causes or alcohol or drug abuse. However, Inderjit Singh Jaijee, a Chandigarh-based human-rights activist and former state legislator, states that up to 40,000 farmers have taken their lives in the past 20 years. A large discrepancy in the number of farmer suicides exists (perhaps due to a lack of infrastructural support, social stigma etc.) and families are often left destitute, receiving little or no state support.

I look forward to watching the film and hope it creates productive dialogue leading to potential solutions for families impacted and affected by this issue.


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