Harvest of Grief – A saga of widows

Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20

“Harvest of Grief”, the 67-minute documentary depicting the “sad saga” of widows of the farmers, who have committed suicide in Punjab, moved scientists and human rights activists present during the screenplay of the documentary at PAU today.

The documentary was directed by Anwar Jamal and produced by Rasil Basu, chairperson of Ekatra Productions, in collaboration with the Movement Against State Repression (MASR), a Chandigarh-based NGO run by Inderjit Singh Jaijee, former state legislator and human rights activist.

Emphasising upon the agrarian woes caused by unpaid debts, injudicious use of pesticides, increased cost of cultivation with globalisation, improper procurement, the causative factors for farmer deaths in Malwa region, the documentary was indeed an eye opener.

A clipping from the documentary depicted the agony of a family in Balran village wherein after losing four of its male members, the eldest woman of the household took the reigns in her hand to run the show. “My husband was the first one to consume poison, followed by my two brother-in-laws and nephew and now women are left to repay the debts and bring up the children,” rued Gurpreet Kaur.

The documentary carried an excerpt from an interview of a physicist and environmental activist, Dr Vandana Shiva, who lambasted the government for having connived with the multinational companies in promoting pesticides and selling them to the farmers as “dawa” (medicine for fields).

The plight of the thwarted farmers was evident from the diver’s interview in the documentary. “It was a nightmare for me to spend days to fish out the bodies of the farmers. I recall fishing out 1,300 bodies from various canals,” revealed a diver.

Inderjit Singh Jaijee said we want to give a message to the Government of India that the suicides had occurred in Punjab and India at large owing to the faulty agrarian policies.

Source Link: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100521/ldh1.htm#5

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