Many an evening, we have sat around, twiddling our thumbs and lamenting the fact that we are unable to live our lives to the fullest. However, a recent article on our contemporaries residing in Central India will have us thanking our lucky stars for the life we lead.
The abnormally high rate of farmer suicides in Vidarbha has left their little children struggling to age 10 years in a week. Life must go on for the rest of the family and thus, the ‘Son’ is promoted immediately to be the head of the family. At the tender ages of 13 and 14, these kids tend to the farms, help their mothers with the housework, arrange for the finances and squeeze in school education somewhere in between.
While concentrating on providing fictitious loan waivers and empty promises to the neglected population of Vidarbha, we are ignoring the frightful impact this is having on its future generation. These bachha kisans are facing grave physical, emotional and social trauma in their important shaping years. Even the most cynical of us have to agree that these experiences will lead to many behavioral troubles in the children, in the years to come.
What’s worse is that many a times, the suicides leave the families swimming in debt and with no option but to sell their lands and look for other means of survival. The obvious direction to turn to would be to migrate to larger cities like Nagpur, Pune and Mumbai, in search for a job or to offer themselves as farm labor.
The full extent of the ripple caused by the Vidarbha crisis cannot be fully understood. However, the only step forward now is a definitive and step-wise solution, to be implemented in the fastest way possible. One way to look for a solution would be to act on the immediate task at hand. This could be done with the help of NGO’s, who would help the children cope with their difficulties, as well as ensure that appropriate schooling is carried out.
Another more fantastical idea would be to attack the root of the whole problem i.e. the reason for the farmers to commit suicide. The principle cause of the once lush and green Vidarbha’s rapid deterioration is ignorance. For decades, the state of Maharashtra has been feasting on the regions crops and electricity, and not giving anything in return. This has obviously reached a boiling point where the farmers can’t take it anymore. However, the crisis has still not prompted the Government into rapid action.
Consequently, maybe the only solution to the problem is to make Vidarbha a separate state. Perhaps in governing itself, it will be able to achieve its former glory. The rich rewards of the regions resources would be turned back inwards and aid in the slow, but steady development of its society. This might even trickle down and prevent a further generation of warped childhoods.
Nevertheless, only time will tell how Vidarbha is able to pull itself out of this predicament. Till then, the region’s little men plug away.