BY: Neeraja Kulkarni
The Truth About Indian Farmer Suicides
Rupesh, a farmer in rural Karnataka, India, faced debt, employed laborers, and struggled with water scarcity impacting crop yields.
Rupesh's hopeful gathering with laborers was disrupted by a sudden rainstorm, attributed to an "act of god" instead of climate change.
Rain damaged harvest, mounting debt, and the looming shame of an unaffordable daughter's wedding burdened Rupesh.
Farmers' suicides in India are underreported due to the politicization of data, raising concerns about justice and institutional bias.
Suicide is a crime in India, but the Mental Healthcare Act exempts those under severe stress. Reporting obligations persist.
Lack of data and stigma contribute to underreporting of farmer suicides, particularly among marginalized populations in India.
Complex institutional architecture hampers farmer well-being data, affecting reporting and impeding progress in addressing suicide stigma.
Data manipulation persisted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lack of farmer suicide data led to political blame games and subjective truths.
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