Politicians Who Call Farmers Cowards Must Apologise, Says Son of Telangana Farmer Who Committed Suicide

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Boorgupally, Telangana:  It takes courage to stick to an unprofitable profession like farming and politicians should not insult farmers, says the son of a farmer who committed suicide in Telangana three weeks ago.

The comment of Haryana minister OP Dhankar, that farmers who commit suicide are “cowards”, had drawn nationwide condemnation. In this corner of Telangana, it has touched a raw nerve.

Politicians are rubbing salt on the wounds of hardworking farmers when they insult them, said Narasimha, the son of Kunta Yellaiah, a resident of Boorgupally village.

“Farmers work from early morning till late night. Sometimes they even work all night, because that’s when power and water becomes available,” Narasimha said. “They wait an entire year to harvest a crop, despite all the uncertainty. How can they (the politicians) say farmers lack courage? They must apologise to farmers for saying that.”

The local farmers, too, pointed out the risks of agriculture – the uncertainty about rains, seeds and fertilisers. On top of it, there was no guarantee of remunerative prices, they said.

Narasimha’s father had been working since his teens, got his two sisters and two daughters married, gave his sons an education, said the villagers. But when his cotton crop failed twice in the last five years, he could take it no more. Earlier this month he hanged himself.

“Those who leased him the five acres for cotton, said he hadn’t paid for the last two years. They wanted the land back as well as the money. He was feeling very bad about it,” sobbed Yelliah’s wife Narsavva. “I told him let us sell our one-and-a-half acres and pay back the money.”

The decision was inevitable, but it shamed Yelliah not to be able to safeguard his ancestral land, added Yellaiah’s brother-in-law.

The unseasonal rains in March and April — which resulted in massive crop loss across the country — have driven many farmers to suicide.

On April 22, a farmer from Rajasthan even hanged himself in full public view in Delhi, during a rally organized by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party to highlight farmers’ woes.

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