By Ravi Singh
In India’s central Vidarbha region, in the state of Maharashtra, up to 95 percent of farmers face huge levels of debt and desperation, due to low return for products, climate change impacts, lack of support from banks and law-makers, as well as market fluctuations and other impacts. This has resulted in high rates of farmer suicides, across-the-board poverty, the inability to pay family medical bills or to repay loans and other torments. Additionally, some labourers are too poor to buy their own land, thereby suffering undue harassment from money-lenders and the spiral into even further debt and destruction. Momentum has been growing in the region to address these concerns. On 20th December 2018, the Proutist Bloc of India (PBI) staged a rally in the city of Nagpur, highlighting the plight of poor people in the region and demanding that the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra be given statehood as a first step toward solving the problem. A large number of protesters gathered to voice their concerns. “All the schemes and plans made in the capitals are not even remotely connected to the ground realities, and their implementation is marred by corruption and red tape,” said PBI convener Madhukar Nistane. Other goals of the rally were to empower local people through strengthening local government, and to increase resilience throughout the region. PBI Maharashtra’s general secretary Manoj Chauhan commented that Vidarbha has been waiting for justice for several decades, but tthat different leaders had betrayed the people by derailing all the past movements for statehood. Chauhan assured listeners that PBI would be there to pursue the struggle to its logical end. PBI has been organizing other similar actions around India for the past few years with good success, all with the goals to mobilize the people, bring awareness to the plight of the exploited and to create social, economic and environmental justice for all.
Behere, P. B., & Behere, AP.. (2008), Farmers’ suicide in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra state: A myth or reality? Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 124 – 127. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.42401
By Ravi Singh