SUGGI RAJ writes from Bangalore: As Karnataka shows an almost pornographic interest in the Brothers Ahmed, and their Glasgow plot that went phut, here’s a bomb that should blow a small hole in our skulls.
More farmers have committed suicide in our State in the last 14 months than the number of people who have died due to acts of terrorism in the entire country last year.
# Why aren’t we talking as much about those deaths?
# Why is all our attention focussed on a failed terror bid?
# And is death worth taking note of only if it is attained at the hands of an unknown, unseen terrorist?
The numbers are revealing:
# As many as 11,500 farmers have ended their lives in India in the last six years. Of these, 5,980 are from Karnataka alone. That means every other farmer who has walked into a death trap was from Karnataka.
# In the last 14 months, around 350 farmers have committed suicide in Karnataka.
# The number of those died due to terror in all of India in 2006 was around 280.
These are not numbers pulled out thin air. These are some of the findings of National Social Watch Coalition, a Delhi-based conglomerate of voluntary groups, released on June 30. Yet while we collectively beat our breasts over what didn’t kill anybody in faraway Glasgow, we think little of what happens in our own backyard.
Equally disturbingly, our media, including this website, has no inclination to go behind these numbers. In the Glasgow plot which killed nobody, they are hysterically probing the background of the perpetrators, their motives, etc.
Why isn’t the media expending even an ounce of the same energy in finding out who is dying, why, and how we could stop the flood?
Our political and administrative masters have no time except to mouth the usual cliches and platitudes. And when the humble son of the soil from Holenarsipur, H.D. Deve Gowda, opens his mouth, it is not to offer commiserations, but to berate a debt-ridden farmer who tried to end his life in his residence: “If farmers want to commit suicide, let them do so.”
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, it appears, is more worried about the form of the Indian cricketers on the field than the farms of the poor farmers. And in the State, the men in power seem more worried about the outcome of the game of musical chairs, which is scheduled in October.
So, who has time for the poor farmer in the time of sexy Glasgow?