Press Release: Eshwarmurthi Pillai’s HANG ON – A SECOND WIND

“Committing suicide is not the ultimate solution. The problem expands multifold, which later one’s family has to bear, lifelong.”

The journey of HANG ON – A SECOND WIND started in 2014-15. At that time the objective of writing this concept was more as a short film project. But as I dug into the reports day in and day out through the internet and news agencies, the farmer’s suicide rate saddened me. I wanted to highlight the darker side of the suicide effect committed by a farmer. But then realized it would gather more negativity. Hence decided to work more on the research and the script. Slowly the short filmmaking project started taking the shape of a novel.

One of the few articles which helped me in my writings is mentioned below:

Marathwada: India’s emerging farmer suicide capital

Written by Kavitha Iyer | Updated: September 13, 2015, 11:29 pm

Some of the findings were really heartbreaking and gave goosebumps:

If 2014 recorded 574 farmer suicides in the Marathwada region, the tally for 2015 has already touched 628. More incalculable is the human loss and damage to farmer morale. In 2014- ­15, the state spent Rs. 4,336 crore on financial assistance for Marathwada’s farmers. That bill could balloon further.

Farmers don’t tell their families anything while committing suicide. They just go, leaving behind, of course, another year of drought, another destroyed crop, more failed investments, and ever-larger loans.

The village, Nandurghat, and the nearby hamlets in Beed district’s Kaij taluka have seen six farmer suicides in recent months. It tells the story of a state staring at its third drought in four years, the epicenter being the eight districts in the Marathwada region, which has so far reported the country’s highest rainfall deficit in the current monsoon season (June­ – September), at 52 percent.

Khomne, a village farmer, died without witnessing this year’s Kharif sowings but left behind loans of over Rs 3 lakh. Godke another farmer cites his own rising input costs: If papayas fetched Rs 5­6 a kilo in 2003, he gets maybe Rs 7­8 a kilo today. “But labor costs were Rs. 15 per person per day in 2003, now it is Rs. 150. Fertilizer was Rs 800 a quintal then, now Rs. 2,500. And the water was always free, now we pay for tankers.”

Six years down the line still, the situation remains the same in Maharashtra and other states.

MUMBAI: Distress among farmers in the Maharashtra state pushed 2,498 of them to end their lives in the 11 months from January to November 2021. In 2020, 2,547 debt-ridden farmers had committed suicide.

Region-wise Aurangabad saw 804 suicides in the 11 months in 2021 and the Nagpur division reported 309 cases. Konkan division had no suicides in the last two years. “Even after several loan waivers and multiple other schemes for farmers, the suicide rate has seen no major reduction as 2,547 farmers committed suicide in 2020 while 2,498 ended their lives in 11 months from Jan to Nov 2021,” said Jeetendra Ghadge, RTI activist who sought data.

Surprisingly, the farmer’s agony still continues on a large scale.

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