Farmer Suicides in India's Breadbasket

Agrarian Distress and Farmer Suicides in North India by Lakhwinder Singh, Kesar Singh Bhangooand Rakesh Sharma; New Delhi: Routledge India;pp 229, ₹895.

Punjab is a traditionally agrarian economy, which was chosen as a site for the Green Revolution in the 1960s by the Indian state, in collaboration with global organisations such as the International Development Agency, the World Bank and the International Rice Research Institute. This strategy sought to replicate the American model of capitalist agricultural development in the region, planned by foreign experts on the basis of intensive use of chemical inputs, reliance on foreign technology and use of genetically modified seeds.

The initiation of Green Revolution in the state was also rooted in the political agenda of keeping in check the Punjab peasantry, who were looked upon as incipient revolutionaries by the Indian state machinery (Anderson and Morrison 1982: 7). This strategy radically transformed Punjab agriculture with huge increases in agricultural output during the decades of the 1960s and 1970s. Punjab was widely touted as an epitome of the success of the capitalist mode of agricultural development.

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