ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Farmer Suicides

The Burden of Local Narratives

Unravelling Farmer Suicides in India: Egoism and Masculinity in Peasant Life by Nilotpal Kumar, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2017; pp xv + 309, 995.


For the past few decades, farmer suicides have come to be lodged in the public imagination as symptomatic of the deepening agrarian distress haunting the Indian countryside. Scholarly studies of the phenomenon have revealed to us the market-induced vulnerabilities of the farmers, especially the ones growing cash crops like cotton, groundnut, soybean, citrus. They have also reminded us of the policy failures of the state and the declining public investment in agriculture. We have learnt of the reduced support of a pro-reform state to agriculture and the political marginality of the peasantry in the new political economy of the post-1991 Indian state. Others have pointed out the falling crop productivity in the wake of rising input costs amidst globalisation of non-sustainable capitalistic farming practices. Agroecologists have underlined the higher susceptibility of high-yield cash crops to diseases, pest attacks and moisture-related distress in the post-green revolution era. At one stroke, Nilotpal Kumar in Unravelling Farmer Suicides in India: Egoism and Masculinity in Peasant Life dismisses such interrelated arguments as manifestations of flawed economism and sociologism.

Abstracting Agrarian Crisis

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Updated On : 2nd Dec, 2019
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