Any Google search on Sushant Singh Rajput does not even need to be refreshed, since the live updates will tell you his cook's latest confession given to a television news channel probably only two hours ago. Jumping to solve the alleged murder mystery slash suicide are the nation's best resources - the CBI, ED, NCB, governments of two states, and of course the Supreme Court.
All that for the life of one talented actor and a great human being and rightly so. But rewind to only last year and the loss of as many as 42,480 lives is only a statistic. When in fact those were the lives of farmers and daily wagers of this very country. It's yet to shake the country up, let alone become a national obsession. So much for the nation's backbone, agriculture and the patriotic shout out "Jai Kisaan."
According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data on accidental deaths and suicides, 10,281 farmers died by suicide in 2019. That's a whopping 7.4 percent of the total suicides in the country.
Total number of suicides
The total number of suicides in the country increased to 139,123 in 2019 from 134,516 in 2018. Ironically, the very state of Maharashtra recorded the highest number of farmer suicides in 2019 with 2680 deaths.
Suicides in 2020
Cut to the even sadder and probably more sadistic, 2020. The first five months of the year saw a drop in the suicide statistic in the state of Maharashtra when compared to the corresponding period in 2019. According to state data, while 1085 farmers ended their lives in the state during the first five months of 2019, 826 farmers ended their lives for the same period in 2020.
Depression did you say?
Any discussion on suicide invariably flips over to the other side of the often same coin, depression. Interestingly, while depression has been a part of drawing-room conversations, especially since June 14, hardly any of them have been in the context of a stressed economy and depressed farmers.
According to an interim report (2019) of a study being conducted under the National Agricultural Science Fund of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), farmers' mental health has long been ignored. Which is why timely holistic measures like counseling and psychological support can drastically bring down farmer suicide rate. It's time agriculture, economy, and farmers became a subject of interest, starting with Instagram activism and then the nation's resources could jump right in; ED, NCB, CBI, state governments, and of course the Supreme Court.