Wednesday, June 29 2016, 02:30:28
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Jayati Godhawat

JWB Blogger

Here’s What Happens To The Widows of The Maharashtrian Drought-ridden Farmers

  • JWB Post
  •  June 23, 2016


Maharashtra has experienced the worst drought in four decades, and it has resulted in thousands of farmer suicides in India.

According to the data, the estimated deaths exceeded 3,000, last year.

However, the struggle and suffering of the widows of farmers who committed suicide are overlooked by most of the people, including the government.

Joshna Wandile, a 24-year-old mother of two, narrated the horrific realities that she had to face after her husband committed suicide.

I had nothing when my husband died – he sold everything in the house, even the cooking vessels, to pay the creditors,” said Wandile.

Joshna’s in-laws threw her and her children out of their house and denied to transfer the public distribution card to her name, depriving her of the subsidized food.

She was even refused for her share in the land where she and her husband has worked for so many years because his husband had titled the land in the name of his parents.

According to the law, when a farmer dies, a case has to be filed with the police case where they assess the cause of death. If it is determined that the suicide was committed due to the farm crisis or indebtedness, the widow or the family gets 100,000 rupees ($1,500).

However, the compensation can be denied if there’s dispute over the land ownership or if the death is not judged to be linked to indebtedness or the farm crisis.

In Wandile’s case, too, the compensation was initially denied. However, with the help of a charity, she filed a case against her in-laws who were about to sell their land, and eventually was given her due compensation.

She now lives in a two-room home, in Alipur village, which she built by taking a microfinance loan.

She expressed, “I want to educate my children, get my daughter married.”

“I also want to help other widows, because the world is cruel to us: no one respects a woman whose husband has died,” added Wandile.

However, one must understand that Joshna’s story is not just one story but a story of thousands of other widows who are living a dejected life and are struggling even to meet their daily needs.

In the last twenty years, over three lac farmers have taken their own lives in India and what they have left behind are their wives and children who are fighting for their lives and livelihood with the creditors, families, government, and their communities.

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