National Award winning actor Nana Patekar has been extremely vocal about his despair and frustration with regards to the farmer suicides in Marathwada, Maharashtra. He has been vociferous in his critique of governments, political parties and the common man who seem to have turned their backs on farmers from the drought-hit region. Nana has taken resolute steps to do his bit to alleviate the misery of farmers burdened with debts and crop failure. As Yourstory stated in an earlier report, Nana’s NAAM Foundation established in 2015 in association with noted Marathi actor Makrand Anaspure has been working relentlessly to provide aid to debt-ridden farmers and widows of farmers who have committed suicide.
“A massive migration is taking place to cities. And I want to tell everyone: if someone knocks at your car window, don’t treat them like beggars. They are farmers. They are helpless. They need food, water and access to toilets. Let’s take responsibility for one person each. It’s not hard,” Nana told NDTV. Noted for being apolitical, this time, however, Nana said that it has been society’s collective failure that has compelled farmers to migrate from villages to cities. “The next two months are going to be tough for the farmers in Maharashtra. And I think it is our failure, our government’s failure that we haven’t been able to harvest or store the rainwater properly. It’s not a matter of one or two years. We’ve been failing our farmers since the last sixty-eight years,” Nana added.
Nana stated that, “When I see the farmers, I don’t see them, I see myself. I understand why take such drastic steps. I can see that they cannot afford to buy medicines for their family, food for their children, hay for their cattle…I can see their hopelessness, their shame in it. And for a man, that is a horrible feeling. He feels as if there’s nothing left for him. He feels helpless, and that’s when his hand goes towards the noose…” In a report by The Huffington Post, as of March 1 this year, as many as 57 farmers have already committed suicide in Maharashtra in 2016 due to agrarian reasons.
In an earlier story, Think Change India reported that the MET department has predicted an above average rainfall this year. We hope this results in the mitigation of farmer problems in Maharashtra.