Life is full of ups and downs; Life is full of surprises; Life is full of … well, no matter how one tries to fill up the blanks and complete the phrase, very few can match up to Kalavati’s life which had witnessed all of the above and beyond.
Kalavati became a poster woman for the farmer suicides in Vidarbha, the same Vidarbha which was already the poster region for suicides. Thanks but no thanks to Rahul Gandhis visit and the infamous picture showing him eating at Kalavati’s house. Kalavati became a household name after RG quoted her in a parliamentary speech. While the entire media went berserk on covering her, very few cared to cover the real issues behind Kalavati’s financial and agrarian crisis or cover what happened to her after her phenomenal rise and an equally phenomenal fall.
Chapter I: The Isolation
Kalavati became the talk of the town, talk of the state, talk of the country and talk of the parliament but the same popularity made her the number one enemy in her own community.
It wasn’t like Kalavati was the only farmer suicide victim, there were many other families who faced similar hardships or may be even worse, but their lives and their stories did not receive the same attention. Why are the journalists only writing about Kalavati? why was the media only showing kalavati’s pictures? Why is it that Kalavati’s life matters more than theirs? And thus began the process of isolation.
Chapter 2: The Loan
On an average, a small village usually has 200-300 families where everyone knows everyone. The word spreads fast and really fast and in Kalavati’s case, given her popularity the speed at which her news travelled simply doubled and tripled. The fact that she received the loan amount meant further isolation and even hatred in some cases. Kalavati’s problems were just getting compounded while the media was busy compounding its TRP ratings. The money lenders on the other hand were circling around her like vultures to get their share of the loan amount. While the government may think that the money was disbursed, there is no accountability or no reality check done to ensure the money actually reached the intended recipient.
Chapter 3: The Lessons
If RG really had any intentions of finding solutions to the suicide crisis, Kalavati could have become the poster woman for the solutions to the suicide crisis, instead she became a victim of the political exploitation and the big tamasha of the media.
Ok, may be its a difficult task to solve the crisis for everyone overnight or in a few weeks or few months. But the problems of Kalavati and a few like her in the community could have been solved. If they had put their heads together and see the problems upclose, they could have come up with the proper solutions. In fact the community itself would have been able to offer the solutions and the authorities could have just supported them. But no, the phenomenon called RG and his drama company, the media just made a big mockery of the situation and when they were done sucking the life out of the actual people who were going through the crisis, they just turned their backs for good. Oh and I almost forgot, they did announce loan waivers. Which loan? What loan?
- I’m the loan that everyone craves for.. on paper
- I’m the loan that values in crores.. on paper
- I’m the loan that’s in every campaign promise..on paper
- I’m the loan that’s budgeted for in every budget..on paper
- I’m the loan that can make the farmers life..on paper
- I’m the loan that can change lives..on paper
- I’m the loan that reaches every farmer..on paper
But in reality
- I’m the loan that breaks the farmer
- I’m the loan that evades the farmer
- I’m the loan that tears apart the farmer
- I’m the loan that destroys not just the crop but the farmer
image: source indiatoday.in
When loan waivers are signed in the AC rooms, when ministries are held by people who have nothing to do with agriculture, when policies are framed with utter disrespect to the ground reality, when farmer suicides become just a statistic, Kalavati’s will become or forced to become calamities
Disclaimer: I’ve never met Kalavati, the above is my interpretation of what might have happened to her based on the different articles that were written.