Yunus inspires a bollywood movie character

Once in a while, its not uncommon to see a Bollywood movie taking on a pertinent social issue and the same time striving to be commercially successful. On that spirit, the latest bollywood release titled Summer 2007, is taking on the issue of farmer suicides in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra [via Reuters India]

In “Summer 2007,” which opens in cinemas on Friday, five medical
students from Mumbai stray into a village, unprepared for the deaths
and misery they encounter there.

“They get embroiled into this whole saga of who’s responsible, why
is there so much poverty and disparity,” said Atul Pandey, the film’s

The film also explores the possibility of micro credit as a solution
and has a character inspired by Mohammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel peace
prize winner and founder of Grameen Bank, Bangladesh’s biggest
micro-credit institution.

Click here for past TC-I stories on the farmer suicides.

Farmer Suicides Continue

As an update to a previous post, “Seeds of Discontent,” InfoChange India reports that despite the recent government loan waiver package for poor farmers with less than 2 hectares of land, farmer suicides continue:

 Even as the UPA government works out the nitty-gritty of the Rs 60,000 crore loan waiver for farmers, announced in its 2008 Union budget, farmers in Vidarbha and other parts of Maharashtra and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh continue to end their lives.

 Vidarbha remains a grim statistic, with 24 farmers from the region reported to have committed suicide since February 29.  Elsewhere in Maharashtra, eight farmers killed themselves.  In Andhra Pradesh, adjoining Vidarbha, 38 farmers have ended their lives since the loan waiver was announced, according to state revenue department figures. 

The government claims there is no connection between the loan waivers and recent suicides, but local community members in these regions differ –

 A young farmer Jayarami Reddy (35) of Marrikunta village in Kurnool district and his wife Saraswati committed suicide three days after the loan waiver announcement when they realised they did not qualify for it.

 Satyanarayan Reddy of Kodur village, Krishna district, had 4 acres of land and his loans from private moneylenders totalled Rs 2 lakh. The local moneylender succeeded in getting him arrested, resulting in two months’ rigorous imprisonment for the farmer. After his release, his creditors threatened to send his wife to jail. This proved too much for the 45-year-old farmer who committed suicide on March 9. 

The land size stipulation in the government waiver remains a point of contention for critics.  For more information, go here.