Official indifference

Print edition : March 08, 2013

Yogendra Jadeja with his mother and grandmother at Kichdad village. Photo: ANUPAMA KATAKAM

WHEN the residents of Kichdad village in Jamnagar district's Jamkhampalia taluk found Anirudhsinh Togaji Jadeja’s body, they also found a battered mobile phone and in its cover a letter addressed to Chief Minister Narendra Modi. It said that in spite of his having sought assistance and sensitivity towards his case, the banks were threatening to repossess his land if he did not repay his loan. He believed that by ending his life the government may pay his family compensation and that would take care of the loan.

Anirudhsinh is the most recent victim of the farming crisis in Saurashtra. He died in October 2012 by consuming poison. His 18-year-old son Yogendra says that as a proud Rajput it was becoming difficult for his father to put on a brave face when the notices came. “My father wasn’t just looking after us, but he was taking care of his mother and also his sister whose husband had left her. She came to live here with her blind daughter. Now I am the only male member, and the women of our community do not work in the fields. If there is no harvest this year, it will be a serious problem for us to find food.” They still have to pay back a loan of Rs.41,000, and Yogendra is too young and too full of sadness even to begin to understand the problem.

Backward would be a mild word to describe Kichdad. The narrow dusty road that leads to Yograj’s hut is pitted with potholes that are full of stagnant water, a certain breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Kichdad is indicative of the lopsided policies of the Modi government. It is reeling from agrarian distress, while, not far away, in the same district, a massive industrial township thrives on government largesse.

Anupama Katakam