The clock struck 12. Midnight, December 31, 2006. A new dawn, a new year was about to begin. With lots of hopes, dreams and aspirations.
It is also the time for the privileged in the country to party under dim lights. When they drink, dance, and scream 'Happy New Year', thousands of people in another part of India sit in the dark corners of their houses, dreading the uncertain future ahead of them.
One such person was Ashok Bhikaji Bhoyar from a place called Kavardari. A handful of people may have heard of Kavardari. It is in the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra. And this man was a farmer.
Then 2007 dawned. And Ashok Bhoyar ended his life drinking pesticide. The reason: He was neck deep in debt, and saw only darkness ahead of him.
January 2 was not different from January 1. In fact, it was worse. Sopan Shrikrisna Darmode from Kadamapur and Sukhdeo Shivaji Chakranarayan from Devthana also ended their lives with pesticide.
January 3 saw two more farmers committing suicide. On January 6, four people ended their lives. By the time the month ended, 68 people had chosen to end their lives in Vidarbha region alone.
All of them were cotton farmers.
Text: Shobha Warrier | Photograph: Parthajit Datta/AFP/Getty Images
Also read: 1.5 lakh farmers committed suicide between 1997 and 2005
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