The farmer and the tree: A comedy of errors

Astha Sharma

An ordinary farmer committed suicide at the Aam Aadmi Party rally against the land acquisition bill on Wednesday evening in Delhi. What’s shocking is that politicians have resorted to a frenzy of unexplained blame-games trivializing a much larger issue.

While the Aam Aadmi Party accused Delhi Police and tried to defend itself over the complaint that its workers did nothing to save the man, who tried to hand himself from a noose made out of cloth, Rahul Gandhi declared he would support poor farmers because, according to him, the Centre is trying to snatch away land from peasants.

As the drama unfolded, several politicians visited the hospital and the farmer’s village to extend sympathy to Gajendra Singh’s loved ones.

However, what appears to be strange is that the purported suicide note written by him clearly states that he was devastated by the fact that his father had disowned him due to crop failure this season. Then why the whole drama over who said what and why?

Some people wondered why the police did not come to his rescue, others protested against AAP saying their workers had literally killed the man by goading him to commit suicide. Others blamed Narendra Modi as responsible, solely because he happens to be India’s Prime Minister.

The matter didn’t end there. After the entire day’s events, a First Information Report was lodged by police, raising questions as to who were responsible for the farmer’s suicide, that’s what hogged the news headlines the whole day. “Aapne kya dekha? Woh ped par kaise chadha?” and other such ridiculous questions were put before eyewitnesses by intrepid reporters.

Several politicians from Aam Aadmi Party appeared on television and retorted with sarcasm. “Should Kejriwal have climbed the tree? OK, next time, we’ll ask him to climb the tree”, said AAP leader Ashutosh, sarcastically to reporters. It was more comic, to be honest.

And even as political parties haggle over who caused Gajendra’s death and refused to take the blame over what caused his death, more important and pressing issues like climate change, crop insurance, equitable distribution of land among farmers, uncalled for ceilings on land revenue, widespread corruption in banks because of which it is almost impossible for a farmer to get a loan, have been conveniently shoved into the background.