Marginalization and Alienation of ‘Tillers of Land’ in Post-Globalized Era, Seeking Resilience through Participatory Democracy: The Case of Rural Suicides in Punjab (India)

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Gunjan SETIA, Bhag Singh Khalsa College for Women, Kala Tibba, Abohar, India
Karl Marx wrote about alienation of the proletariat from the production process, from the means of production, from the finished product, and eventually from ones’ own being. This is the highest stage of alienation where the work done is perceived to be meaningless by the worker, and he feels incapacitated in meeting his needs. In the present analysis of suicide by ‘tillers of land’ i.e. Farmers, agriculture labour, land tenants can partially be explained with the Marxist theory of alienation whereby farmers have lost the autonomy of what and how much to produce on their own lands in the post globalized, liberalized era. The present investigation delved into the varied forms of inconveniences faced by the farming community which had led to the spurt of suicides and marginalization across two badly hit Districts of Bathinda and Sangrur. In the absence of alternative social and emotional support systems, the pressure of unfriendly market forces pushed the farmers to the wall and a stage came when they found themselves helpless and defeated by the impersonal market forces. The net outcome is heavy indebtedness leading to depression and family quarrels. The failure of governance is not limited to the excess burdening of the farming community. It is compounded with the failure of important social services mainly government education system and health services. In due course of time the youth found itself lost in the quagmire. Under such appalling conditions participatory democracy has been sorted as a way out and practical suggestions have been put forward to contain this social epidemic and empower rurality.