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(Image Courtesy: National Crimes Record Bureau)
 
Several Indian Members of Parliament (MPs) and journalists have once again proved right Lord Macaulay's maxim--Half Knowledge is worse than ignorance. They did so by ranting over love affairs and impotency, which figure in the list of non-agrarian causes of farmers’ suicides.
These causes were mentioned by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh while answering a question in Rajya Sabha on Friday. The written reply also mentioned agrarian causes such as indebtedness, crop failure, drought, etc. 
Certain TRP-obsessed Shrill TV channels and camera-friendly MPs chose to overlook or underplay these factors. They could not digest the fact that farmers, as members of society, can also be victims of impotency and failed love affairs. They conveniently forgot that honour killings are outcome of unapproved love affairs including extra-marital relationship. 
What they would find now nauseating is the fact these very causes of farmers suicides have been mentioned several times in Parliament over the years without inviting any tantrums. And they have been reported by media without any fuss! 
Was the parliamentary ruckus and media ridicule in the instant case driven by their proclivity to run down Modi Government at the slightest pretext?  Or was it another unintended tribute to Lord T.B. Macaulay, 18th Century British administrator? He introduced English-medium education and Indian Penal Code in the country.  
The Indian intelligentsia right from Prime Ministerial prospect Rahul Gandhi to obscure social media activists deplored Modi Government's insensitivity towards suicide committed by farmers. 
Mr. Gandhi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should advise his ministers to visit villages to check the ground realty. The Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal reportedly demanded an apology from Mr. Singh for his “irresponsible” remarks. Another leading MP KC Tyagi described the reply as insult to farmers. One Nagendar Sharma tweeted: “Modi Govt breaking all record of absurdity: agriculture ministry now blames love affairs, drugs & impotency for farmers suicides.”
All leading TV channels and dailies reported the furore in Rajya Sabha over Mr. Singh's reply with shrill TV channels ridiculing the reply. One Channel quoted an MP threatening to file a privilege motion against the Minister for giving a wrong reply!
There is in fact a case for filing a privilege motion in the deemed Citizens' court against the intelligentsia for misleading the country time and again through their half-knowledge, ignorance and distortion of facts.
“Love affairs, barrenness/impotency” have figured in the long list of non-agrarian factors in the answer to Parliament questions for several years! These two factors that rattled Intelligentsia's conscience have been mentioned almost verbatim in the reply to Parliament questions posed during NDA and UPA regimes. 
‘Love Affair’ and ‘impotency’ were mentioned in at least seven questions raised during the tenure of UPA-II. And these two offending terms figured in the answer to six questions posed during first year of Modi Government before the seventh one triggered the storm. 
All these years no one even squirmed over such non-agrarian factors that the Ministry sourced from “Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India” report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). In some replies, they figure prominently in the open paragraph. 
And the most derisive aspect of the brouhaha over impotency and love affairs is that they were reported by media in a sterile manner in August 2012. The media that carried news stories including Indian Express (http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/2.90-lakh-farmers-committed-suicide-during-19952011-govt/995981/),EconomicTimes (http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-08-31/news/33521331_1_agrarian-reasons-bankruptcy-or-sudden-change-change-in-economic-status) and Outlook Magazine (http://www.outlookindia.com/news/printitem.aspx?773784).
The news stories were developed from the reply given by UPA regime's Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat (presently Uttrakhand CM) in response to a question dated 31 August 2012. (http://164.100.47.5/qsearch/QResult.aspx).  Did Mr. Gandhi snub Mr. Rawat for mentioning two offending causes in his reply? 
Parliament questions in which impotency and love affairs figured in replies during the UPA regime include: 1)Answer given by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in response to a question numbered 147 and dated 16th August 2013. In the very first paragraph of written reply, Mr. Pawar stated: “Number of suicides of farmers since 1999, yearwise and Statewise, as compiled annually by National Crime Records Bureau is at Annexure I. Causes of suicides include family problems, illness, drug abuse/addiction, unemployment, property dispute, bankruptcy or sudden change in economic status, poverty, professional/career problem, love affair, barrenness/impotency, cancellation/non-settlement of marriage, dowry dispute, fall in social reputation, causes not known, etc.”
Ten days prior to this, Mr. Pawar had given the same verbatim reply in the very first sense of response to the question numbered 24 put in Lok Sabha on 6th August 2013.  
The Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar stated the same non-agrarian factors (including the offending ‘love affair’ and ‘impotency’) in the very first paragraph of his reply to question numbered 2964 raised in Rajya Sabha on 21st February 2014.  
It is not only NCRB that has recorded non-agrarian factors as the additional causes for farmers’ suicides.  Expert Committees and studies have delved into these issues.
Answering a question numbered 483 in Rajya Sabha on 1st March 2013, Mr Anwar stated: “The Expert Group on Agricultural Indebtedness pointed out, interalia, that suicide is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, the risk factors can be either neurobiological or socioeconomic and root cause is not indebtedness alone, which is just a symptom.”
The underlying message of this uncalled for ruckus is that all stakeholders of shoot-and-scoot journalism should do their home work before speaking.  
 
 
Published by http://nareshminochapolity.blogspot.in on 27th July 2015
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