We are staring, currently, at a period of record agrarian distress. Recently several thousand farmers marched to Delhi, across unions and political ideologies, to impress upon the Modi government that their lives have been devastated by the whimsical and poorly thought out decisions of this government. It would have been a wake-up call for any other regime. But for a government intoxicated by its own hubris and with its priorities elsewhere, the valiant efforts were in vain.

Though it is impossible to summarise the myriad issues affecting farmers across the country, it is vital that we acquaint ourselves with their struggle. Farmers’ suicides have increased at an alarming rate. There has been a recorded increase of 40-46% in the number of farmer suicides across India, since BJP assumed office in 2014.

The government has done little to rectify this escalating crisis except commission a report from Agro-Economic Research Centre (which submitted its report in July 2017). One of the starkest findings of this report was that Gujarat is one of the few states to not have a policy to compensate the families of farmers who have committed suicide. This illustrates the priority accorded to the problem by the state’s former CM and our current PM.

Suffering farmers have adopted all sorts of mechanisms to try and catch the government’s attention. Farmers from Tamil Nadu have brought along skeletal remains of their kin who committed suicide. Peaceful farmers were forced to resort to loud protests in Mandsaur and were shot dead by an apathetic and cruel state government. Young children from Maharashtra who have lost their parents to suicides arrived in Delhi and waited patiently to be heard by the government. Not a single representative of the government bothered to acknowledge their presence, let alone grant them an audience.

Protesting farmers identify one demand as being more urgent than others: market driven price for their produce (in line with the Swaminathan Committee recommendation of minimum support price plus 50% profits). This is a promise made by Modi and contained in black and white in BJP’s 2014 election manifesto. However, in a betrayal of the faith invested by farmers of this country, this government filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court proclaiming it had no intention and was not capable of delivering on this promise.