New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) Urging the government for steps to make farming economically viable, 40 children — whose farmer fathers have committed suicide — on Tuesday appealed to peasants not to take the extreme step that has devastating effect on their families.
Wisened beyond their years by the personal tragedies and resultant emotional turmoil, these 40 youngsters now dream of becoming engineers or scientists to lead a better life.
They are among the 350-odd children who have been forced to call an ashram (charitable school) in Nashik district of Maharashtra their permanent home after their fathers committed suicide in the past one decadedue to debt burden.
On Tuesday, these 40 children made the appeal during a protest in Delhi against the government for its alleged anti-farmer policies.
They also urged the government to take necessary steps to make farming economically sustainable to ensure a better future for the farmers and their children.
Ashok Patil, 16, said: “After my father committed suicide, the responsibility fell on my mother. She tried hard but raising me and my brother became difficult. So, I was sent me to the ashram (four years ago).”
“I have not met my mother in two years. Even when I visited her last time, I could not stay over five days due to her poor financial condition.”
He said he does not want to become a farmer but a scientist.
Priyanka Gaikwad, 12, from Nifad in Nashik district said she feels bad when she hears of farmers’ suicide on television programmes.
“I feel unlucky as I have to stay away from my mother. Had my father been alive, I would not have stayed in the ashram,” Priyanka said.
She said farmers should think twice before committing suicide as it does not just put their families under crisis but leads to separation of family members as well.
Among these children is five-year-old Arush Patil from Nagpur, who lost both parents when he was just three.
Nishant Kale from Nandurbar district and Hrishikesh Kale from Malegaon town of Nashik aim to become an engineer and policeman respectively, which they say will allow them to live a better life.
“I feel nervous thinking about my mother as she is struggling hard to earn her daily bread. After my father’s death, our family has fallen apart. I want to live with my family,” said 13-year-old Nishant.
The charitable school is run by Adhaartirth Ashram, which is getting more requests for admissions with each passing day.
“We had started this school to rehabilitate children of deceased farmers. Although we have about 350 children currently, around 1,800 requests for admission of such children are pending. We have sent a proposal to the state government to give us the required facilities to expand our service,” said school trustee Revaji Walunj.