Wake up to The Times of India's call on farmer suicides

A thought-provoking film created by Taproot India as part of TOI's campaign, 'Save The Farmer's Family', features the plight of a village family left behind by a farmer who committed suicide

e4m by Twishy
Updated: Feb 7, 2014 9:33 AM
Wake up to The Times of India's call on farmer suicides

Poverty, drought, debt, crop failure and one Indian farmer committing suicide every half an hour! This is the ugly truth in India for the last few decades. Statistics show more than 300,000 farmers resigned to fate and have ended their lives. However, it is more heart-rending to see the plight of the families of the deceased; over a million starving women, children and elderly people, with no source of income. The Government has undertaken some measures to prevent this epidemic, albeit a little too late, while the rest of the country has been either unaware or impervious to the issue.

The Save The Farmer’s Family campaign began in April 2013 when six print ads were released in The Times of India, Bombay Times and Maharashtra Times. As part of the communication, 12 portraits of dead farmers were created using dry, burnt hay, symbolic of their downfall. These portraits were displayed and auctioned and the proceeds from each portrait were given to the families of the deceased. The second phase of the campaign, conceptualised by Taproot India, broke out with a two-minute long TV commercial, which is also part of a digital campaign.

The film features the plight of a family in a village left behind by a farmer who committed suicide. The farmer’s wife is left with no means to feed the family. She decides to offer rice mixed with poison to kill everyone, including herself. The film ends with a call to action and urges viewers to help save the farmer’s family.

Watch the film here…

“The objective of this campaign is to raise awareness on this issue so that steps are taken to support the farmers. In addition, the campaign will also attempt to provide an alternative source of income to the families that have been affected,” said Rahul Kansal, Executive President at Bennett, Coleman and Co.

The whole agenda of the campaign is to spread awareness on the issue and generate sufficient funds for the hugely affected farmer community.

“One Indian farmer committing suicide every 30 minutes is indeed a shocking piece of news. Our attempt is to make people realise the seriousness of the issue and request people to donate or spread the message. The more we spread the message, the higher our chances of saving a few lives,” said Santosh Padhi, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Taproot India.

Along with the television campaign, hoardings have been planned to be placed in different cities, starting with Mumbai, followed by a print campaign and a second round of exhibition at Nagpur towards the end of February. All proceeds will go towards helping the community learn and adopt alternative means of livelihood and to support their families. The initiative has been carried out with the support of Samaj Sevak Charitable Trust and has also gained support from NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development).

Will it bring societal awakening?

Expert take
Satbir Singh, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Havas Worldwide India said, “A fabulous piece of work from Taproot. It is very well made and hard-hitting. I predict it is going to be very popular with juries all over the world.”

Our take
The severe indebtedness, soaring input costs, corrupt middlemen and unpredictable monsoons have led to a dramatic rise in farmer suicides. It’s a shame for a country where 60 per cent of its people directly or indirectly depend upon agriculture. But are we doing enough to ease the sufferings of millions of starving families?

It is a brilliant initiative by The Times of India with the support of Samaj Sevak Charitable Trust and NABARD. The film is an eye-opener for everyone and showcases the bitter reality of the affected families. The campaign will spread awareness on the issue and generate sufficient funds to help the bereaved families.

It might be disturbing for some people, but this is the harsh reality today. It is executed very well, with perfect characters to bring life to the alarming problem. It is a much needed call for action.


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