His name was Gajendra Singh. He hailed from a village in Rajasthan’s Dausa district. A note said to have been thrown down by him as he hanged himself to death during a political meeting in New Delhi sums up his reasons for ending his life.
More details on the circumstances that pushed Gajendra to take the extreme step of a public suicide might take some time to emerge. But the broad context of the suicide is not hard to discern: this summer has been hard on Indian farmers. Just when the winter crop was ready for harvest, unseasonal rain and hail in February and March devastated hundreds and thousands of acres of standing crops across 13 states. From Punjab to Maharashtra, Rajasthan to Uttar Pradesh, farmers have been united in the trauma of seeing months of hard labour and heavy investments laid to waste.