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Every household in the village of Badi (Madhya Pradesh) has had a suicide. “There are 320 families in our village and at least one person from each has killed himself or herself,” said Sisodiya.
The sarpanch attributes the deaths to a “demonic presence” in the village, but psychiatrists this correspondent spoke to pointed at rational causes behind the high rate of suicide.
Indore-based psychiatrist Dr Srikanth Reddy said the suicides are related to depression and schizophrenic episodes among villagers, possibly due to excessive use of pesticides, apart from financial stress.
“Depression isn’t something people here are easily able to relate to or identify. When they are unable to find any reason, they associate it with a locally explainable phenomenon like demonic presence,” said Dr Reddy, adding that the issue needs urgent notice of authorities.
“Apart from financial distress, there could be other causes for this depression. In a study some years ago in China, where a large number of fanners in a particular area were committing suicide, it was found that insecticides used there contained organophosphate, which is highly toxic and causes depressive mental conditions. Suicides in Badi and in Khargone at large, therefore, need to be probed,” said Dr Reddy.
Most Khargone villagers grow cash crops like cotton and its failure hits them hard, sending them into financial distress. Similar conditions exist in Vidarbha in Maharashtra, and Khargone is along MP-Maharashtra border.
Alarmed by these unnatural deaths, Khargone Collector Ashok Verma has decided to form a committee to probe the suicides. “This is a very grave situation and we need to act fast. The villagers lack confidence and motivation and it’s very important to counsel them,” said Verma.
A few Badi residents give hope. Groups of women counsel their men and their activism have led to a ban on the sale of liquor in the village. “But even if liquor is prohibited in Badi, our men go to adjoining villages to get drunk,” said Sunita Singh, a Badi resident.
Jitendra Kushwaha, a police chowki in-charge, said, “Even when these villagers get hurt, they go to quacks instead of hospitals. Many suicides were psychologically ill. They were not taken to doctors for fear of social stigma.”
1. Every household in the village of Badi has………..
2. The Sarpanch attributes these deaths to…………. village.
3. Psychiatrists point at ……………….rate of suicide.
4. The suicides are related to depression and schizophrenic episodes possibly due to…………., apart from financial stress.
5. In China, where a large number of farmers committed suicide, it was found that the insecticides used were highly toxic and………..
6. Suicides in Badi and Khargone need …………
7. Failure of cash crops like cotton send farmers in Khargone into……………
8. Even if liquor is prohibited in Badi, the men may go ………..
1.had a suicide
2.a demonic presence in the
3. rational causes behind the high
4. excessive use of pesticides
5. caused depressive mental conditions
6. to be probed
7. financial crisis
8. to adjoining villages to get drunk
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