With increasing number of farmer suicides, this Bengaluru-based duo’s documentary makes an effort to analyse the storm brewing in the farming sector. Made in Kannada and English, When Death Strides the Fields, (Dhare Hotti Uridod) studies all aspects of the farming distress including its linkages with the market dynamics and other aspects which led to this crisis.The 28-minute documentary has been made by senior journalists Maya Jaideep and Kestur Vasuki along with a team of media persons.
Three months into its making and tracking the farmers and their families in inaccessible regions, the film makers hope their documentary will disseminate the right information.The film also analyses the plight of the farmers and its correlation with the cropping pattern. It specifically talks about market dynamics, farm controls and the prevailing state policy. According to Maya Jaideep and Kestur Vasuki, the farmers’ deaths and their correlation to global changes are the crux of the film. They add, “We have taken specific case studies of sugarcane farmers and progressive farmers in the most affected districts and attempted to understand the problems faced by the farming community in totality.”The global changes, market controls, unsolicited farming policy and impulsive government doles form the main discussion points in this documentary.
The film poses several questions and problems faced by farmers in the post-globalisation era and its consequences on the farming community. It is not just loans but market changes and controls, failure of governments to give specific policies to overcome the crisis. The farmer is not free but has to follow the market’s needs to grow crops and this leads to a failure at an aspirational level as well, say the makers.