For decades India has had the highest farmer suicide rates in the world. Official records have recorded 420,000 suicides since 1995.
On average 2000 farmers take their lives every month in the country because they simply cannot handle the burden of their debt.
What’s worse? The government, well aware of this decades-long problem has only made their struggle worse by diverting much-needed river waters away from farming states.
But, why would the Indian government intentionally divert water from its own farming states?
It’s the same reason the Indian government has introduced 3 new laws which farmers say are designed to further cripple the lifestyle and livelihood of their humble lifestyle—corporate greed.
Farmers say the “Black Laws”, as they call them, remove government-regulated pricing, making them vulnerable to bullying tactics by large corporations. The laws also take away their ability to fight back in court if a deal turns sour.
In a bid to fight the unjust laws, farmers from all over India began a peaceful protest some 170 days ago on August 9th 2020.
After 4 months of protest and with the government continuing to turn a blind eye to their plight, farmers further organized a country-wide march to the capital, New Delhi called #DelhiChalo
En-route to the capital, protesters were met with brute resistance from government police using heavy barricades, tear gas, baton attacks, and brazen acts of police brutality. Government forces dug up roads and blocked bridges in an attempt to stop the movement from gaining steam.
Despite their efforts, millions of farmers from all over the country marched into the capital, many of them on tractors, and some even rode their bicycles or walked hundreds of kilometers to join the protest.
As of this writing, it has now been 65 days since massive camps of protesters have been camped outside the capital city braving the cold winter months of northern India.
Their Movement, called #KissanEkta (Farmers Unite) seems to be gaining steam but in an attempt to counter their voices, the government has come down on these protesting farmers in a very harsh way.
Additionally, reports are surfacing that reporters who are reporting these human rights violations have begun to go missing. Video footage of reporters being snatched by police in the middle of the night can be found online, along with videos of protesters being beaten mercilessly with batons and carried away by the police. It seems these atrocious acts have become common tactics of the Indian government in an attempt to stop the country-wide movement.
Here at Northbound Gear, we believe in fair trade, worldwide. We believe corporations have moral duty to do good in the communities they serve. We believe in the right to peacefully protest and we strongly believe no democratic country should ever forcefully shut the voice of its journalists or citizens.
To show our support, we're donating partial proceeds of our sales this month to the cause to help support Indian Farmers during these times of their struggle.
We ask you to join us in doing your part by sharing this article and others on your social media pages.
Update: December 14th, 2021
It is with great joy that we update this article to announce after 16 long months of peaceful protests on the streets of Indias capital, New Dehli, the Indian famers have won their fight against corporate greed. The Indian government has sworn to remove the crippling laws from their agenda and famers all over the country are celebrating this hard fought victory.
On behalf of all of us here are Northbound Gear, we are inspired by their grit and determination and congratulate them on not only fighting the good fight, but also winning.