It is a shame that we drive our farmers to their death and, worse, we do not want to acknowledge their deaths as suicides driven by debt and distress (“How to be an eligible suicide,” May 13). With both the number of farm suicides and the number of farmers quitting agriculture rising, combined with the grim picture of agricultural productivity, the day is not far when people will die in larger numbers because of starvation. But by then, the governments at the Centre and the States would have their innovative strategies ready, with which they will cover up even these deaths.

E. Geeta Sravanthi,


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The obfuscation of the figures on farm suicides points to the parochial, regressive and escapist mindset of our politicians and administrators. This tendency to live in denial will only make matters worse as they will continue to fail in addressing the crux of the problem.

Subadra Kalyanaraman,


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The article has exposed the games bureaucrats and politicians play to fudge statistics. As pointed out by M.S. Swaminathan in Chennai recently, Islamic banking which propagates zero interest lending could hold the key to solving the agrarian crisis in Vidarbha. I appeal to the government and the RBI to heed the sound suggestion and introduce interest-free banking as an alternative to conventional banking as recommended by the high-level committee on Financial Sector Reforms headed by Raghuram Rajan and as adopted by countries such as the U.K., Singapore, Japan and France.

H. Abdur Raqeeb,

New Delhi

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When Rajaji was Premier of the Madras Presidency, he brought the much-needed Agriculturists' Debt Relief Act to save debt-ridden farmers from moneylenders and landlords. The Act specified that if the rate of interest on loans exceeded the principal amount, the entire debt would be discharged.

V.S. Sankaran,