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The Body-politic and Death of the Farmer: R Umamaheshwari

Guest Post by R. UMAMAHESHWARI

Until now suicides happened in an almost invisible ‘intimate’ ‘psychic’ space of the farmer and his (almost always it was a male) loneliness and pain and anguish; we only got to know of it after the act was committed. But for the first time, a farmer committed suicide in full public view, and his body was consumed by the world at that moment of his committing the act. In a leading Hindi newspaper, the following day, there was a photograph, on the front page. The images showed the gradual metamorphosis of a living man, with a profession (that of a farmer), with a history and a family turning into a mere dead body. The photographer had actually recorded this metamorphosis, image by image in sequence, second by second. Not a moment had been left out. (See Amar Ujala, dated 23rd April 2015) With one loop the man, named Gajendra, became yet another body; yet another dispensable body, to be consumed by the entire nation through photographs and TV images. It was the signifier of our times: an act in the theatre of the absurd that democracy has come to be. The farmer will increasingly be ‘seen’ when he dies. Continue reading The Body-politic and Death of the Farmer: R Umamaheshwari