Alone: India’s Farmer Widows

India’s ongoing water crisis has driven 200,000 farmers to suicide. As water dwindles, that number grows, and farmer widows are left to pick up the pieces.


Over the past decade, India has been gripped by a devastating water crisis. Farmers make up an estimated 70 percent of the country’s population, and for them the consequences of the drought have been dire: Overwhelmed by chronic lack of water, failed crops, and growing debts, more than 200,000 farmers have committed suicide since 1997.

Their families often find them either hung or poisoned by pesticides they’ve chosen to ingest. The widows left behind struggle to support their children, working as landless laborers for as low as 100 rupees ($2) a day and battling creditors that come to collect money they claim to have lent their husbands. This slideshow features portraits of widows from Maharashtra, one of the three most suicide-ridden states in the nation. They represent only a fraction of the hundreds of thousands left behind.

Manuala Betwa, 36 years old, from the village of Pandharkawada
 

Parvata Bai Kormete, 43 years old, from the village of Bagda
 

Baishali Nikeshn, 32 years old, from the village of Sonbardi
 

Baby Loor, 52 years old, from the village of Bhonsi
 

Dhurata Atram, 52 years old, from the village of Nimin
 

Rama Thamkea, 38 years old, from the village of Sonbardi
 

Naji Rathor, 62 years old, from the village of Kosara
 

Ratna Mala, 32 years old, from the village of Mangi
 

Suman Satghare, 56 years old, from the village of Kaota
 

Biabai Lengoure, 65 years old, from the village of Sai Khera

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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