Sons of the Spiritual Soil

People

Sons of the Spiritual Soil

Illustration: Namaah/Arré

T

he story is a heartbreakingly familiar one. Every year, drought-ridden farmers from across different Indian states queue up to collect government handouts – pegged close to ₹6,800 per hectare. It is woefully inadequate in the face of colossal losses they have incurred due to the vagaries of the rain Gods, but there is no choice. In Karnataka too, the narrative is no different – last year, the state faced its worst drought since 1972, with 107 farmers committing suicide in 2015.

But in a northeastern corner of the state, in the parched Jagerekal village, as others lined up for the handout, Siddalingappa Patil stayed away. He didn’t qualify for the handout because he had reported an above-average crop of cotton.

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