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Those Who Did Not Die

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Even as they produce food for society and its people, lives dependent on agriculture are barely able to make ends meet. The cost of food production far outweighs the returns; the peasantry is falling prey to indebtedness, both institutionalized and non- institutionalized. It is facing the severest of challenges, with even dalit landless labourers becoming victims of indebtedness and succumbing to suicide, Based on a study done in eight districts of the Malwa region of the Punjab, this book uses quantitative data along with field work, narratives and interviews with peasant unions. Over136 families have been interviewed where women as wives and mothers of the deceased speak of the aftermath of the suicide. The book outlines the distress borne by the family, including women, the children and the elderly in the aftermath of peasant suicides. By doing so, it interrogates the split between public and private; production and social reproduction; work and family. It highlights the determining character of capitalist-intensive agriculture in today's crisis times by focusing on women's reality and renewed hardships in a caste, class and patriarchal society.
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Table of Contents

Foreword - Uma Chakravarthy Introduction An Outline of the Crisis in Punjab Dynamics of Women's Labour Dowry in Dire Times Ill-Health in an Ailing Economy Fragmentation of the Family Taking Decisions, Voicing Expectations In Lieu of a Conclusion References Index

About the Author

Ranjana Padhi has been active with the autonomous women's movement since the mid-eighties. She belongs to Orissa and is based in Delhi since her college days. Ranjana has been part of autonomous,non-funded collectives like Saheli, Workers' Solidarity and Kashipur Solidarity. She has also been an active part of many joint coalitions and campaigns around issues of state repression; democratic rights and civil liberties; workers' rights; sexuality; slum demolitions; forcible evictions caused by corporate land acquisition; and communal violence. For her living, Ranjana has been an editor and language trainer.


The book is an important addition to the ever-increasing body of work addressing women's issue in holistic manner. -- The Book Review, July 2016 Padhi's text provides significant details and perspectives to underscore how a fast-capitalising agrarian economy interacts with the structures of caste, patriarchy and gendered inequalities to produce sorrows that are long, deep and devastating...The crux of the study is the account of how women and children suffer and cope in the aftermath of suicides by male heads of households. -- Indian Journal of Gender studies, 21 January 2014 [This book] is a cogent and accessible volume...chapterization of book and sequencing of articles is very apt...[it has] powerful documenting of women's lives and incredible archival value for history...this book will be invaluable for students, researchers and journalists interested in probing the genesis of the peasant misery in Punjab and other similar states. -- Journal of Rural Development, Vol 32, July- September 2013 A quiet and disturbing book, Those Who Did Not Die by Ranjana Padhi foregrounds the slow and gradual destruction of a life-world, agrarian Punjab, in all its tragic detail. Sustained by a spirit of deep empathy, it captures the hopeless yet poignant dignity of those who have to reckon with and live beyond their loved one's suicide. -- Biblio A multi-layered and nuanced view of the lives of women who have had to deal with a different and specific aspect of the agrarian crisis in Punjab.... The book brings out very succinctly a host of issues...that need to be further researched and debated to evolve a development strategy that will help build an equitable and just society. -- Review of Agrarian Studies A poignant tale of survival...the book is a detailed study of women who have to negotiate patriarchy and are actively involved in the process of eye-opener; the book fills the vacuum that exists in charting the life of the survivors of suicide. -- The Tribune, 14 April 2013

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