Laura El-Tantawy - I'll Die For You
“I'll Die For You” is about farmer suicides in India’s rural communities. It’s not intended as a literal story about the causes & impacts of these suicides. It's a series of portraits focusing on emotional loss seen through the women they left behind & will show the strong bond between man and land, illustrated through details of the landscape juxtaposed against details of farmer’s bodies to show in this environment man & land are eventually indistinguishable – if one dies, the other is sure to follow.
Over the last decade, more than 200,000 farmers have commit suicide in India, where more than 52 percent of the labor force is in the agricultural sector. This is attributed to globalization, which has opened the market to foreign produce being sold cheaper than Indian-grown ones as well as unpredictable weather patterns ascribed to global warming, where too much or too little rain have made for a deadly harvest.
Attempting to make ends meet, farmers in this expanding economy are pushed into debt after seeking loans from government lending schemes or private moneylenders. Loan money, usually charged at more than 30 percent interest, is used to install irrigation networks, buy fertilizers, seeds, pesticide & hire labor to boost crop output. But persistent failing crops & diminishing prices have created a massive financial burden where farmers are unable to pay-off the loans, leaving them with nothing short of an economic calamity.
At a population of nearly 1.2 billion, India is the world’s 2nd largest economy. Despite the alarming pattern of farmer suicides, the government has so far failed to establish a dedicated program to help them. While this project is in its infancy, my goal’s to bring international attention to the plight of India’s farmers & force the government to make a serious commitment to help them. I also hope to attach a face to global warming, a contested scientific phenomenon, by showing it is a reality that has already had deadly consequences.