I'll Die For You: Exploring the Intimate Bond Between Man & Land
Hindu scriptures say a person who commits suicide becomes part of the spirit world, wandering the earth until he/she would have normally died.
Over the past fifteen years, more than 250,000 farmers have committed suicide in India. Many had borrowed money through government lending schemes or private lenders to plant more efficient crops, but could not pay off their debts. Because of the extremely fast transition India has undergone “from a rural to an industrial, urban economy with an open market‚” farmers have been confronted by immense social and economic problems.
The work explores the epidemic of farmer suicides using still photography, video and archival documents. The project takes as its focus the peculiar bond between man and land, a relationship unique to farmers given their reliance on the land for livelihood and the equal reliance of agricultural land on farmers for survival. It is a relationship based on trust and nurturing, and goes far beyond the customary attachment one has with his/her source of livelihood. I choose to reflect this relationship symbolically, in close up pictures from farmer's skin juxtaposed against details from the landscape, photographed in a way that attempts to blur the line between the two, to show that in this environment, the land and its inhabitants are one and the same: When one dies, so does the other.
The series also features pictures of the men who died and portraits of the women they left behind: widows, mothers and daughters.