The Iowa International Center is sponsoring a showing of Harvest of Grief, a film highlighting the plight of Indian farmers driven to suicide by globalization Thursday, September 1st in the sanctuary of Covenant Christian Church, 2700 72nd St., Urbandale at 7 p.m.  It is free and open to the public.

The hour-long documentary examines a wave of suicides among farmers, mostly in the Punjab region of India.  Once considered the country’s prosperous breadbasket, the region has seen, by some accounts, as many as 40,000 suicides over the past 20 years. 

 The film puts a human face on the abstraction of globalization.  Widows tell heart-wrenching stories, sharing what has happened as large-scale farming practices introduced by multinational corporations have driven many small farmers into debt and desperation.  As a result of the farming community’s patriarchal structure, women are ill-equipped to cope withthe abrupt and violent loss of the male beadwinners.  Often farms are confiscated becasue of the women’s inability to repay high-interest lenders.  Widows are harassed by money lenders.  Children suffer by being forced to leave school and work at early ages.  Besides presenting their often-bleak stories, the film also includes discussions of specific changes that would improve the lot of these struggling women.

The film, compiled in 2010, was produced by Rasil Basu.  Rasil, age 86, lives in New Delhi and New York. Rasil will be present to answer question and discuss specific changes that would improve the lot of these struggling women, and Ekatra, her nongovernmantal orginaztion which works on projects for the advancement of women.

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