- Dhanraj Shinde has a 15 lakh debt, crop failed for third successive year
- Delay in paperwork for daughter's job nearly pushed him over the edge
- Mr Shinde says he needs just one good rainfall to begin repaying his loans
LATUR: Two days ago, the burden of debts was about to push 45-year-old Dhanraj Shinde over the edge. It was his 14-year-old son who saved him.
Noticing his father walking briskly towards his field, without his phone or his usual bag of tools, Prithviraj stopped. “I saw him bundling a rope and I tried to calm him down, telling him we would be left with no one to take care of us if he killed himself,” recalled the teenager, adding, “He was under immense stress.”
The crop had failed in the farmer’s 3-acre land in Latur’s Shirur Anantpal village for three consecutive years. First, pomegranates ready for harvest were blighted by an overnight hailstorm. Then rain failed in the last two years.
Mr Shinde, a father of four daughters and a son, stayed brave as his debts mounted to Rs 15 lakh. But a local government officer’s delay in paperwork for his daughter Sonali’s job – for the post of a wireless operator – nearly broke him.
“My children have many dreams. They want to stand on their own feet. If nature doesn’t support me, I fear that I will be letting them down,” Mr Shinde said.
While in school, his daughter Archana, 26, had received the President’s medal in Sanskrit. Prithviraj, who aspires to be an IAS officer, has participated in a science Olympiad.
The other two daughters too, have remained focused on their education while others in the village dropped out of school.
Today, Mr Shinde shudders to think what would have happened if his son hadn’t stopped him.
“I thought to myself – if, after putting in all these efforts, I can’t even arrange to get the paperwork done for my daughter… my heart sank at the thought of failing,” he said, choking.
“Education is the only way forward for us,” said his daughter Sonali, 22. “There is too much uncertainty in farming and not enough returns. I want to be a Class 1 officer someday.”
Mr Shinde says he needs just one good rainfall to ensure he can start repaying his loans. But till then, it is an uphill task every day just to ensure his children stay focused on their dreams.
If you’d like to help Dhanraj Shinde, please send cheques or demand drafts in the name of:
Name: Dhanraj Baburao Shinde
Savings Bank Account Number: 11658425072
Payee Bank Name: State Bank of India
Branch: Shirur Anantpal
Bank IFSC Code: SBIN0004799
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