Vijay is a Gurgaon-based writer, photographer and filmmaker. He studied filmmaking at New York University. He has produced five books and his projects have received over seventy honors in 24 countries which include 17 best film/director awards. His films have been broadcast in over 200 countries on 75 channels including BBC, CNN and Discovery. Two of his books and three of his films have been selected for archiving in the U.S. Library of Congress. Parallel to paid work, he has produced over 30 films on pro bono basis, and has helped raise over Rs. 1.6 crores for various grassroots organizations.
Since 1995, India’s agrarian crisis has claimed over 300,000 lives by way of farmer suicides. The survivors, predominantly widows, are both victims and the first witnesses in this on-going tragedy. This photography project is produced in collaboration with a few such witnesses. It puts faces to some of the grim facts with the intent of humanizing this on-going tragedy rather than keep it distant and abstract; especially in cities where all policies affecting farmers get framed. The large-sized presentation makes the people and the issue loom over the viewer. The image scale also subverts visual culture in India where such large hoardings are a monopoly of the famous and the powerful. Accompanying almost every image here are names and relationship of the living with the departed, the size and location of their farmland, the quantum of unpaid loan on the day that farmer chose to end his life – details that restore some immediacy, individuality and a measure of dignity to the people appearing in the photo frame. In doing so, this project seeks to contribute towards ensuring that eventually no farmer is left without means or dignity. In that sense this project is driven by hope rather than despair.