MoJo Author Feeds: Michael Francis McElroy | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Alone: India's Farmer Widows <img src="" alt="" title="" width="635" height="424" class="imagecache imagecache-node-gallery-display"/><div class="caption"><p>Manuala Betwa, 36 years old, from the village of Pandharkawada</p></div><p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/slideshows/2011/08/india-water-crisis-suicide-women"><strong><em>See all photos from this photo essay &raquo;</em></strong></a></p><div class="photoessay-body"><p>Over the past decade, India has been gripped by a devastating water crisis. Farmers make up an estimated <a href="" target="_blank">70 percent</a> of the country's population, and for them the consequences of the drought have been dire: Overwhelmed by chronic lack of water, failed crops, and growing debts, more than <a href="" target="_blank">200,000 farmers</a> have committed suicide since 1997.</p> <p>Their families often find them either hung or <a href="" target="_blank">poisoned by pesticides</a> they've chosen to ingest. The widows left behind struggle to support their children, working as landless laborers for as low as 100 rupees ($2) a day and battling creditors that come to collect money they claim to have lent their husbands. This slideshow features portraits of widows from Maharashtra, one of the three <a href="" target="_blank">most suicide-ridden states</a> in the nation. They represent only a fraction of the hundreds of thousands left behind.</p> </div> Photoessays Food and Ag International Sex and Gender Top Stories Tue, 29 Nov 2011 11:00:00 +0000 Photos by Michael Francis McElroy/Text by Noella May Hebert 130167 at