This is the darkest period of our life

Marathwada, May 7: In the already distressed regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada, another tragedy has gone all but unnoticed: suicides by the children of debt-ridden farmers

What would Vishal do today, if he were alive? Perhaps the teenager would fly kites, or play with his friends. Maybe he’d work with his father on the family’s two-acre field or pick up an odd job for a daily wage as he occasionally did. He wanted new clothes, his parents remember. That’s all he had asked for.

But Vishal Khule died last November, just 10 days after Diwali, by consuming a bottle of weedicide that his father had bought a few days earlier to spray on their crops. He was wearing a wrinkled white shirt and blue pants that day, the police report says. Vishal was not yet 16 years old.