PROJECTS: I'LL DIE FOR YOU: MEN LONG GONE
Hindu scriptures say a person who commits suicide becomes part of the spirit world, wandering the earth until he/she would have normally died.
My paternal grandfather - Hussein - owned a plot of land in the small village of Meit El-Kholy Abduallah in Egypt's Nile Delta. It's where he spent his entire life digging, sweating, planting, nurturing and watering to make a living for his family. It's a unique and intimate bond shared by a man and his land. The two become one. My father tells me stories about Baba Hussein - so many and always rich in detail they have instilled in me an obsessive desire to want to know this man whom I never met. I am looking for fragments of him in the farmers I photograph.
Over the past 20 years, nearly 300,000 farmers have committed suicide in India. Many had borrowed money through government lending schemes or private lenders to plant more efficient crops, but could not pay off their debts. Because of the extremely fast transition India has undergone — from a rural to an industrial, urban economy with an open market — farmers have been confronted by immense social and economic problems.
I wonder what my grandfather would have done?