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Khargon, 1908

Head-quarters of the Nimar district, Indore State, Cen- tral India, situated in 21 degree 50' N. and 75 degree 37' E., on the left bank of the Kundi river, a tributary of the Narbada. Population (1901), 7,624. Khargon appears to have been founded under the Mughals. It was the chief town of a mahal in the Bijagarh sarkar of the Subah of Malwa, and later on became the chief town of the sarkar. Its importance in those days is shown by the remains of large houses and numerous tombs. Besides the district and pargana offices, a jail, a school, a dis- pensary, a public library, and a State post office are situated in the town. Local affairs are managed by a municipality, with an income of Rs. 500, chiefly derived from octroi and other taxes.

This article has been extracted from



Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts. Some units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.

Spurt in suicides

The Times of India, May 06 2016

At least 1 person from each of the 320 families in Badi has ended life  

In a bizarre combination of financial distress, superstition and clinical depression, Khargone, officially one of the country's 250 most backward districts, has reported 381suicides in 2015-16.

Of these unnatural deaths, Badi village in the district, with a population of around 2,500, has reported more than 350 suicides in the last two decades. “In the first three months of this year, 80 Badi villagers have killed themselves,“ said Khargone SP Amit Singh. Every household in the village of Badi (Mad hya Pradesh) has had a suicide. “There are 320 families in our village and at least one person from each has killed himself or herself,“ said Sisodiya.

The sarpanch attributes the deaths to a “demonic presence“ in the village, but psychiatrists this correspondent spoke to pointed at rational causes behind the high rate of suicide.

Indore-based psychiatrist Dr Srikanth Reddy said the suicides are related to depression and schizophrenic episodes among villagers, possibly due to excessive use of pesticides, apart from financial stress.

“Depression isn't something people here are easily able to relate to or identify .When they are unable to find any reason, they associate it with locally explainable phe nomenon like demonic presence,“ said Dr Reddy , adding that the issue needs urgent notice of authorities.

“Apart from financial distress, there could be other causes for this depression. In a study some years ago in China, where a large number of farmers in a particular area were committing suicide, it was found that insecticides used there contained organophosphate, which is highly toxic and causes depressive mental conditions. Suicides in Badi and in Khargone at large, therefore, need to be probed,“ Dr Reddy told TOI.

Most Khargone villagers grow cash crops like cotton and its failure hits them hard, sending them into financial distress. Similar conditions exist in Vidarbha in Maharashtra, and Khargone is along MP-Maharashtra border.

Alarmed by these unnatural deaths, Khargone collector Ashok Verma has decided to form a committee to probe the suicides. “This is a very grave situation and we need to act fast. The villagers lack confidence and motivation and it's very important to counsel them,“ Verma said.

A few Badi residents give hope. Groups of women counsel their men and their activism has led to a ban on sale of liquor in the village. “But even if liquor is prohibited in Badi, our men go to adjoining villages to get drunk,“ said Sunita Singh, a Badi resident.

Jitendra Kushwaha, a police chowki in-charge, said, “Even when these villagers get hurt, they go to quacks instead of hospitals. Many suicides were psychologically ill.They were not taken to doctors for fear of social stigma.“

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