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An Extreme Step

SUICIDE – a permanent solution to a temporary problem. This new phenomenon has been on rise world over to resort to end your life when faced with a problem that appears indeterminable or when failed in one’s objective. This peculiar behaviour, observed commonly these days, will make one to contemplate – Is it really the only way to free oneself from troubles?

At present in India, suicides have become a common phenomenon and as per the statistics there are nearly as many suicides happening as are natural deaths. It is actually surprising to everyone that along with the advancement of the society, there is more prosperity, wealth, comfort, and also, very sadly a rise in number of cases of suicides too.

The reasons given are manifold for such an undesired change in society, to talk in political terms, firstly state’s failure to bring in an “all-inclusive” growth. It is argued that rich-poor divide has been ever widening after independence and this has resulted in impoverished conditions of large section of society, blame goes straight to the economic policies and schemes adopted by the erstwhile national leaders. This argument is a narrow approach, which only explains about the ‘POVERTY’ in India and gives only a vague reason for rise in suicides, also it fails miserably to explain the large number of suicides reported from middle class, students, women who are by and large the benefactors of the modern economic policies and globalisation.

Another perspective has been presented by Psychologists, who have argued that this “resorting to extreme step” is a psychological and psycho-social behaviour, which can be addressed only by trying to bring a change in social behaviour.

In a way Psychologists’ perspective seems more relevant than that of political but it will be a blunder to say society will be able to deal with it all by itself without the support of administration. As it is true that “administration is an instrument of social change”, hence administration can play a pivotal role in eradicating this social and psychological evil.

First and foremost is the issue of rise in number of farmer suicides, which is not only a political concern but also a humanitarian problem. In India, agriculture is considered as a GAMBLE on monsoon, as even today 60% of the agriculture land remains un-irrigated while total irrigation potential remains largely underutilised, owing to several political, economic and administrative reasons. Apart from this, the local moneylenders are to be blamed who provide loans to farmers at staggering interest rates of 24%-36%, pushing farmers into debt trap when one crop failure occurs. Hence, state can play a pivotal role here to bring economic stability in farmers’ community and provide social security to them.

After farmers, the next major problem is witnessed in case of student suicides. This is more pronouncing because here there is no specific cause identified that needs to be addressed. Most commonly blamed is the lack of emotional bonding and changing framework of family institutions that is taking a toll on young minds. With rise of globalisation, the society has moved from joint family to nuclear family and the relationships have become very fragile. In case of working partners it becomes even tougher for the child to find an emotional security and he/she may breakdown easily.

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What makes the issue of student suicides gravest is the most silly reasons for which they resort to such extreme step, like – parents not allowing to use social networking sites, siblings not allowing to watch IPL, father became angry after child failed in exam etc.

Yet another culprit is the kind of educational system being promoted, which is being too much of competitive environment to students and the importance has been moving from gaining knowledge through education to scoring and getting better RANKS. Such an approach is not only dangerous for qualitative education system but it also puts the students in conditions of high stress and strain.

Along with children the case of suicides is also on rise among adults, especially women and the reason is once again related to the changing social structure and neo life styles. In globalised world not only life has become fast but the relationships in FAST generation have become impermanent. There is a noticeable rise in case of divorce, living partnership, extra-marital affairs etc., in society. Our society has not yet shed its traditional characteristics and is suffering between sanskritisation and westernization to achieve modernisation. In this regard, the people are facing severe lack of trust & emotional security and becoming a prey to alcoholism, smoking, and drug addiction and in some extreme cases – Suicide.

The role of movies and media is quite significant in this regard. Movies have been negatively propagating this ideology of suicide as last resort or in some movies, only resort in case of failures in life especially in case of love failure. And media is also going by SENSATIONALISM doctrine, making news out of every case of suicide and influencing society negatively, and projecting suicide as a common and general option.

How to comprehensively address this psychological epidemic is a million dollar question that needs billion dollar answer. Handling the issue legally has not been so successful. Suicide has been illegal in India from long but it hardly seems to work as after committing suicide there is no way to punish. In this regard, Supreme Court judgement in 1992 is significant in which Supreme Court stated that according to Article 21 of constitution “Right to Life” is a fundamental right which is right to ‘Graceful’ life and not ‘Forceful’ life. Hence, a person attempting suicide is already under severe trauma and it is not proper to punish him/her. This judgement has changed the legal view of suicides.

So, apart from administrative measures like addressing the economic problems of poor and marginalised section and trying for an ‘inclusive’ growth, the part of society, media and movies is most instrumental in bringing awareness among the people that LIFE is a gift of God and ending it abruptly is a crime not only upon themselves but also on all their near and dear ones.

Let there be hope.

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