Friday, January 22, 2016

The repugnant suicide

There have been times in my life when I have faced disappointments and despair. When my faith in God, humanity, government, system, or even my own self had been put to test. When I also felt that staying is impossible and moving on is agonizing. And yet, I moved on. Yes, hanging myself to death never came as an option.

Some serious contemplation did result in me running away, giving up, and there were metaphorical warnings of killing myself. But actually giving a serious thought to ending my life was not there. I sometimes wonder what kept me going and what keeps millions in this world going at the face of miseries that sometimes make a few falter.

Suicide is illegal and yet people who commit it are celebrated — not with the festivity of course — but with the melancholy of remorse and shame. The reasons are deeply analysed and often the cowardice of the dead is covered by the extremity of externalities that compel the dead to be dead. When killing others is condemned at every instance, why killing self is not scorned equally?

What is it about suicide that earns it sympathy? Are we using our deaths to hide the collective-shame of our failure as a community, generation or nation?

An year back, a rape-accused reportedly hung himself in his prison cell. The world took it as a penitence of a guilty heart. He was vindicated. On one hand, we call suicide an act of cowardice, and on the other, we silently accept them as the greatest moment of truth in a person’s life. The letters that they leave behind and the reasons that they cite become the testimony of our reality. We read them with an occasional skip of heartbeat and some obvious grief on our faces. The words are taken as a doctrine. Nothing is questioned. Nobody ridicules the ‘last notes’. When we empathize with the reasons of suicide, we also agree with the prudence of the person committing it. We silently accept that the world is too bad a place to be, and not everyone can take that pressure.

A report published in 2013 by National Crime Records Bureau claimed that about 15 people in India commit suicide every hour. Here, suicide by farmers makes up only 3 per cent of all suicides. The rest were done by housewives, private and public employees, entrepreneurs, students, etc.

Suicide is purely a matter of psychology and that is how it needs to be dealt with. People who think about killing themselves need more of mental support and clinical help than the social drama. Mixing it with philosophy, ideology, or worst, politics, is dangerous. These elements add grandeur to an act of moral weakness. They take the life out of a suicide and fill it with collective responsibility of external elements that are as much responsible for it, as much as they are not.

Suicides are a matter of shame for a society, family, and human life. Rather than making them a heated news-room debate, we need to ignore, condemn, and admonish them. There should not be anything glorious or righteous about them. From any angle killing oneself should not appear as an option to get oneself noticed, heard, or understood.

Killing the self is worse than killing others. And the living must know that when they slit their wrist or jump off the roof, they do not leave behind just a corpse, but an entire baggage of their own weaknesses which is afterwards carried by the ones who once-upon-a-time loved them the most.