Faith in the beauty of our dreams must not be shaken

The evening had been rainy and the downpour had soaked us all deeply. As this was happening, my friend’s literary and vivacious wife started saying, “How hypocritical are people here to call suicide an act of cowardice?” How can people who bear the pain caused by their own actions be called cowards? It takes a lot of courage to do that.”

His remark reminded me of the most recent report from the National Crime Record Bureau. The number of suicides in India increased by 7.2% in the most recent year, 2021. During this period, more than 164,000 suicide cases were reported. The number of suicides has increased since 1967.

Were people who committed suicide brave?

A careful examination of the data demonstrates that this argument has no basis. It is true that every human being has a propensity for self-harm.

According to the data, the number of men forced to end their lives due to financial difficulties has seen an unprecedented increase. Day laborers make up the majority of this group. This category accounted for more than a quarter of all suicides.

Not only that, this trend has taken root among people who want to achieve financial wealth through self-employment. This category accounts for a staggering 12.3% of the total number of cases. Domestic violence and discord have also become one of the main causes of suicide. Does the concept of nuclear family destroy marriages?

Many sociologists agree that India has done a great job of eradicating poverty since 1991, but along with it there has also been a significant rise in aspirations. With the agricultural system unable to feed the large population of our villages, people have been forced to migrate to cities and metropolises for jobs at an alarming rate.

This continuous cycle upsets the “value system” of a large part of the population. It is also a major cause of the increase in depression. In mid-2020, a survey conducted by health platform GOQII using advanced smart technology revealed that 43% of Indians suffer from depression due to various reasons.

Doesn’t this number surprise you?

Not surprisingly, people in wealthier areas have a higher suicide rate. Four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru – alone accounted for 35% of all suicides in the country’s 53 major cities.

A large number of people have migrated and live in these metropolises and their suburbs. It should also be noted that despite a drop in the number of suicides this year, Delhi has remained in the lead.

The people of Delhi, if they wish, can learn from this fact.

Is this something that only happens in India? No, the situation is even worse in other countries. According to the most recent global statistics, the number of suicides has increased even in rich countries like Belgium, Japan, China, Sweden, South Korea and Russia. Although Sweden ranks seventh in the Happiness Index, there are many suicides there. One of the reasons for this is the legal right to euthanasia for patients with incurable diseases.

You might be surprised to learn that people in war-torn countries such as South Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Nigeria and Iraq are proving to be more resilient. They are in a better position than countries considered to be more developed and peaceful. Afghanistan ranks 146th on the Happiness Index, but there have been very few suicides there. Although the terrorist groups there, on the other hand, believe in forming youth suicide squads.

This question may arise in your mind: If much of the earth tends to destroy its own life, why don’t governments devise measures to prevent it? According to a report by the World Health Organization, only 38 countries have measures in place to combat this disorder.

One more thing. The clouds of recession are once again gathering in the United States. As a result, sociologists began to worry about a new threat of suicide cases on this continent. As was the case after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008. As a result, distrust of the economy was widespread. Its negative impact was felt all over the world. According to one study, more than 10,000 people in Europe and North America committed suicide during this period due to economic deprivation.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” said Eleanor Roosevelt, who was once the first lady of the United States. We must prevent our faith in the beauty of our dreams from being shaken. It’s the only way to save us all.

Shashi Shekhar is Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan. Views are personal.

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