The love for life
BY: FEROZ AHMAD DAR
Why do people commit suicide? This is a basic question that we all have to face at some point in life. Someone among our family members, loved ones, acquaintances or friends inevitably attempt suicide and while some survive others lose the gift of life. Every suicidal person leaves behind a basic question- what are the deep reasons for taking such an extreme step and what is the role of the society in such circumstances? We need to be aware of the responsibilities as a society and see if we can find out the causes for suicides and the growing trend of it.
While a great number among those who attempt suicide are confronted by issues of tremendous magnitude, there are also those who have access to all aspects of life and see, apparently, no or lesser hardships and sufferings. This indicates that besides the well established reasons for suicides, there are reasons that need to be understood and unearthed.
Most suicides are believed to be based on speculation that a person had some kind of trouble, some kind of anxiety or some other serious problem which leads to ‘suicide attempt’, although most researchers have refuted such assumptions. At present, eight to ten lakh people commit suicide in the world every year which means we have a suicide in every 40 seconds.
The rising trend of suicide in the Kashmir Valley is also becoming a serious problem. Young people are embracing death, leaving behind the priceless blessings of life. While every human being is overwhelmed with grief upon hearing the news of suicide, there are however little attempts, socio-economic as well as psychological profiling researches employed to understand and bring to the fore the extraordinary reasons that lead a person to take this extreme step. No doubt that a sense of anger and annoyance can be seen among the masses for this phenomenon and sometimes people even go on to use abusive language against those who have ended life, but the need for sympathy, empathy as well as an introspection as a society is what is required to understand as well as work for ending this tedious tragedy.
Suicides are gender neutral and age neutral as well and every day we hear the news of suicides in one or the other part of the valley and it is disheartening to come across such news. The tragedy is that such incidents, apart from a numerical statistic, seem evoking our responses in a rather cold manner and we aren’t ready to go an extra mile to see and examine the cases in order to design our response to this growing trend. Here, it is important to understand that our academia, our health experts, psychologists and others who can come in and start decoding this tragic trend, must initiate a well defined programme in this matter so that people are sensitised regarding this and some lives are saved.
Although many young people are saved after they attempt suicides, there have, however, been growing cases of suicides from all parts of the valley and the number is already enough to shake the society down to its roots. According to a report, 135,000 people commit suicide in the country every year and India has the highest number of youth suicides. The incidence of suicides in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the Kashmir Valley, was negligible till very recently, the trend has now been on the rise in recent years.
In Islam, ending one’s own life is considered as a serious crime, a grave sin and a cause for the wrath and punishment by the Almighty. It is explicitly forbidden and condemned in the Qur’an and Hadith, because only Almighty is the Possessor of life and death. But when a person is completely overwhelmed by several reasons of stress, anxiety and helplessness there comes a time in life when one feels that there is no choice but to embrace death.
It would not be wrong to say that the biggest and most important reasons for suicides is social problems and psychological factors that are either not attended to or seen as unimportant for redressal. Increasing family quarrels in society (quarrels between children, parents, spouses, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, brother-in-law) Violation of the rights of the people, hatred in the society, unrest, oppression and violence, murder and death, rising incidence of riots, injustice in governments and institutions, dowry and unreasonable demands, unhappy marriages, educational pressures, undue love and harshness of parents, economic hardships, separations, late marriages, drug addiction, social disconnect etc are some of the known reason for suicides besides several other reasons that need to be understood.
There are complex issues in the society that are causing mental stress and because of these problems, sometimes the world, which is adorned with deserts and beautiful landscapes, also looks dark. People become intolerant and consider taking their own lives as a means of salvation. That is why, according to sociologists, domestic disputes are the biggest cause of suicides world over. Economic problems are also responsible for the cause of suicidal tendencies and what a tragedy that there is a large number of people who die due to hunger while as those who might have their plates full commit suicide for their patience is full and they prematurely invite their own death. Unemployment, crop failures, business bankruptcies and job losses are economic problems that are leading to suicide as well. In India, where poverty and rising unemployment are rampant, crop failures and farmer suicides are a matter of concern, forcing every section of society to think and ponder over it.
Psychological problems are also a major cause of suicide. The faster the world progresses, the more people suffer from psychological problems. Depression, anxiety, stress are some of the psychological problems and despite the new inventions for mental and psychological entertainment, the trend is increasing day by day. The extraordinary competitive world introduces us to the new complexities which sometimes become so tremendous that the idea of suicide becomes the only viable solution.
According to Islam, man’s own body and life are not his personal property but the trust given by God Almighty. Life is such a great blessing of Allah Almighty that it is the basis for all other blessings. That is why Islam commands the protection of body and soul and obliges all members of society to protect life in any way. Islam has also given teachings based on overcoming these causes and obstacles. That is why Islam forbids suicide and does not allow any human being to take his/her own life.
Islamic teachings stress that those who are in pain and distress be treated well and heard well and a solution be arrived at. Parents, children, family members, relatives, friends should fulfil their responsibilities and provide comfort to each other and be very sensitive not to be the cause for someone’s distress.
As a society and as a civilised community, we need to have enough structures and support systems that are active and vibrant and those who are in any sort of stress have access to these structures. We need to hear out the voices of distress and discomfort and come forward to tackle this issue. Our health structures also need to work out proper plans to address this growing tragic trend. More and more awareness needs to be created in this regard and we must also introspect as a society and curb the diseased and rotting trends that have plagued us from within.
The writer is a Research scholar. Email: [email protected]