04 Sep 2017 03:12am IST
Shivanshu K. Srivastava
In January last year, Rohith Vemula, a research scholar in Hyderabad University sparked a furious controversy when he committed suicide for some ambiguous reasons. Unlike the majority of the cases where the suicide victims are depressed over social or mental reasons, the 26-year-old Rohith Vemula's death was initially proclaimed as an "institutional murder" by some political leaders to target the ruling party when it was alleged in the media that Rohith was a Dalit who became a victim of caste oppression at the hands of the university administration. However, recently the enquiry commission set up to probe into the case declared that Rohith was not a Dalit and there was no external pressure on him. But at the same time, it has found that Rohith was suffering from frustration, loneliness and similar intrapersonal reasons. This raises a serious question as to why students develop suicidal thoughts and what compels them to think of no option other than committing suicide.
The Oxford dictionary defines suicide as "The action of killing oneself intentionally." However, the Indian codified law is much more specific about the definition. It considers a death as suicide if it meets the three prerequisites - the death should be unnatural, there must be an intention to do so and the person should have a reason behind, whether specified in a note or unspecified. Unless all three conditions are proven to have existed in the deceased, the death is not considered as suicide.
Proper measures ought to be taken to constrain the methods used for committing suicide. With this intention, Kota, which had turned into the 'suicide hub' from the 'coaching hub', came up with an innovative plan.The tragedy of Kriti Tripathi, the girl who cleared IIT Mains but committed suicide as she did not want to be an engineer, is still limpid in people's mind. The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) declared in 2014 that fear of exams alone took at least 45 lives a year in Kota. Therefore, at the end of March 2017, hostels in Kota replaced the ordinary ceiling fans with spring-fitted fans that would automatically swing down if any student attempts to hang himself. According to World Health Organization (WHO), self-poisoning is the second most commonly used method for suicide (after hanging), constituting up to 20% of the total suicides worldwide. Many scientists around the world are of the view that ban of dangerous pesticides can effectively reduce the rate of suicides.
Increase in social detachment and disintegration is another major cause of suicides. The more secluded one finds himself in society, the more is his probability of developing suicidal tendencies. This can be checked and averted by increasing the social integration by engaging oneself in community clubs and other social gatherings. One can join a local sports team or associate himself as a part of an association that needs him and his contribution. This will help the person quench his need for affiliation, thereby boosting his confidence and creating a healthy atmosphere of belongingness with the team or group.