I want to DIE
Kashmir supersedes Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in the suicide rate.
SUICIDE BY INAM UL REHMAN
The teenager was looking frantically for a thing that, he thought, will solve his problems. In a jiffy he got hold of the can, lifted it, and put the whole kerosene on his body. He set himself ablaze. His parents, and a brother tried to douse the flames, but only received burns in the attempt. The teenager was consumed by the flames. The father refused to report the suicide for the fear of stigma. It is one of the tens of other cases of suicide that never get reported, not even talked later in Kashmir.
Kashmir is a predominately Muslim State. It is considered a conservative society. Yet the suicide deaths in the past couple of years have risen up, raising uncomfortable questions.
According to the survey of National Crime Bureau Records of India, on an average 12 lakh Indians commit suicides. Among the 35 states and union territories, Kashmir ranks 30th, higher than Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. On an average in the Valley, one person per day commits suicide. As per NCBR survey of 2009, 2.5 Kashmiris per lakh commit suicide annually. Records reveal that in 2008 there were 188 reported suicide deaths and this figure increased in the next year to 239 and in this year upto the September 07, 47 people died in suicides among the reported 90 attempts. The police doesn’t have the record for 2010. And in Kashmir those who commit suicide their relatives largely don’t report the death due to the fear of social stigma, police believe.
Surprisingly no detailed research has been conducted who the victims are; what is their background, their education, their income, their marital status, even their gender is not known. What is in the police records is just numbers. No details. The increase in number of suicides in Kashmir should have normally arrested the attention of many surveys, and investigations of sociologists and psychologists should have gone into it; sadly it has not.
It is no surprise then that the suicide deaths in police reports, hospital registers and research papers are at variance. While the sociologist Prof B A Dabla puts the figure of reported and unreported suicides at 202 per year for the past three years, SMHS hospital records reveal that since the start of this year up to September 02, 615 people have committed suicides out of which 315 are female. SKIMS records reveal that 248 suicidal deaths in 2010 while in this year so far 160 have taken their lives. In order to save themselves from the blushes the family members force hospital authorities to show them as the cases of “accidental poisoning”. Shams-ul-Nisa, who is perhaps the only person who has submitted her PhD thesis on this topic, says that the number of deaths is more. “My study, covering 2001 to 2009, reveals that 10,000 cases of attempt to suicide, both official and unofficial, have taken place.” Nisa puts the death in such attempts to around 5000. Nisa has extensively collected date from the district hospitals, various police stations and from press reports. She has even traveled to various parts of Kashmir and talked to families where suicide deaths have taken place.
According to WHO the suicide rate in Muslims countries is very low. Compared to Muslim countries the rate of suicides in Kashmir is very high. The Gallup survey also shows the same. In 2008 they came out with the rate of suicides across 67 countries of the world and concluded, “Countries that are more religious tend to have lower suicide rates”. Among the Muslim countries, Uzbekistan has the highest number. The Gallup survey, conducted in 2005 and 2006, and released in July 2008, says 5.5 persons per lakh committed suicide and they blame it on the lack of religiosity of Uzbeks. Bilal A Bhat, who specialised in Uzbekistan affairs, blames ‘Russiafication’ for it. “If they (Gallup) now conduct the survey the rate will be much down. There is increase in the religiosity in Uzbekistan. People are getting more attracted toward Islamic teachings,” he underlines.
Islam prohibits suicide yet the religious preachers have avoided this subject that is consuming the lives of many youth every year. Prof Dabla blames ‘illiterate’ preachers for that. “Look Islam is the religion of literates,” says he. “Unfortunately majority of our preachers are way below the standards prescribed by their religion. They have little knowledge of Islamic teachings and they continue to preach traditions mixing culture with religion,” adds Prof Dabla. Research scholar Nisa says the teachings of Islam can be a great help here; “there are many ways in which Islam helps to deal with depression”.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 19 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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