By Zeenat Manzoor
Matt Haig once aptly said ‘it is very hard to explain to people who have never known serious depression or anxiety, the sheer continuous intensity of it. There is no off switch.’ This quote of Haig perhaps best summarizes the sorry state of affairs in Kashmir today. The recent rise of suicide cases in Kashmir is the most worrying phenomenon. Although suicide is not a new form of consuming one’s life it has been there since old age practices in every society from the western world to the globalized south. But due to the changing nature of societies all over the globe, there is a greater increase in suicide rates and Kashmir is no exception. The recent shocking suicide cases must be an eye-opener for our people, whereas the society we are heading towards?. And in this regard let me summarize recent examples of suicides deaths here! The Aharbal spot is known for its magnificent and breathtaking waterfall and nearby mountainous scenic beauty. Nevertheless, what is heart-wrenching poured is that a youth committed suicide by jumping into Aharbal waterfall in Kulgam district and ends his life. Like other social media users, this tragic news is haunting me persistently.
Similar cases are reported each day from every corner of the valley. In such a sorry state of affairs, I started raising questions to myself like what must be his state of mind at that time. Why young guys are committing suicide with the tragic end of their lives? Does not it need the courage to do so? Though almighty has said life is the most precious entity that one has but still these young buds are ready to prefer death to life. Irony! Youth suicides are rising across Kashmir every day, and these deaths became the newspaper headlines and social media debate. It is quite depressing to watch and read the tragic loss of one’s life story. As Kashmir was/is already going through political turmoil, the COVID19 lockdown only added fuel to the fire here. The pandemic has disturbed mental health all over the world and poor Kashmiris became the soft target of this disease. The fact of the matter is that due to socio-economic and political conditions there is complete hopelessness among the youngsters. The rising corruption, favoritism, provincialism, and day-to-day interference of the political bosses are adding to occupational problems. Under these circumstances, it is no surprise to find cases of mental illness among frustrated people especially youngsters. It can be comprehended by this case, a son of a government teacher in the southern part of the valley committed suicide due to financial difficulties and not release of salary to his father. Thus, state in one or the other way is also involved in rising cases of suicide cases. Similarly, the bloodshed of the youngsters is also a big reason for mental illness. Likewise, the losses in business due to natural disasters are also responsible for the hopelessness and rising number of suicides in Kashmir.
For the past few years, Kashmir is facing the worst political turmoil. The people are living in a sad world where there is too much toxicity around us and in such an environment; excess of everything can become the reason for mental illness. Though the world is beautiful and colorful, however, the recent trends in suicides it has all hoax it. And there are only shades of suffering, struggle, pain, agony, and miseries all over. Today social media has turned hoax. The lack of good friends, disturbance at home or offices, breakup in a serious relationship, and failure in exams are common threads on social media. The people (though not all but a few) are always making fun of depressed people who need our help, they need someone to understand them and their problems, and similarly, we need to stop bullying depressed people. People are now giving it a name—trend, the fact is calling it a trend is not good, and making fun of suicide is disgusting and most disturbing too. Does it mean we as a society have failed to deliver our duties and responsibilities? Perhaps it is here parents and teachers have a great role to play to pull their loved ones out of depression and stress. Similarly, it is also the responsibility of the state to play a role in lessening the burden from unprivileged people through welfare schemes. At the end of the day we must remember that suicide is forbidden in every religion, In Hinduism, ‘suicide is spiritually unacceptable. Generally, taking our own life is considered a violation of the code of ahimsa and therefore equally sinful as with murdering another.’ Likewise, Islam says, ‘the person who commits suicide will be doomed and must continually repeat in Hell the action by which he killed himself. Sikhism too has high respect for life, which they see as a gift from God. Thus, clergymen must guide the youngsters for a better tomorrow and inculcate a better value system in society. The Sooner the better it is. As Maya Angelou writes, ‘I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.’ So let us live life in a hope of better tomorrow…!
Zeenat Manzoor can be reached at [email protected]