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“Why We Should Support Legalization Of Euthanasia In India”

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By Priyanka Arora:

The Supreme Court of India has recently opened the debate regarding giving Euthanasia a legal sanction. But in India, where people are ardent optimists, and believers in miracles, accepting euthanasia would be difficult.

Aruna Shanbaug
Aruna Shanbaug

People advocating the right to life would criticize it to the nail, trying to justify that taking away one’s life is like overreaching one’s power, similar to sinning against God, whose beautiful gift is life. But when this beautiful gift turns to be a burden, a prolonged misery, isn’t it necessary to put an end to it rather than to continue the intense pain and suffering? Euthanasia should not be confused with suicide. Euthanasia is strictly related to ending one’s physical suffering. Euthanasia, in the simplest terms, is mercy killing for those patients for whom there is no end to their pain; it’s a blessing for those who wish for a dignified death rather than prolonged suffering. Euthanasia in Greek means “good death”. It is defined as the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering.

Proxy euthanasia has been a ubiquitous practice since ages. In such cases, there is usually no scope of recovery, and the patient has nothing to do but to count his last breaths. Many a times people can’t afford to continue the treatment of terminally ill patients and dump them in the hospital, or request the doctor to take away the life support system. Isn’t it better to legalize this practice rather than to continue it behind closed doors?

Euthanasia is not a new concept with respect to Indian culture. This practice was prevalent in ancient times, and references could be found in Mahabharat, wherein Bhishma has the blessing of “iccha mrityu”. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev opines, “Death is not a sudden happening, but an inevitable end. In this culture, we always planned- prepared for a conscious exit. Four stages of life included this. Vanaprastha meant that when one feels they are done with the purpose of life, they walked away into the forest to let go of the body. One has the right to determine the course of life; one has the right to determine one’s exit. The concept of Nirvana and Samadhi, too, forms a part of it.”

Stephen Hawking has described illegalizing Euthanasia as “Discrimination against the disabled, to deny them the right to kill themselves that able bodied people have”. Euthanasia empowers people to put an end to their prolonged misery. The intense suffering that one undergoes in dying, pin by pin, could be ended in a dignified way through euthanasia, where the patient has the option to choose his own death. Dr. Philip Nitscake, who has conducted several euthanasia deaths, narrates the story of one of his southern Australian patient who, before dying, had a hearty meal and shared some intimate moments with his wife. Euthanasia gives one the power to liberate oneself with dignity.

Legalizing Euthanasia is a difficult terrain to walk in, and to prevent its abuse, strictest measures need to be taken. Legalizing euthanasia would come as blessing for people like Aruna Shanbaug, a rape survivor who has been in persistent vegetative state for the past 37 years – or should we turn a blind eye to the problem of terminally ill patients and force them into the dungeon? We can seek examples from nations like Switzerland, Albania and Belgium, where Euthanasia is already legalized.

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  1. Anitha Choudhary

    It is rightly pointed that what a person wants to with his life should be one’s right to decide.. Euthanasia would definitely be a blessing for those who are living every moment of their life even more worse than death… but the only concern around this legalization is the misuse or abuse that could actually lead to a lot of crime and take away lives that are not meant to be… It should not end up being disastrous to the society.

  2. Subhrojit

    I understand the points presented here, and I am not somebody who is against the concept of Euthanasia, but in the Indian context it could lead to immense malpractice, considering our judicial system is at times known for being infirm. You are spot on when you say, “Legalizing Euthanasia is a difficult terrain to walk in..” In a country like India where citizens often take the law for a ride, it would be a challenge to control the consequences that legalizing Euthanasia will bring about.

  3. santhosh kumar

    Yes, i do agree suffering the pain each and every movement, pain which is inevitable making the life more harder than living, Euthanasia may relieve as a boon to free the soul from pain and suffering. Legalizing Euthanasia should be in such a way that it should not be misused. it should be bounded by strict norms so that it shouldn’t be a legal way of killing some one who can be cured.

  4. Parul

    What you said is completely right in the sense that euthanasia will liberate someone free from his/her sufferings and is a blessing for any incurable person. But what if the patient/sufferer is surrounded by people who love him/her and are taking good care of her as in case of Aruna Shanbaug. Also, why force something upon a person who lives as a blessing to many ,who is loved by all despite the fact that she is in no way recoverable? Besides, we dont even know what Aruna wants? I think the topic is debatable and if euthanasia legalizes in India it has to come up with some limits and proper instructions.

  5. Shreya Dwivedi

    If something like Euthanasia is legalized in India, it will be more of a bane than a boon. Each fragment of our society will come up with their own set of opinions and interpretations, which is okay, but it will remain ever debatable, given the religious and political scenario of our country. It will certainly helpful to the ones who are in a dire need of it, but the fear of its malpractice will prevail in our society. I support the whole idea of Euthanasia, but its implications could be dangerous for the Indian society.

  6. Smriti Roy

    We should be appreciate to pro-posal of right to death.

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