Trigger Warning: Suicide
Getting in to an IIT is an aspiration of many students and life seems very fortunate when a student makes their way in but this fortune gets intriguing when hidden aspects are introduced. The death of a 21-year-old student of IIT Hyderabad comes as a shock for everyone but just like the others, this will also be untended and forgotten with time.
Anirudhya, who hailed from Secunderabad, was pushed to suicide and jumped from a seven-storey-hostel building on January 31. His death was first recognised as an accidental fall from the building but later his emails to his friends revealed that he was suffering from depression.
This is not the first time a student has resorted to suicide due to depression; a large number of similar cases have been reported previously. In May 2017, Arjun Bhardwaj, a 24-year-old management student ended their life and cited the fear of failure in exams in a note. In September 2018, Shahal Kormath, a 23-year-old student of IIT Madras, died by suicide as he feared that he won’t be allowed to appear in final examinations due to being short of attendance.
In December 2018, a second year MBBS student also resorted to suicide at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana. In February the same year, Shivani Bansal, a 22-year-old MBBS student, was pushed to suicide at Government Medical College, Srinagar saying that she wanted to be a cricketer and never wanted to become a doctor.
This list of suicides among students goes on with every case being cast away with time but we cannot ignore that the numbers are increasing everyday. According to a 2015 report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), every hour, a student is pushed to suicide in India!
In 2015, there were a total of 8934 cases of suicide reported and depression was found to be leading cause of suicide. According to a report by the WHO, 6.5% of the total population is affected with depression making India the 6th most depressed country in the world.
Depression has been cited as the most common cause of suicide. A report states that almost 300 million people are affected with depression worldwide yet it is the most ignored problem. The increasing number of suicide among students is a problem that should not be taken lightly.
A thorough investigation is required as to why a student, after clearing IIT and getting admission, still resorts to suicide. Is the curriculum designed in such a way that it forces a student to think that “life holds no meaning” as stated by Anirudhya’s note, or does the environment not allow positive values to be inculcated?
Is it the burden of becoming a doctor or an engineer borne by students to fulfill the dreams of their parents responsible for a suicide?
A healthy and open approach is required to deal with this situation. A homeostasis between a positive approach and studies in campuses is needed and open discussion is necessary to solve the issue.
Ignoring the issue will only be problematic. Acceptance of depression is required and in-campus counselling should be carried out to help students. They should not be forced to become what they don’t want to. Rather, each one should be appreciated and motivated for their respective talents and should be encouraged to pursue their area of interest.