This piece is honestly provoked by the death of famous Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput, not because non-celebrity lives are less important but there is a threshold to realise the severity of the problem, to understand it’s graveness. Otherwise, I’d have started with the story of my teen nephew from my extended family who was found dead in the canal in my village, apparently, he was suffering from undiagnosed and untreated mental illness.
To understand it better, let’s look into the official data of NCRB (National Crime Record Bureau). 1.3 lakh suicides were reported in 2018 in India, barring not reported alone. That accounts for 357 deaths every day or 15 deaths every hour, officially. Of which, 10000 students committed suicide at a rate of 28 students’ lives lost every 24 hours, highest in history. Globally, the tally stands at a person committing suicide every 40 seconds (Global Health Estimates, WHO, 2016) with India amongst worst in South and South-East Asia.
The largest proportion of lives lost range in the age group of 15-29 years. Let alone, suicide is the leading cause of over 300 non-corona deaths during the lockdown as 80 people killed themselves in 45 days of lockdown in India at approximately two persons dying every day, finds the research published in The Economic Times, May 5, 2020.
Such is the seriousness of the issue which needs to be understood with equal seriousness. The question arises is simple yet rigorous, why a so-called cohesive and culturally rooted country, India, is the worst among its cultural siblings? What have we done wrong in the past that it is easier for people to decide to quit than to fight and survive? We cannot be both, a culturally-rooted community and insensitive to life. There has to be a false option. Which one is in this case?
Saying from experience, we have the worst ‘Failure Management System’ which is a result of the ‘Catastrophic Talent Management System’. And, if I collate both, it appears that we are ‘culturally-rooted insensitive to the life society’. To understand that, one has to reflect upon how one sees the failure of one’s own self, friends, relatives and cousins and of neighbours. It is more than relevant to us because India is a country of small towns and villages. Thousands march every day to the bigger to their cities every day with dreams or they dream big living in the villages or towns wherever they are. Aspiration is the force behind the movement of human lives.
How do we treat them? How do we treat those risk-takers who defy challenges to achieve what they dream? Don’t we bully first and take the credit if the challenger succeeds and bully more if he did not. No one dares to go back to the place where it belongs to because of the fear of rejection. No one wants to face the reality that it works or it may not because of the fear of the exact same people who did not support in the first place.
It is a wake-up call to the parents, especially those who invest in their offsprings’ dreams, who dream together with their sons and daughters but don’t stand up to the bully. They commit the fatal error, of becoming one amongst the bullies who rarely wanted the good, the way they wanted good for their children. The typical error of cognitive dissonance. Why it cannot be the same to any other job, it works or it may not be.
Our system is very non-conducive to failure and talent. We, in general, face difficulties with change and challenge. And, anything that looks like an attempt appears challenging to us. This is the time to shift that mindset of blockage and have to rise as the support, especially parents.
Your investments, your dreams, your love and your future is at stake if you won’t.