Suicide in India: Harassment Is the Silent Killer Worse Than Terrorism

India is the Suicide Capital of the World:

I reproduced in this article, the suicide trend and facts in India from the news-blog with an objective of highlighting the need to reform a system that slowly tortures and kills, a system that silently smothers the spirit which in my opinion is worse than a terrorist instantaneous killing and I consider it a far worse crime.

It is estimated that over 100,000 people die by suicide in India every year. India alone contributes to more than 10% of suicides in the world. The suicide rate in India has been increasing steadily and it has reached 10.5 (per 100,000 of population) in 2006 registering a 67% increase over the value of 1980. Majority of the suicides occur among men and in younger age groups. Despite the gravity of the problem, information about the causes and risk factors is insufficient.

India is now reported to be the suicide capital of the world with over 121,000 people taking their lives in 2009. The people who often commit suicide in India include farmers in debt, women without many rights, and students who are love-sick. In India, one farmer committed suicide every 32 minutes between 1997 and 2005 based on calculation on the statistics from National Crime Records Bureau. According to the latest statistics of India’s National Crime Records Bureau, 127,151 people in India committed suicide in 2009. This indicates an increase of 1.7 percent over the previous year’s figures. Farmers and students are most at risk. Suicide in the service category constitutes 11 percent. The recent suicide cases reported in the news indicate the rise of suicide in this category.

Main Cause of Suicide is Harassment and Victimization:

In most cases, harassment appears to be the primary cause but so far no one is found to be punished for torturing a subordinate, wife or client. A few years ago, a senior level officer in my colony in Delhi committed suicide by jumping from the roof top, the reason I suspect is harassment. The recent news today is about a young Police Officer belonging to 2002-batch IPS, posted at Bilaspur, Chattisgarh. He shot himself in the head on March 12, 2012. The Police found a suicide note which revealed that he suffered mental agony because of the high handedness of his senior officer and a high court judge. Another recent news dated 11 March, 2012 reported suicide of one 31-year female aspiring to be in the civil service. Against this kind of developments, the irony becomes either to commit suicide for failing the test to be a civil servant or commit suicide after passing the test for the coveted job. Considering the possibility of many unreported deaths caused by stress and depression under harassment and also unreported cases of victimization, the statistics and evidences need to be ascertained through proper research, as this is an area found to be grossly lacking in India.

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When I joined service, my top boss, who belonged to the older generation of the esteemed Indian civil service advised me to pack and go back home as I would be wasting my talents and potentials in the jungle of wolves. Thereafter, throughout my career, I have often heard and seen unhappiness in all streams of civil service mainly emanating from bully and harassment. Most of the times, one is compelled under the circumstance to waste abundant precious time and resources to iron out the problems and little time is left for building positive contribution towards organizational growth. The ”crab mentality” as we called it in India is causing decadence in the Indian civil service and I identify this to be the key constraint in India’s growth as a global power. In a recent Television debate on India’s governance problem, none among the discussion panelists appeared to have understood the missing link in India’s governance except the co-founder of In-fosys Technologies, who had highlighted the Indian civil service ineffectiveness and inefficiency. But how does one start the process of rectifying the mistakes? No one seemed to know how to begin the correction process.

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Positive Thinking in a Negative Environment:

Instead of taking the extreme step of self-demolition, one may choose to struggle in the midst of the negative environment to bring positivism for improving the system, no matter how impossible it may seem. While a few strong individual can withstand harassment and torture, the exception is not the rule for the majority who often succumbed to the torture. To protect the right to life as mandated under the constitution, the act of harassment and victimization deserves the severest condemnation and its practice made punishable under the law. A responsive government will hold accountability to the wrong action, would encourage research for improving the condition and think of a way to reward contributors for building a better system. The opposite occurs in India where the agents are unresponsive to problems, discourage talents and potentials and instead punish the good performance mostly out of jealousy under the psychological trap of the so-called ‘crab mentality’.

India’s democratic governance is still far from the dream of a real liberty and freedom under the vicious chain of such harassment and victimization. A nation that cannot protect and nurture its human asset is a failed nation despite the impressive economic growth.


by Margaret TC Gangte