119 Suicides In 2012: People Turning Insular, Society In False Competition

SRINAGAR: At least 119 cases of suicide were reported in the Kashmir Valley in the past year, with experts attributing the high incidence to tension-ridden life and mental stress.

Available date shows a dramatic spike in the month of June this year with 20 reported cases, while January recorded the lowest over the 12-month period with a lone suicide.

In most of the recorded cases, the individual opting to put an end to life was a woman.

Noted psychiatrist Dr. Hameedullah Shah said that high suicide rate in Kashmir could be traced to situations which an individual is unable to cope with.

“Life is dear to everyone, and nobody would like to put an end to it,” Dr. Shah told the KNS. “But situations arise when an individual feels totally helpless before the odds.”

Mental strain and the valley’s turmoil were another cause of suicide, according to the psychiatrist.

“A blind race for advancement, and being cut off from society, are another reason,” he said.

“In the past, if anyone had a personal of a domestic problem, he or she would invariably open up to friends, relatives neighbours, and discuss it,” he said. And often, such interactions would throw up solutions,” he said.

“People would feel relieved by talking about their problems, and tensions would dissolve,” he said.

“But now there are growing isolationist and individualistic tendencies. People retreat into a shell, become introverts, are consumed by their problems and take the extreme step out of dejection and desperation,” he said.

“Women are particularly vulnerable because of their sensitive and emotional nature,” he said. ‘They feel they are not up to the challenges posed by their circumstances.”

Prominent poet and social commentator Zareef Ahmad Zareef adds another dimension, saying that decline in moral standards, and social competition, too are contributory factors.

“Waywardness and lack of parental control over children too are factors,” he says. “Materialistic pursuits gaining ground in the valley over the past 30 years is a major cause for people to embrace death,” he says.

“Deep apprehensions, and fear, and a disrupted social fabric due to alienation have done their bit, and the turmoil of the past decades has sapped people of their fortitude and resolve,” he says.

“The dazzle and glitter of so-called modern life has sparked off social competition, and tendencies towards westernization have roiled society,” he says. “These too catalyze suicides.”

“Social injustice, corruption, and competition have induced mental stresses and strains, and the results are before us,” he says.

“Untold amounts of money being funneled in by various agencies have created instances of unexplained wealth, leading to waywardness and sparking off competition,” he said.

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