The Sun defies


None can know for sure what goes on in the minds and hearts of persons, who decide to end their lives ~ one can only guess that they feel that they have reached the very depths of despondency and arrive at the conclusion that their lives are not worth living. And here, the word “despondency” itself is so inadequate to define the turmoil inside them and describe their anguish. There are, actually, no words to define and describe the reality of death and there is more of a loss for words for premature deaths particularly murders and suicides. Today, let us spend a few moments thinking about the increasing number of suicides across the globe, here in India and in the Northeast. Suicide is a global phenomenon ~ in some societies, it is even considered honourable ~ but as we know now that in most cases suicides are preventable it is imperative for the individual and society to arm ourselves with knowledge and act thereof to prevent suicides within the home, schools, colleges, hostels, work-place and any place that has the potentials for anyone to resort to this tragic act. Thankfully, the Government has recently de-criminalized suicides, which it should have done decades ago. But now that suicides have been de-criminalized, the onus is on the Government to create awareness and educate the public on preventive measures ~ for which it must engage not only the health and medical community and the education sector but also the religious, traditional and cultural spaces. In short, the Government’s measures to create awareness and educate the public on suicides must encompass every section of society. People resort to suicides for numerous reasons ergo each of these reasons must also be studied in-depth and awareness created to dispel fears that any one of them is a good reason to end one’s life. No, no reason is good enough to end one’s life therefore a concerted collective effort must be made on a war-footing to rescue the young and old, who feel that they have reached the end of the line. But society and state has to change their perceptions for this concerted effort to be successful and prioritize value and respect human life. Increasingly, human life is disregarded while meritless material and issues have been centre-staged displacing human life to the sidelines of living. We have also come to see life and living through the prisms of the ephemeral therefore we have become increasingly unforgiving of others as well as of ourselves. The issue of suicides merits a detailed discourse, a political and social policy in tandem and strict adherence and implementation thereof ~ but attitudinal and mindset changes must precede these measures. At a micro level, it is also imperative that we ask ourselves what is it about us as a people, or an individual, or a family or a home that drives somebody to end her life. What is there about our cultures, customs, traditions, belief-systems and value-systems that drive anybody to resort to this desperate act? In Naga society, we somehow believe that suicides are rare basing our assertion on the number of reported cases. However, because suicides are also considered as sin in the Christian belief-system and a “shameful” and “dishonourable” act in our cultural belief-system, a number of suicides go unreported. Moreover, we still haven’t even started an introductory discourse on psychiatric and psychological disorders amongst our people ~ much less the required treatment thereof ~ to understand why and what leads some people to take this drastic step. Against the background of an “epidemic of suicides” including that of the rich, the famous and the super-achievers that get so much publicity, it is time to focus attention on our vulnerable. But then, who isn’t vulnerable? Therefore, it is also time to learn that life comes with the thunder, the lightening and the storm but the sun inevitably defies them all. And it is time for all of us learn that there is no one way of living. Because the Almighty has made each of us, surely our lives and our living are acceptable to Him? And so, everyone’s lives and living should be acceptable to us too.