Mahesh Trivedi | India Tomorrow
AHMEDABAD—With as many as 21 people committing suicide every day, Gujarat could soon be nicknamed ‘the land of people with a death wish’.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-controlled government in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s homeland has been shouting from rooftops that it was a progressive and bounteous state.
But, on Thursday, the Vijay Rupani administration admitted in the legislative assembly that 15,013 desperate people, including some 300 students, had ended their lives in the last two years.
Data tabled in the House also showed that of the 15,000-odd crest-fallen people who took the extreme step between October, 2019 and September, 2020, including seven months of pandemic havoc, some 7,000 self-destruction cases were from Gujarat’s five major cities—Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara and state capital Gandhinagar.
What’s more, a record 6.849 people in doleful dumps also made unsuccessful attempts to end it all, many of them pulled back from the brink by NGOs like Anju Sheth’s Saath and other suicide prevention organisations.
While academics, depression, peer pressure, fear of failure, confinement in home and lack of smart phones for online education were blamed for self-abuse and suicides by students, other hara-kiri cases were attributed to financial woes, domestic squabbles and love affairs. And all this despite Gujarat having several helplines for those in the doleful dumps.
Indeed, India accounts for almost a fifth of global suicides what with 135,000 cases of self-destruction recorded every year compared to some 800,000 desperate people taking the extreme step the world over.
A shocking 34 per cent— the highest in the world—of suicides in India are in the age group of 15-29 years, and, truth to tell, an astonishing 80 per cent of those with suicidal tendencies are not unlettered ignoramuses but book-smart youths.