Suicide pacts: what is going on?

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This has nothing to do with advertising or business but I am compelled to write about it. There have been a spate of suicide pacts and incidents of filicide in Bangalore. Parents seems to think that the easy way of out their problems is to take their own life and worse still, kill their own children.

How can parents mentally prepare themselves to do this? What goes through their vile minds when they lure their innocent children into eating ice-cream laced with poison? How sick can people get? And tragically in some cases the parents survive and have to go through life now knowing that they murdered their own child. Is that life worth living?

I have been very disturbed about these incidents. I feel that today, as a society we are not resilient enough. People of my parent’s generation had a far more purposeful outlook to life. They may have been simplistic in their approach but they took life’s ups and downs in their stride. They may have not had the creature comforts that we have today and were used to ‘roughing it out’ in life. My mother’s childhood was typical of a village life in South Kanara. She tells me stories of how getting a chalk piece was a joy in itself, of being wide eyed seeing a bus and so on. Typical of that generation and background. This simple life made them see the value of relationships and be measured in their desire for material things. She was taught to be totally dedicated to the family she married into and accept whatever comes her way.

Whether it is an incurable disease or financial pressure people seem to think of suicide as the way out. I am not getting into the why’s and what’s of farmer deaths. I am talking of regular, lower-middle and middle class families being driven to killing their own children. There is a deep-rooted malaise in our society today and we all need to ponder about the reasons-why and take corrective action. In our own way we can be thankful for the relationships we have in our lives and pledge to live for others.

My dad passed away last year and died a simpleton. Being the sole earning member of a large family, his outlook to life was to ‘cut your coat according to your cloth’. He did not seek material gains or things that he thought were beyond his means. His was a life dedicated to others. And all that he left behind was a good reputation. Isn’t that what life is all about?

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  1. Very true. Even I share the same thoughts about elders. My parents’ lives match your description of simple life, no wish/ greed for materialistic things, living for others, gain/ earn respect! My dad today is decently successful businessman but doesnt own a car… reason – “what is the need?”. On one end there are these female foeticides still happening (especially in TN) and on the other end parents kill their own children after giving birth to them. How would people without children feel when they read/ watch such news?!

  2. Very disturbing and incredibly upsetting. Personally makes me want grab those people by the collar and scream at them . what makes it worse is the fact that firstly , they take the easy way out, choosing death over battle ( after all , nobody said life is easy) and secondly they take away the chance of life and living from their children – and i believe nobody has that right.

    Sometimes, i really do believe, our parents were made of far sterner stuff than we are.

    Heres hoping that someday better sense prevails

  3. Thank you for a very thought provoking piece! This deep rooted malaise in our society is not taking us very far. At the risk of digressing, we, the so called ones with “strong eastern values” and “spiritual upbringing” to boot think that money – whether it be dowry- thanks to which many a woman is burnt and many a female child killed before birth or debt – thanks to which many of them decide to kill themselves and the children – is the be all and end all of everything. Worse still, we do not find it uneasy when foetuses of unknown origin land up on our railway tracks. Makes me think: is human life so cheap?

  4. Oh, but it has everything to do with advertising, and business, both of whom have a lot of hand in making a monopoly out of (now) the (only) currency we use – money, so much so, that we can’t even imagine, say, goodwill or reputation, as a currency for interaction.
    Meanwhile, not that i’m condoning it, but in a life full of questions, it seems to be the easiest answer to find -death.

  5. Its true that generation after genration the value of relationships have shrinked….few gen back it was one big family living on simpler things in life ….times havechanged , smaller family group and high aspiration among the so called emerging middle class. One should find happiness in simpler things in life and not just the big and bright things . As you rightly said ‘cut your coat according to your cloth’…

  6. Chetan, priyesh, Gitanjali, Praveen – thanks for the comments.

    manuscrypts – squarely blaming advertising & business for society being ‘money minded’ is a bit unfair.

  7. very true sir. i lost close friend too recently. wish i was there to knock some sense into him.
    our generation definitely lacks the perseverance…
    I’ve seen my dad go through real rough times but never has he come home with that…he would tell me….”i have gained a lot from my losses”…whenever i’d ask him about our missing car…
    hopefully someday i’ll figure that out!

  8. The single root cause is off this disease is ” Peer Pressure”- my neighbour has it therefore I need it . Such people should realise neighbours have acheived it on hard work and sacrifices which you are not willing to make.

    I have always wondered how the mind works during a suicide ” mission”. The fear of the unknown, the process , the letters , the decision whether to take along partners etc . -phew wish these people had put in the same effort in acheiving the task/thing for which they are throwing away their life. The unfortunate thing about the whole “mission” is the aftermath -the agony the near and dear ones have to go through.

    My only advice to the “protoganists”, ( if the decision is made ) please do not take any partners especially kids and babies . They are most purest form of human life and have every right to live .

    For everyone – ” Toast to a content life”

  9. uhuh… that was only a response to your first statement.. don’t business and advertising play a major share in aspiration creation, for example? You aspire, you fail, and sometimes you can’t handle it…
    What’s the root cause of suicides? financial or emotional troubles. and if we delve further into emotional, am sure we’ll find a few $ signs there too… both advertising and business have a lot of influence (lot of, not the only, as in previous comment too) on society and the relationships between its constituents…that was my point…

  10. ET found humankind very odd indeed. Men take a lot of effort risking life and limb to dig out gold form great depths in one corner of the earth only to transport it halfway across the globe and bury it in a deep vault!
    One needs to pick the fruit from the tree only if one is hungry and needs it and not because the tree is full of fruits. With less greed, one’s needs can always be met.
    Suicide is never a solution. Everyone has the potential to overcome the adversities in life only if it is realised and accepted. There is no point in blaming external factors such as advertising. Nature advertises its wares more effectively than any agency can think of.

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