The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, February 11, 2001

Dealing with death wish

APROPOS of Radhakrishna Raoís "Dealing with the death wish" (January 21), there are psychiatrists who claim that suicide is a matter of mental health and should be dealt with through professional therapy. Others claim that modern diet leads to chemical imbalances causing depression, which can be ratified by medicines. Others blame the boom in drugs and alcohol which causes the "unsound mind" that leads one to commit suicide.

Our dowry-ridden society has substantially pushed up the suicide rate in India. One factor only dimly realised yet is the combined effect of TV and affluence. Children from affluent families today are brought up to believe that life should be comfortable at all times. Nothing prepares them for hardship or pain. The world of television offers quick solutions for every tough situation, and when this does not match up with reality, there is fear and a sense of betrayal. The need to escape becomes imperative.

One of the causes of despair in the young is the pressure put on young people to succeed. Society and parents alike make demands on children which many simply cannot meet and which then drive them to irrational acts.

Another cause is the disruption of the family. An increase in teenage suicides correlates closely with the absence of strong, sustained relationships with both parents.


Whatever the reason, parents seem to find less and less time to listen to their children. And listening is the recognised and the only solution to the problem of anger, heartbreak, guilt and fear, which are destroying the young. It is known that more than half teenage suicide victims gave clear warnings (depression, irritability, isolation, no appetite), before they took the final drastic step. Many cry out for attention and help in a time of severe crisis. But who listens or offers comfort?

Schools, communities, teachers and advisers ought to listen and offer comfort. But the real healing can only come from the home environment. Do families care enough to face up to the reality of young deaths, shockingly self-inflicted? Of course, not.


Learning to be happy

Apropos of I.M. Soniís article "Prosperity continues, but are we really happier?" (January 28), the only way to lead a proper life is to ensure right education at home on issues that affect life and relationships. Education is essential in order to live happily and peacefully. A happy home should be the heritage of every person, who comes into this world. Children everywhere should be given the right kind of education and home training. Proper home training helps develop a balanced personality.

Both parents need to remember that happiness does not depend upon the amount of money the family possesses, but rather on giving the right type of education and home training to the children, so that they can develop a wholesome personality and a positive outlook on life.


When home is hell

Mohinder Singhís article "When home is hell" (January 14), enlightens us about one of the most disturbing situations wives face at home. In the Indian context, the relations between husband and wife are like that of a master and a servant. Even highly educated women are seen undergoing severe beatings at the hands of their cruel and insensible husbands. It is really a painful and pathetic to observe that a majority of women support the anachronic concept of the wife-beating.

Many marired women are victims of wife-beating. If the degree of violence is confined to just a slap or two, she does not mention it to her parents. They come to know about it only when she is no longer able to conceal her injuries or the blue-marks of beating on her body. She is always worried to save the honour of the family of her husband. Her main job is to keep her husband pleased mentally as well as sexually. Newspapers and magazines publish articles exhorting women to learn the tactics of satisfying the ego of their husbands. They ought to look graceful, beautiful and quite unoffending to them. Not a word of advice to husbands.

In recent years, domestic violence has accelerated throughout the country. Sometimes helpless women who visit the police stations to lodge complaints against their husbands end up being harassed and even raped. A housewife, in fact, cannot take the risk of running her relationship into rough weather so she continues undergoing a life-long pain of insults and humiliation. Law has not been effective enough to come to her help in time.

As a result of modern education, hostility towards women has abated but the remnants of a widespread decadent socio-economic and cultural life are still visible. In rural areas, women are subjected to cruel customs of social torture. Men worship different goddesses (female deities) but they donít respect the female community. This is a big paradox embedded in our collective psyche. Public opinion must be built against atrocities on women and it should be effectively backed by the law of the land. Only then, the general attitude towards women can positively change.


The White House

This refers to ĎA slice out of the White House pastí by Bimal Bhatia (January 21, 2001).

Charles Dickenís words, "In love of home, the love of country has its rise", seem so appropriate while viewing the White House as home to the American President. George Washington specified that the "Presidentís House" should have "the sumptuousness of a palace, the convenience of a house and the agreeableness of a country seat".

Not exactly a palace, the White House which has remained a home to its distinguished occupants for more than two hundred years, has been a symbol of American democracy and American presidency. Over the years it has retained some of the personal touches given to it by its distinguished occupants along with a number of renovations, reconstructions and redecorations which have given it its present shape and structure. In spite of the new occupants incorporating changes in the decorations to give their own personal touch, the historical tradition is always maintained.


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