Check the problem of suicide

Shalini Marwaha’s thought-provoking article “How best to tackle the problem of suicide” (Perspective, June 26) reveals the complex process of suicide. The causes of suicide are many and varied as are the causes of any other social phenomenon. These arise from personal disorganisation which is partly the interplay between the personality and the complex social relationships. Whether the individual is mentally sound or unsound, suicide is a sign of overwhelming maladjustment between the personality and social organisation.

History shows that in every period of social disorganisation, suicides increase. With the approaching breakdown of the Roman Empire and the corresponding dissolution of the customs and traditions which had governed Roman life during the Republic, suicide rose tremendously. As such, it is not difficult to know the causes of the increasing incidence of suicide in the Indian contemporary society.



In addition to the principal causes of suicide mentioned earlier, the present education system too is responsible because it does not orient you to do well. In fact, it is least bothered about the child personality. It simply does not teach children how to face life and its challenges.

Admittedly, the answer lies in changing the present education system. Education’s main function is the transmission of societal norms and values and sustaining co-operation and social solidarity among the individuals. Society can survive only if there is a degree of homogeneity among its members. To achieve this objective, society has to do its bit to check suicide by developing a sense of belonging and a feeling among the members.

P.L. SETHI, Patiala


Suicide is the index of mental illness. Life is God’s precious gift. It is not always possible to change the circumstances but one can get relief by changing his/her attitude to life.

The following quotes, if applied in one’s daily life, will ease the burden of life and make it enjoyable too. Challenges in life should always be regarded as opportunities to reshape one’s personality through one’s hidden talents.

Be optimistic, count your blessings and not failures. Forgiveness is the noblest form of revenge. Prefer to choose the occasion to express gratitude than to complain. Peace comes not from the absence of conflicts but from the ability to cope with them. Don’t wait for your ship to come in…swim out to meet it.

ANUP K. GAKKHAR, Jalandhar

Where history is alive

This has reference to “200 Years and Going Strong” by Shiv Kumar (Spectrum, June 26). History is alive in Shimla’s State Bank of India, which is housed in a beautiful heritage property of Dalzell (presently Dalziel) House, flanked by white roses and sangonium creepers on the Mall (west).

The estate once belonged to Capt H.B. Dalzell. It was so well-built that Capt G.D. Thomas (1847) described it as a property that gave ‘a delicious home feeling’, ‘arrayed in the brightest hues’ and ‘refreshing the sick man’s heart’.

Later inhabited by the Bank of Upper India and Bank of Bengal (1907), it passed on to the Imperial Bank of India in 1924 during British raj.

Shimla’s State Bank strong room still retains Imperial Bank’s old heavy door and almirahs. For years, the SBI used its printed stationery too. It is said that an old underground tunnel, now in disuse, still exists there.


Unseemly title

The title, “Not all generals are leaders”, of the review by Mr Rakesh Datta of the book Leadership in the Indian Army by Maj-Gen V.K. Singh (Spectrum, June 26) is far from reality.

Officers in the armed forces are leaders first and leaders last. Leadership is an essential trait of a defence officer. An officer devoid of leadership qualities is unthinkable.

I understand the book contains nothing to suggest a title like this. I wish the reviewer had not given such an unseemly title for his otherwise fine review.

C.L. SEHGAL, Jalandhar

Another anthem

I read with relish Khushwant Singh’s translation of Allama Iqbal’s poem Taraana-e-Hindi (not Hind) in his write-up, “Second anthem” (Saturday Extra, July 2). He has a wonderful knack of rendering Urdu verses into English, maintaining their beauty, sweetness and harmony to a great extent.

Ghurbat (being in foreign land) and rashk-e-jinaan (paradise envy) have been mentioned by him as ghairat and rushk-e-jahaan, apparently by an oversight.

Having soon become an ardent propagator of pan-Islamism, Iqbal gave a clear concept of a two-nation theory and wanted a separate Muslim state. He wrote Taraana-e-milli (song of the Muslim nation), declaring Muslim hain ham vatan hai sara jahaan hamaara, in supersession of Hindi hain ham vatan hai Hindustan hamaara. Despite being a scion of a Sapru Brahman family, he said: Hai jo mathey pe Islam ka teeka Iqbal/Koi Pandit mujhey kehta hai to sharm aati hai.


Goddess Ganga

Khushwant Singh seems to derive sadistic pleasure in taunting the faith of other communities. In Saturday Extra (June 25), he has tried to ridicule the belief of millions of Hindus that the Ganga is a goddess. Thousands of acres of fertile land would have been barren but for the Ganga.

It feeds the mouths of crores of Indians living on its banks, without bothering about their caste, creed or critics of the like of Khushwant Singh. Probably, he doesn’t know that Hindus accord the status of Goddess not only to the Ganga but also to all rivers like the Yamuna, the Krishna, the Kaveri, the Narmada and hundreds of others.

Similarly, sometime back, Singh, in one of his articles had ridiculed the idea of calling a cow a mother. He had asked the readers why couldn’t a buffalo be called a mother. Who prevents Khushwant Singh from calling a buffalo, or a goat, or a sheep, or even a mare a mother?

Once he had tried to taunt the ‘Bania’ community, without realising the very definition of a ‘Bania’.



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