Study reveals scale of female suicides in India

India in 2016 accounted for 17.8 percent of the global population but 36.6 percent of female suicides. (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Study reveals scale of female suicides in India

DELHI: Meenu, 25, tried to commit suicide three years ago when her husband tried to stop her from following her career and insisted that she focus on raising their first child.
She was saved by a timely intervention from her neighbor.
“I come from a small town in Kerala (a southern Indian state), and did a professional course for nursing to make a career. I couldn’t reconcile myself to being a fulltime housewife,” Meenu, who is a nurse in a local hospital, told Arab News.
This week, a study by the Lancet, a British health journal, revealed that the number of women committing suicide in India is the highest in the world, terming it a “public health crisis.”
India in 2016 accounted for 17.8 percent of the global population but 36.6 percent of female suicides, making it the “ninth leading cause of death” in the country that year, the Lancet said. Of the female suicides in India, 71.2 percent were in the age group 15-39 years.
“Married women account for the highest proportion of suicide deaths among women in India. Marriage is known to be less protective against suicide for women because of arranged and early marriage, young motherhood, low social status, domestic violence, and economic dependence”, the journal wrote.
Rakhi Dandona, professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told Arab News: “The lower status of women in society, gender discrimination, different aspirations and different responsibilities are all factors responsible for female suicides in India.”
She said: “Domestic violence is the biggest factor. Among girls and women depression is more common, and suicide rates are higher in most of the southern Indian states, which are prosperous.”
Women’s rights activists and those working on gender equality say the study calls for action and cannot be ignored.
“This is very sobering data. We never realized the number was so high, especially for girls,” said Poonam Muttreja, executive director of the Population Foundation of India, a public health group.
Jameela Nishat, who runs the Shaheen Women Resource and Welfare Association, said: “Domestic violence is one of the major factors for suicide among women.”
She added: “Last month, a 25-year-old girl committed suicide because she couldn’t cope with the marital situation. Every month we get a case like this, and most of them are from middle-class families.”
Dandona said: “We need a national suicide-prevention plan. Only then will people start talking about suicide.”
She added: “We need to know why people get mental-health issues. This has to be a macro-level, multi-sectoral exercise.”


‘Don’t cry’: Celebration trumps pain at funeral for New Zealand terror attack victim

Updated 23 min 42 sec ago
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‘Don’t cry’: Celebration trumps pain at funeral for New Zealand terror attack victim

  • Nabi was the man who unknowingly opened the door to his killer at the city’s Al Noor mosque, reportedly welcoming him with the words “Hello Brother”
  • That was the memory those laying him to rest wanted to broadcast on Thursday

CHRISTCHURCH: Heads bowed, their hair covered by black headscarves, female family members of Mohemmed Daoud Nabi gently wept as they approached his body until a fellow mourner called out “Don’t cry.”
It was a refrain heard repeatedly throughout the short, emotional funeral for 71-year-old Nabi, one of 50 people slain by a white supremacist gunman in Christchurch last Friday during a live broadcast rampage that caused global revulsion.
Those bidding farewell to the septuagenarian were determined to send out a message. This was a day of celebration, not of loss.
Nabi was the man who unknowingly opened the door to his killer at the city’s Al Noor mosque, reportedly welcoming him with the words “Hello Brother.”
And that was the memory those laying him to rest wanted to broadcast on Thursday.
Huddled together under a marquee on a grey and blustery day, Nabi’s sons recited prayers in Dari and Arabic as the former head of their family lay in a wooden casket at their feet.
“Those who live abroad and die or killed there will go to paradise,” one of the sons said, a reference to Nabi’s journey two decades before from war-torn Afghanistan to his adopted homeland New Zealand.
“He was killed in a mosque in a house of God. He was a true servant. He was a pious person,” he added.
After prayers mourners carefully lifted the casket aloft and carried Nabi toward the newly dug grave at Memorial Park Cemetery, one of dozens for victims of the massacre.
Those gathered were a reflection of the breadth of the community affected by Friday’s massacre, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, bikers, refugees, young families — all touched by Nabi and the warmth he showed.
Some held placards advocating peace and tolerance. Some sported those now two ubiquitous words: “Hello Brother.”
As Nabi’s body, wrapped in white cloth, neared the grave, quietness descended over the crowd. Family and close friends then gathered to pour earth from plastic buckets into the open casket.
Stretching out across the cemetery were row upon row of empty graves still waiting to be filled in the coming days.
It was a stark reminder of the sheer scale of the killings, 50 dead among a small, tight-knit community in a town with a population of some 350,000 people.
Yet the mood in the compound remained joyous and steered away from despair.
Heavily tattooed biker gang members mingled with men wearing Afghan dress, non-Muslims and smartly dressed community leaders, embracing, sharing memories and stories.
A long line of mourners took turns to hug Nabi’s sons.
“I’m happy because he went straight to Jannah (paradise),” Omar Nabi said. “The gunman didn’t even know he opened the gates to heaven for my dad.
“He is laughing at him and smiling at us... Have you ever congratulated anybody for a death? This is the time and this is the place. Don’t cry. Don’t be sad. Congratulations. Your father made it to heaven.”