By Shams RN
Suicide is a chronic social issue increasing day-by-day in Pakistan. This issue has now spread to the peaceful environs of Chitral.
There has been an increase in suicide cases suddenly in Chitral, especially in the recent year. Most of the time suicide cases are not reported due to the lack of proper communication and other reasons.
However, a lot of people have committed suicide in different areas of Chitral and Gilgit. It was a black day in Chitral’s history, when two siblings committed suicide one after another, within a month.
Chitral is known for its peaceful environment and the people are known for enjoying the happiest of lives, then what is the reason behind such sudden changes?
I would like to mention here, the great Western thinker Emile Durkheim and his famous theory of suicide. He presented a theory in which he discussed three major types of suicide and the reasons behind them. Looking at the current scenario, his theory is applicable to the events that we have witnessed.
First there is Egoistic Suicide, in which the bonds of the society get loose. In this case, the individual leaves his social group in which he was trained and socialized. He distances himself from the group norms and does not participate in group behaviour. He remains unaffected by major events like deaths and new births in the lives of his relatives and neighbours.
He distances himself, remains alone in society and mostly lives separately from other members of his family. This leads to him committing suicide.
Second there is Anomic Suicide, it occurs when there is a sudden change in the norms and manners of individuals.
The person cannot adjust in the new condition which leads to a normative gap. For him the social laws become weak, and fail to control his behaviour. He stops comprehending his own actions and cannot seem to control them, leading him to commit suicide. In this case, conditions of social disorganisation prevail in the society.
There are a lot of other factors as well which push an individual towards self harm. However, in the presence of symptoms mentioned above, interventions should be held by family and friends, and if they are unable assist the individual then outside help should be sought.
Third is the Altruistic suicide, in which group solidarity is at the highest in society. People do not think beyond their group. In other words we can say that it is an extreme level of love for the beloved. This individual commits suicide in extreme love.
These are the three types of suicides presented by Durkheim, and the reasons behind them and why the issue still prevails in our society.
The most important thing is change in society and culture.
The abrupt advancement in communication and culture in Chitral and other rural areas has affected the youth at a personal level. Mostly, the society is conservative and it will take time to bring lasting changes. However, the young generation prefers modernisation which is not possible within a day or a week. The mobilisation of people from rural to urban areas also causes a drastic change in culture.
Moreover, the youth who go to urban cities in order to get better education and improve their standard of living, feel disassociated from their past lives. This makes it harder for them to adjust after going back. They feel alienated and do not know how to reconnect. This leads them to feeling depressed and pushes them towards self-harm.
In my opinion, there are a lot of other factors as well which push an individual towards self harm. However, in the presence of symptoms mentioned above, interventions should be held by family and friends, and if they are unable assist the individual then outside help should be sought. The government also needs to take immediate steps to tackle this issue.
Seminars and interactive sessions with families should be encouraged, and masses should be educated about this issue. This menace should be uprooted quickly from the society, in order to secure a brighter future for the coming generations.
Published in Daily Times, September 6th 2018.