New Delhi: Is the mounting burden of responsibilities driving men to the end of their tether? Numbers suggest so.
In India, one married man commits suicide every nine minutes. Of the total 1,25,017 cases of suicide in 2008, married men alone accounted for 57,639. While the number of women taking the extreme step did not lag far behind, men appeared more vulnerable to mounting social and economic pressures. In the case of women, the trigger was more emotional and personal.
The overall male-female ratio of suicide victims for the year 2008 was 64:36, according to the latest data of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB). The general scene is much grimmer.
Suicides in 2008 registered a decadal growth of 19.4% compared to 1998, the figures say. They also reveal a year-on-year rise of 1.9% compared to the 2007 numbers —1,22,637.
The overall increase in cases involving women was 355 in two years while it was 2,187 among men. The increase in suicide among men is six times more than that of women. “Every nine minutes a married man is committing suicide in India. Are we ignoring our men too much or burdening them with too many responsibilities?” said Virag Dhulia of the Save Family Foundation, an organisation fighting for harassed husbands.
The data, however, may not be revealing the full picture. The number of girls/women attempting suicide is much higher than that of boys/men. But the suicide rate is higher among the latter, says clinical psychologist and family therapist, Dr Shelja Sen.
“The intensity of depression among women or adolescent girls is different from boys and men. Attempting to commit suicide often provides relief from depression among females, it doesn’t happen the same way with men. So when they attempt suicide, it is more serious and harsh, and results in death,” she says.
The NCRB data showed youngsters were more susceptible to suicides. Youths in the age group 15-29 years (35.7%) and lower middle-aged people in 30-44 age group (34.8%) were the prime groups taking the extreme step.
Family problems (23.8%) and illness (21.9%) were found to be the major causes of suicides besides love affairs (3.0%), bankruptcy, dowry dispute and poverty (2.4% each) being other reasons. In fact, suicides due to illness, drug abuse/addiction and poverty have shown an increasing trend.
Family problems, failure in examination and illness were driving children to the brink. There were 2,381 cases in this category. Family problems have also driven 10,027 youths (15-29 years), 11,363 lower middle-aged people (30-44 years) and 6,143 upper middle-aged persons (45-59 years) to commit suicide. Suicides among senior citizens were mainly due to illness.
The proportion of female victims was comparatively more under the heads dowry dispute (98.1%), illegitimate pregnancy (91.6%), physical abuse (rape, incest, etc) (72.8%), barrenness/impotency (not having children) (65.5%), divorce (62.2%),cancellation/non-settlement of marriage (53.5%) and suspected/illicit relation (50.8%).
Housewives (24,367) accounted for 54.8% of female victims and nearly 19.5% of total victims committing suicides. It was observed that 70.3% of the suicide victims in both categories were married.
Among bigger cities, the four metros — Bengaluru (2,396), Chennai (1,309), Mumbai (1,111) and Delhi (1,107) — reported higher number of suicides. In fact, these four cities put together accounted for almost 45% of the total suicides reported from 35 cities, even though cases in Mumbai had declined marginally.
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