New Delhi, 14.06.18: Even as an outpouring of shock and grief followed Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, came news of Bhaiyyu Maharaj’s suicide. Both the celebrity chef from New York and spiritual leader from Madhya Pradesh had extraordinarily successful lives. Part of the shock comes from the question, why should somebody who ‘has it all’ commit suicide? This is where there is a great need to raise public awareness – that suicide can be driven by no ‘reason’ other than issues of stress, depression, boredom or mental health.
Yes, Maharaj had lived life to the fullest, growing from a model to a guru with a massive following across Maharashtra and MP, and among leaders across the political spectrum. In 2011 he had played a key role in getting Anna Hazare to end his agitation for Lokpal in Delhi. Two months ago he had been offered minister of state status in MP. But his suicide note explains, “I am leaving to (sic) much stressed out, fed up.” Likewise a friend has written about Bourdain, his depression won.
Though suicide is a horrible choice, it is an individual’s choice. But Congress has demanded a CBI investigation into the death of Maharaj, which may be retaliation for the charge against Shashi Tharoor of ‘abetting’ his wife’s suicide. We are slowly modernising our view of suicide and no longer treat it as a crime. But the nebulous charge of ‘abetment to suicide’, which provides great scope for subjective interpretations, remains on our statute books and can be used to harass people. As in many other areas we overdo the legislative aspect and always look to blame someone, when instead the nation should invest in expanding therapy and support for common problems like depression and anxiety.
Courtesy: The Times of India
This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Times of India.