In Bangladesh, increasing suicides are a result of lack of familial interaction and support and a lack of social integrity. Bangladesh is moving toward economic development, while losing social cohesion, writes Minhazur Rahman Rezvi for South Asia Monitor
By Minhazur Rahman Rezvi
Suicide rates in Bangladesh appear to be increasing alarmingly. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report 2015, Bangladesh was ranked 10th globally in its high rates of suicide. According to the WHO report 2016, eight incidents of suicides occur among every 100,000 people in the country. Statistics show that 73,389 people committed suicide between 2002 and 2009.
The proportion of suicides is highest between the ages of 14 to 24. Suicidal behaviour is high among students, with the number of suicides increasing during the period of public exam (JSC, SSC & HSC) results, primarily because of unexpected results and family condemnation.
According to the WHO, the suicide rate is high among women. Rising incidents of rape, sexual harassment and social insecurity often lead girls to commit suicide.
The main reason behind the rise in suicides is the lack of social integrity and social bonding. Why is social integrity important for a peaceful and equitable society? Social integrity focuses on ensuring equitable opportunities and right to live for all classes of people in society, without which society becomes a place of anarchy, where ‘marginal people’ are deprived from opportunities to live and deprived of what they have.
Capitalism is responsible for decreasing social integrity and social bonds. People are separated from their extended family, which is increasingly turning nuclear. People concentrate on their own self interest rather than being social. Modernization and capitalism have not only distorted traditional culture but also decreased social bonds and interactions within family members. Competition has been created in every sector; from education to jobs.
Some people can compete with the flow by own capabilities and some can continue to compete by exploiting others (minorities). But many people fail; they cannot move with the flow of competition. Societies and families blame them instead of supporting them in their perceived failure. People cannot endure the stress from their families and society, they become depressed and hopeless; they decide on committing suicide as a permanent solution of temporary problems.
In Bangladesh, increasing suicides are a result of lack of familial interaction and support and a lack of social integrity. Bangladesh is moving toward economic development, while losing social cohesion. In the modern age, parents think children (youth & students) must take their own decisions and not abide by parental guidance. Due to carelessness of parents, children choose wrongly, leading them to be depressed.
The pressure of parents creates more pressure on a child and makes him vulnerable. If the child fails to achieve the target, the weight of helplessness sets in and they feel cut off. The child decides to commit suicide to be free from pressure, pain and exhausted by circumstances.
Besides the lack of social integrity, marginal groups of society are being deprived from equal and equitable rights and opportunities. Women are the most vulnerable and marginal group in societies. Security of life is a basic right, but security for a woman’s life is an elusive term in Bangladesh.
Increasing crimes and violence against women, like rape, dowry and ‘eve-teasing’ (sexual harasssment) are more responsible for rising suicide rates among girls, who also feel they are deprived from getting justice. Society stigmatizes the victims instead of giving them support.
Suicide is an end of hope. A society must take care of each member from birth and help to build their lives in peaceful ways. A person will commit to suicide when his dream breaks down; he does not get any positive support from his family and his society.
Only depression cannot lead a person to commit suicide. A person commits suicide when the family and society compels him to commit suicide.
Societies have to focus on reducing dysfunctionality to save members from suicide. The government has to ensure security for girls to save them from aggression and violence. NGOs and government can arrange motivational seminars or workshops for reduction of suicide. Parents also must lend their hand and concern about their children to save them from committing suicide.
(The author is studying Development Studies at the University of Dhaka. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)