Jiah Khan’s suicide note.

R’s Mom shared this link, and I agree with the gist of the post, although I wish the tone was more sensitive to the young woman – who is also a victim of Patriarchy, that sees Getting and Staying Married as the only goal in women’s lives.

What are your thoughts on this one?
“…this is a 25-year old who … thinks her life is value-less without the continuing attention of some unemployed star-kid?! How the heck was she brought up? What kind of …. adult mind thinks that someone else’s attention is so important that her own life pales in comparison? … Who gave her these values where “death before losing in love” is a virtue?” 

Read Jiah Khan’s suicide note, Jiah’s letter to Suraj Pancholi

Let me share some bits from Jiah’s letter. This is why, I feel, Getting and Staying Married should not be seen as the biggest goal in a woman’s life.

“You may not have known this but you affected me deeply to a point where I lost myself in loving you.”

IHM: Glorifying such dependence leaves those ‘lost in love’ vulnerable to manipulation, control and abuse; OR it drives them to control those they feel they can’t live without.

“… I’ve never given so much of myself to someone or cared so much. You returned my love with cheating and lies.”

IHM: Shouldn’t lack of reciprocation, lies and cheating be seen as warning signs?

“It didn’t matter how many gifts I gave you or how beautiful I looked for you.”

IHM: Gifts and beauty can make a disinterested or manipulative man turn into a loving partner?

“…When I first met you I was driven, ambitious and disciplined. … I didn’t see any love or commitment from you. I just became increasingly scared that you would hurt me mentally or physically.”

IHM: There was violence, or fear of violence, but Jiah thought this relationship was worth taking her life for.

“Your life was about partying and women. Mine was you and my work.”

IHM: Generally the partner who likes to socialize (seen as frivolous) is seen as the culprit, and the one who likes to spend time ‘gainfully’ and alone with the partner the victim

But couldn’t it indicate incompatibility or disinterest, or both?

“…. I never told you but I received a message about you. About you cheating on me. I chose to ignore it, decided to trust you.”

IHM: Why is foundation-less trust glorified, and even romanticized?

“No other woman will give you as much as I did or love you as much as I did. I can write that in my blood.”

IHM: Based on Bollywood values: Love is giving and suffering silently, and watching the loved one happy.

And writing in blood is not unheard of, it is seen as a proof of ‘true love’.

Things were looking up for me here, but is it worth it when you constantly feel the pain of heartbreak when the person you love wants to abuse you or threatens o hit you or cheats on you telling other girls they are beautiful or throws you out of their house when you have no where to go and you’ve come to them out of love or when they lie to your face or they make you chase after them in their car. Or disrespects their family. You never even met my sister. I bought your sister presents.

IHM: So many reasons to end a relationship. And can reciprocation be ‘earned’ with trust and loving someone ‘loyally’?

Please note, this post does not blame Jiah Khan’s parents, Suraj Pancholi or Jiah Khan for her suicide, it is only an attempt to understand why so many Indian women commit suicide when disappointed in relationships/marriages.

Here are some more women who did not walk out of abusive relationships.

Some have died, some live unhappily, some still hope they will eventually reform the man, some have accepted misery as their destiny.

‘An email from a daughter whose mother endured everything because she did not want to ruin her daughters’ lives’

Are Happily Married Daughters a status symbol in India? (Update: Now this daughter refuses to end her marriage, she has cut all ties with her parents.)

Sixty. And nowhere to go.

“When wives become too possesive of her husbands and do not want the affection to be shared with their near and dear…”

‘Mommy’s secret: The monster in my house (an essay by a 4th grader)’

If someone dislocated your jaw…

“Her husband has told her she can leave if she wishes, she does not have a steady income of her own.”

When she says she no longer wishes to stay with him, why isn’t her word enough?

The father threw the baby on the ground and tried to strangle her with his legs: No case registered.

An email: “just for a few days of fights and torture in a month, how can I leave this life?”

When a daughter refuses to go back…

Perhaps, this video explains it better.

And a success story.

An email: “But my parents, fearing the society and their reputation begged him to take me back.”

 

70 thoughts on “Jiah Khan’s suicide note.

  1. This is the first time I disagree with you. I don’t think this is a woman’s issue per se, but a mental health issue. This woman was obviously depressed, up to a point where she no longer wanted to live. This is generally termed as suicide while of unsound mind.

    There may have been warning signs in the past that people ignored or she quietly suffered. The words she has written, I don’t know if they can be taken at face value. They may have been words written in anger or despair, and there is no evidence to prove that there was any abuse involved, and that she stayed in an abusive relationship because of the pressure to get married or stay married.

    It just sounded that she was depressed and unhealthily obsessed with that boy.

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  2. “I wish the tone was more sensitive to the young woman – who is also a victim of Patriarchy, that sees Getting and Staying Married as the only goal in women’s lives.”

    What would you say if this same note was written by a guy? A role reversal. They too commit suicide don’t they.

    This particular case I don’t think has got anything to do with gender issues. After all – in matters of the heart – ‘Rationality’ often goes for a six. Its not for no reason they say that people go blind in love.

    Yes – this guy’s beating that girl etc is criminal. Thats a whole different issue.

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    • @ Mir – I feel there is an anger against the dead girl which seems to be unfair – if she was depressed or was unstable, she needed help, support, medical treatment – not condemnation.

      I would have felt differently (less sympathetic) if she had attacked someone in her disappointment.

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    • If her depression was due to domestic abuse, then it is a gender issue. Depression and mental health problems often develop in a domestic violence situation. Abuse does happen both ways, but it is quite clear that male on female abuse is much higher, thus making it a gender issue

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  3. From the link to the suicide note-
    “Some sections of the media and some film industry people are speculating that my daughter Jiah committed suicide because of depression related to her career. However the truth is that it happened only because of the trauma and the abuse she suffered at the hands of Suraj Pancholi and his father Aditya Pancholi.
    This I know from what Jiah shared with her sisters and me and also from this letter written by Jiah herself that I am attaching here with which was found three days later by my younger daughter in a wallet box belonging to Jiah when she was searching for some poems written by Jiah to be read out at her prayer meeting.”

    Ok.
    Let’s take this-
    “This I know from what Jiah shared with her sisters and me and also from this letter written by Jiah”
    So mom & the sisters knew about the ‘suffering, trauma and abuse’ by Mr Pancholi from previous episodes.
    So where is this ‘warm & loving Indian family’ I’ve heard so much about?
    Why didn’t mom, the sisters & anyone else who witnessed the ‘suffering, trauma & abuse’ step in to help Jiah?

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    • Exactly, if they knew she was depressed and low, shouldn’t they have counselled her, sent her to a psychiatrist, etc.

      Blaming someone after the fact is no good. I may be wrong…but a genuinely loving family at this time would be introspecting and mourning their own failure to stop this terrible thing, rather than immediately pointing fingers to the boyfriend.

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      • The family should have provided her support no doubt. But in cases of severe depression, (if that was the cause of suicide here) even the family can do only so much. I have interacted with more than one families who are dealing with depressed adults and although they are doing their best, they can’t completely control the life of these adult loved ones. It would be horrible, if they were ever to be blamed for any harm their loved one (god forbid) does to themselves.

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        • Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming them. Depression is very complex and dealing with a depressed person is very hard to do. I was just reflecting on the quickness of this family to start blaming others for her act.

          Ultimately, suicide is an individual personal decision, and my inclination is that no one is to blame for that.

          I know people who are depressed and their tendency is to magnify the negative until the positive is completely eclipsed in their life, I feel sad for the girl who has died and who felt that there was no escape for her.

          Also, the mail says “threatens to hit you”, it doesn’t actually say he hit her.

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        • I believe I read somewhere that Jiah had a history of depression & a previous suicide attempt?
          “According to Juhu police, seven months ago Jiah Khan, who was staying alone at the time, had attempted to slit her wrist and commit suicide due to depression, but was saved by Sooraj’s domestic help Deva.
          “After slitting her wrist with a blade, Jiah called up Sooraj who was at Worli to ask for medicines. Since Sooraj could not reach there on time, he had sent Deva to Jiah’s house and Karan’s sister had taken her to the doctor and saved her,” said a police inspector from Juhu.”
          From-
          http://freepressjournal.in/khan-had-attempted-suicide-7-months-back/
          Sounds like a desperate cry for help to me.
          However I can understand with the shameful stigma mental illness has & the general lack of awareness about mental illness among Indians this ‘cry for help’ may have been minimalized.
          In the US a suicide attempt like this would taken very seriously, and hospitalization would be advised.

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        • There is so little awareness about depression and other medical illnesses that probably the parents had no idea how to deal with it or maybe they did not even know it was clinical depression? Maybe they just thought she was behaving like a someone deeply in love (and not obsessed)?

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      • not really. ‘Sending someone to pschychiatrist’ doesn’t work- if some one in her family saw the depression and sadness, a caring family has to ‘take the person to the psychiatrist’. One has to remove time from your life, make appointments, keep a check if that person is taking medicine, go for follow ups, till the depressed person is on track and is able to handle himself/herself. Yep, however concerned a family member is mental health of someone else requires so much work ! In this busy ,cutthroat life i wonder how many brothers or sisters do so much for a depressed sibling. The amount of commitment required is enormous.
        The depresses person is more often than not in denial…just telling them to get help verbally is not going to work. Who wants to go to a shrink ?

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    • Samsara, I gave you a thumbs down cos you wrote ” where was the warm, loving Indian family” and why they didn’t help, which I feel, is pointing fingers at the wrong party.
      While the media should not point fingers at Pancholi, I feel that the fingers should not be pointed at ANYone in case of a suicide. Sure it could have been handled better and maybe she might have been alive now. Who knows!

      Maybe the family could have taken her to a psychoanalyst, if they knew what she was going through (IN HER HEAD, not her life). If they knew how serious a problem depression is and knew how to handle it.
      But in a lot of cases, it is very difficult to control a depressed mind. No matter what you say, nothing seems to help (I know, I’ve dealt with depressed people, and I’m no professional so I’m not equipped to deal with it!).
      Unfortunately, in suicide, there is only one person to blame. The one who committed it.
      Maybe Jiah was mentally so far gone that she couldn’t decide to get help. But it is highly possible that people around her were not aware of this. If they were and ignored it (why would they??) then it’s another case altogether.

      So if she decided to end this, it’s sad for her and her family and friends, sure… but placing blame on anyone else than her would be placing blame on the wrong person.

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      • Instead of placing blame on anybody, maybe we could create awareness about all the issues that contributed to the suicide,

        1. Lack of awareness about depression (clinical depression) or other related mental conditions. Blaming anybody including the family seems cruel here.
        2. Lack of awareness about Intimate Partner Abuse
        3. Myths about romantic love, one and only one love etc
        4. Definitely more talk about moving on and breakups.

        More?

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        • Of course, you say talk more about intimate partner abuse. But we do that here anyway. Unfortunately, according to the general Indian public, intimate partner abuse is meant to be suffered through silently if you’re a married woman, or if you’re not, you’re not supposed to be having any at ALL cos how DARE a woman have a relationship outside marriage!

          India’s problems are like a MORE complex version of Lernaen hydra, where not only does two problems crop up when you try to attack one, but they’re all inter-linked in some inexplicable way!

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        • 5. Abundant availability of relationship counseling services.
          6. Accessibility to these services, even for people who are not rich.
          7. Removing the stigma of obtaining any type of psychological services.
          8. Support groups and networks (which are an intermediate step, which involve people in the same situation, not professionals, and sometimes sharing helps)
          9. Less harshness and more compassion for fellow human beings.
          10. Building self-worth in kids at an early age. Teaching them to derive self-worth from internal factors rather than external ones. Helping them see themselves as unique and whole.

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        • Also, increased awareness about suicide and looking for warning signs, as well as when and how to intervene if you see those signs in friends, family members etc.

          I completed a Suicide Intervention training a few years ago, and the trainers emphasized that many individuals talk about their suicide plans with loved ones, and often, people tend to ignore these. It’s very important to take it seriously, because you might be the difference between life and death for someone you love. Of course, it could never be anyone’s FAULT. An individual makes the final choice to end her or his life, and you cannot help them if they do not want help. But, if you at least see the signs and try to help, they know there is someone out there who cares, and would like to see them alive.

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  4. While I agree with the points raised regarding the relationship angle leading to the suicide, I think this is an over-simplification of a rather complex problem.

    A major depressive disorder that may lead up to the attempt of suicide is not a simple cause-based phenomenon. Yes, it is possible and likely that the failed relationship did play a big role in the decision of suicide by the actress. But it appears to be a precipitating factor rather than the root cause of the suicide.

    As has been reported, she had been in a relationship with the guy since about an year. But she had been troubled with a failing career much longer before that. It is very common for a person to slip into depression when he or she faces failure in something aspired for desperately. Once into depression, a person tries to find other supports to lean back on in order to escape feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt or regret, helplessness, hopelessness, and self-hatred. And a love relationship works ideal in such cases.

    But if that too goes awry, the effect of it immensely lowers the threshold of depression. That is probably what has happened in the above case. It is a combination of failures in different aspects of life that led the actress to take the extreme decision.

    Stressful life events are strongly associated with the onset of major depressive episodes. It is also known from her writings that she had undergone an abortion. Now, apart from the social stigma associated with abortion, there is intense psychological stress on the woman having an abortion. That surely wouldn’t have helped the actress’s mental condition.

    And regarding the failed relationship, more than the social aspects of it, it is the emotional aspect that harms an individual in depression more than anything. The sudden feeling of loneliness and hopelessness is what instigates suicidal thoughts in an already depressed person.

    Yes, the social aspects of getting and staying married do play a role as pointed out in the post above. But in such a case as above, it is the emotional aspect that plays the deciding role for such a drastic step. I don’t think the actress was more concerned about getting or staying married. The very evidence that she didn’t wanted to let go in spite of the abuse is proof that she needed companionship more than anything to see through her other failures in life. Ending a relationship with a snap isn’t really an option for a severely depressed person who is fighting to avoid further loneliness.

    And maybe the final tiff between the couple pushed things over the edge for her to take the extreme step. Without blaming anyone for the suicide, we should realize that a person with major depression is not in a mental condition to think and act rationally.

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    • I agree. I think she wanted somebody to lean on more than anything else… I feel sorry for her. Loneliness, and rejection from someone you love is a terrible combination. Hope she rests in peace!

      Girls and boys should be taught to take a NO from someone.

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  5. I don’t see patriarchy and particularly the pressure to get married and stay married here. I just see a woman who was in love with a man who didn’t love her, who probably treated her badly and callously when she chose to invest a lot in him. And it seems like this was the final straw for her, she mentions rape, torture, in the past which seems unconnected to him. Even without patriarchy, being rejected and treated badly by someone you love can be very hard to deal with.

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      • I somehow feel that Jiah is not in the same category as women who commit suicide due to a perceived loss of honour. Also, while I know women stalking/throwing acid etc. is rare, I’ve heard of quite a few men threatening to commit suicide and in rare cases going ahead with it for love. The archetype of that male character is Devdas. I think it’s a personality type (in previous times called melancholic) coupled with stressful life circumstances.

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        • I’ve heard of quite a few men threatening to commit suicide and in rare cases going ahead with it for love

          I don’t agree this. In fact, there are many men who committed suicide. But no arrests of girls made for abetting suicides. There are many fools, who wrote love letters with blood. And became “Pagal” about their lovers. and committed suicide.

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    • @TheBride: Even I wondered about that bit in the letter:
      I don’t know why destiny brought us together. After all the pain, the rape, the abuse, the torture I have seen previously I didn’t deserve this.

      It seems like there was some abuse even before he came into her life? Maybe I am reading the letter wrong. But that’s what it seemed to me

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  6. To clarify, my comments are in no way meant to blame Jiah or the guy, this was a very unfortunate situation where I believe lack of awareness about clinical depression and stigma towards mental illness in Indian society was a big factor.

    After reading this note, honestly I am furious at idiotic bollywood movies that romanticize a version of “true” love which condones abuse/cheating/suffering all in the name of love. Why cannot they portray more realistic relationships where an individual still has their self-respect and worth intact? Love does not conquer everything and love is not enough to sustain a healthy mutually respectful relationship. Indian teenagers who grow up on this steady bollywood diet will have such a skewed perspective on relationships along with zero guidance from their parents as normal dating is highly discouraged.
    Back in the day when I watched hindi movies, Mohabetein was a great hit with Shah Rukh Khan and lots of dancing songs but had a tragic story line where the daughter commits suicide (falling off edge of the roof) when her father disapproves of the boyfriend. Why is suicide so idolized and considered an honor by paying with your own life? Why is life not considered worthy of living, overcoming challenges (broken relationships/failed marriages/dead careers) and coming out stronger? Oh well, such movies won’t sell with the bollywood crowd. I don’t watch Indian movies any more, if they have changed drastically in the past decade then do let me know a few good ones I should check out.

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    • Please watch Band Baaja Barat! Totally cool girl with ambition decides to start a business, guy is in love with her and tags along… totalllllly feminist movie! Annnd fun! Loved it!

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    • In Jism 2 Sunny Leone’s character writes her boyfriend a love letter using her blood and this was shown as this super romantic moment in the movie. I was so creeped out it was just too Fatal Attraction. If someone gave me a love letter written in blood I would be running in the other direction.

      This is the kind of scewed depiction of love bollywood is potraying to youth in India. India

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    • Same here. The more i grow older the more sickening and twisted indian movies seem[ some hollywood ones are equally bad]. Btw, i think Indian culture glorifies suicide subtlely – the practice of sati, the practice of ‘jauhar’ in ancient rajput women. The honor thing is big and deeply rooted- people prefer women to die instead of dishonoring family and men to throw acid to avenge !
      Its all intertwined with other cultural mores- modernity especially halfbaked modernity just confuses things more in young girls’s mind ! Parents bringing up daughters are themselves confused at so many critical times in their daughters’ lives -what to say and what not to say to their daughters !

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  7. I’d just read this earlier today. Have you seen this?
    http://www.firstpost.com/living/the-sexist-defence-of-suraj-pancholi-lets-scapegoat-jiah-868333.html

    It’s really sad that multiple parties including the author this First Post writer refers to .. all exploit such sad incidents for their own purposes rather than logically analyze issues that need more awareness whether it’s mental health issues or domestic abuse. Love the way this writer phrased her perspective.

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    • Eh. I think this whole issue needs a good dose of common sense injected into it. I really don’t see why you’re bringing patriarchy etc into it, IHM.
      I mean if this had been a normal suicide I think people would have been a lot more sympathetic. The fact that her boyfriend was arrested makes people a lot more defensive and they try to transfer the blame onto the girl.

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  8. I don’t see patriarchy here particularly either – I think even with genders reversed, the same situation could well have happened. I’ve seen several of my friends “lose themselves in love”, and while they haven’t really come close to suicide, they’ve often behaved like her – putting up with cheaters, sometimes abusive relationships, or going into depression for months and years together when their partner breaks up with them, and these have been both men and women.

    Maybe I lack empathy here because I’ve been in a stable relationship for a few years now, but I really don’t understand why so many people go crazy over people who clearly do not want to be with them (and on top of that are abusive sometimes!) I don’t mean women who are forced to stay married and don’t have a choice to someone who is abusive here, I mean those who get caught up in love, and minus social pressure want their exes to come back to them.

    I mean, sure, love is about passion and desire. But it’s also about comfort, commitment, support and stability. What good is your passion for another person when they can’t, or don’t want to give you some of the most essential ingredients of a relationship?

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    • Domestic abuse or Intimate partner abuse go through Cycle of Abuse, the abuse victim doesn’t realize they are being abused, they also lose self esteem and there are ‘honeymoon phases’ where they feel everything is going to be alright.It does make it difficult for those who want to help them.

      I think such suicides are Patriarchal because it’s mainly women who commit suicide (do take a look at the list at the bottom of the post), whether they are married or in relationships. Men seem to react to unrequited love with violence, like acid attacks or stabbing. Both the responses are patriarchal, men feel they are entitled to a Yes to when they propose and women feel their love, trust and suffering for the one they love should be reciprocated with permission to continue to love, take care and sacrifice etc.

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  9. OMG! Did they arrest the guy?!!! For what exactly?

    I mean, sure, he’s a douchebag maybe, but last I checked douchebaggery is not a reason for getting arrested (or else the jails would be full of such jerks!)

    I feel sorry for the girl, that she was depressed and of the impression that there is no life beyond what she thought was life. But that does not take the blame away from HER for suiciding!
    I mean, SHE chose to end her life, no matter WHO she says is responsible.
    To arrest someone else for a suicide is ludicrous!
    As much as I hate the dude, that guy does not deserve to be jailed for her suicide, no way!

    I feel suicide is one of the worst things a person can do to others. They take the easy way out and end it all, and the rest of their world – the parents, friends, whoever else, is left to suffer the after-effects! It is such a selfish thing to do!
    You can say she was depressed and whatever. But my sympathies always lie not with the person who died, but the ones who are left behind to pick up the slack for it all.

    No way dude! Indian system fails yet AGAIN!

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    • “To arrest someone else for a suicide is ludicrous!”
      So you mean to say that abatement of suicide should be invalid? Wasn’t there a huge hue and cry about punishing a DGP who was responsible for the suicide of a girl named Ruchika? Should she be blamed for committing suicide? It is not known if this guy Suraj actually encouraged or forced her to suicide. But it should certainly be investigated if he physically abused Jiah and he should be prosecuted for that if found true. Breaking up out of a relationship is no reason, but if he physically abused her to an extent of suicide, he should be punished.

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      • The the outcry in the case of the DGP was for letting him go when he was a rapist. Any punishment he would potentially face would be in lieu of raping the girl, not for her comitting suicide.

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        • The punishment should also be for harassing her and her family to withdraw the case. If you go through the details of the case Rathod made life very difficult for her and her family. He misused his power and position.

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      • Sanjay, abetting suicide is different from abusing someone emotionally or physically. Pancholi has been arrested for “abetting suicide”, when there is absolutely no evidence that he gave her the rope or encouraged her to commit suicide. All that is there is her letter, which says that he cheated on her, abused her and treated her extremely badly. If she were alive to prove these things, then the guy deserves to go to jail for abusing her.
        But jailing him for abetting suicide is not right.

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    • “I feel suicide is one of the worst things a person can do to others. They take the easy way out and end it all, and the rest of their world – the parents, friends, whoever else, is left to suffer the after-effects! It is such a selfish thing to do!
      You can say she was depressed and whatever.”

      This attitude is so prevalent among society. Not even Indian society, but society in general. People fail to realize that it is THIS attitude, this unsympathetic, tough love attitude when it comes to mental illnesses such as depression that cause people to commit suicide in the first place. They see that no one is willing to help them get out of their cycle, and so they take the only way out.

      Depression and mental illnesses are not “choices” that people make. No one wakes up in the morning and decides that they want to be depressed or bipolar. It is the result of a shift in the chemical balance of the brain that triggers such feelings of dejection and suffering. It is this shift that caused her to take her own life. Mental illnesses are not that much different from normal terminal illnesses that cause death, but I don’t see anyone saying that a cancer patient is at fault for dying. Why? Because no one chooses cancer. And once again, no one chooses to have depression. Her suicide is a sad, final consequence of something left untreated.

      When people are depressed, they often are unable to find the courage and strength to put behind poisonous environments, hence why she stayed in that relationship. She thought that perhaps if she could work on it, if it got better, she would get better too, without understanding that her issues are ultimately not related to the situation at hand.

      The day we start treating mental illnesses as something beyond the control of the person who suffers from it is the day we will see a decrease in the amount of suicides due to depression. They DO deserve our sympathy. Our sympathy for her situation is what could have ultimately prevented her from taking such a drastic step. If someone, anyone had noticed what was going on, seen the warning signs and gotten her proper, professional help without stigmatizing her situation, she would still be alive today and a much happier person.

      Instead, society turned a blind eye, and when things went to far, we condemned her for being selfish. But really, who was selfish here?

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    • When a person commits suicide it’s not something they do to others…it’s because they have no other hope or options left. The problem in India is the lack of understanding of mental health and consequently, the lack of assistance for the same. A person who is depressed is not thinking clearly. You might tell them to ‘get over it’ but it’s not that simple. I continue to work with depressed and anxious individuals as well as those with other mental health problems and trust me, they don’t choose to self-harm or commit suicide as a way to hurt others. And if they had a choice, they probably wouldn’t do it. Indian society needs to be educated when it comes to mental health. Until and unless that happens and the stigma goes away, you are going to continue to see people ending their lives.

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      • There are lots of different reasons a person commits suicide. Depression is only one of them. People commit suicide sometimes cos they want revenge, cos they are want to teach someone a lesson, or cos they’re just too ignorant to realize what they’re doing and the extent of damage they can do. I know of a 12yr old who drank poison cos his father scolded him. Do I blame the 12yr old? Do I think he was selfish? No, I just think he was too young to realize what he was doing.

        But yes, his death leaves a mark on everyone who knew him. His family will never recover from it. And it is not because anyone is feeling guilty, but because it is such an unnecessary loss of life.

        In this case this, Jiah need not have died. It needn’t have been this way. It is unfortunate that she killed herself, but placing the blame on her ex-boyfriend is not the right thing to do.

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    • //“I feel suicide is one of the worst things a person can do to others. They take the easy way out and end it all, and the rest of their world – the parents, friends, whoever else, is left to suffer the after-effects! It is such a selfish thing to do!
      You can say she was depressed and whatever.”//

      This.
      This is exactly the problem. We need education on depression. It is extremely hilarious and downright sad how people actually expect a depressive (a depressive!) to think of those left behind when they cannot think even for themselves. Is depression a choice? The next thing you know someone will say “How selfish of them to have got cancer or been born blind! It is the worst thing a person can do to others.”
      Nobody asks to be a depressive.
      I am not defending Jiah Khan’s action,I don’t even know for sure if she had been depressive. But such insensitive remarks about a condition that needs attention is what we don’t need.
      I have a friend who suffers from depression. He has a supportive family, wife and children and they take good care of him. Imagine if he had people around him who think this way?! Instead I wish more people are aware of this condition and seek help themselves and/or help others seek help, rather than blame.

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      • Like I mentioned in my comment, I have dealt with depressed people as well, and have tried my utmost help that person out. Said person has come very close to attempting suicide and she wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for divine intervention ( it is true that I did not stop her from suicide, but I also did not lead her to it).

        I agree that I’m not equipped to deal with depressed people,only cos I am not a professional, but saying that I’m insensitive based on my comment is uncalled for.
        If a depressed person came to me, I would not ask them to buckle up and just deal with it, if that’s what you’re thinking.

        And in Jiah Khan’s case, it was unfortunate that she chose to kill herself, sure.
        She should have made better choices. Sure , I sympathize that she wasn’t capable of making better decisions, but that doesn’t make the guy guilty of abetting suicide.

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    • The problem with douchebags is they pick a girl who is emotionally vulnerable but pretty, modern but traditional and someone they can manipulate. Manipulating and brainwashing is done all the time in indian families [ and in other societies too] the onus of sanity always lies on the person who is stuck in that situation. Suicides are horrifying- killing oneself cannot be easy. so i don’t think it is selfish. Which family picks up slack after their family member commits suicide?? Only the guilty ones – who saw the signs and didnt do enough. those who do enough just feel very sad and broken !

      The least that can be done after a suicide is definite probe by the police even if makes families, boyfriends/girlfriends , friends a bit uncomfortable for a short period of time !

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  10. You know what I think about suicide, IHM. Mental health issue regardless of the triggers just before the event. Think keeping suicide as a crime on the books or arresting people for abetting suicide do more harm than good. A person who ends up alive after trying to commit suicide can be arrested when it is clear that hospitalization is required.

    Writing in blood, continuously giving gifts, blaming, no evidence of showing responsibility for own action/life, seems a bit past the ordinary reaction of someone in a relationship, to me.

    I don’t see this as an issue of patriarchy alone, more of a neglect of mental health. While a lot of women commit suicide, many more live under similar circumstances and way worse. What of those people? There’s a resilience that overpowers the odds, right? Patriarchy is an over-arching problem for sure – for everyone, all the time. There’s more than just that out here.

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  11. All points taken, but to my mind, Jiah was depressed and certainly not ‘normal’. I find it shocking that her mother did not recognize these signs earlier and get her help. Or did she, but is playing up the victimhood post Jiah’s suicide. Let’s not make her death a sensational event. She was a misdirected kid and her death is sad, but I would not treat it as symptomatic of anything really.

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  12. I think the issue goes much deeper than what is presented here. Society in general is not kind to those who have mental health issues. They are often termed as mad, attention seeking individuals who choose their imprisonment. If Jiah Khan had, in fact, attempted to seek help, where would she have gone? It is doubtful that family or society would have been very kind to her. Heck, I doubt that even she knew she was depressed, what with the severe lack of information about such issues. She probably went looking for answers in her own wayward manner, and landed upon the problems in her life, namely her toxic relationship with her boyfriend (which was quite obviously a cause and a trigger. The guy in question is an idiot, but ultimately not at fault.)

    Also, if a society is not kind to married victims of domestic abuse, what are the odds that they would be willing to listen to an unmarried one? There were zero support systems for this girl. No wonder she committed suicide, she could see absolutely no way out. Her death is yet another consequence of our own shortcomings as a society,

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    • That is so true. the problem is compounded because in India there so few mental health doctors.At the same time, Depression is a very big word- the way it is being used here so callously for Jiah emotional outpouring is frightening to me. Mood upheavals, leading a loserish life, not earning /or not aiming to earn a huge fat salary, anger, drama queen attitudes -everything is swept under mental illness these days by laymen. Not being able to cope with life pressure is not same as fullblown depression.A good doctor knows the diference…otherwise we’ll have an epidemic of overdiagnosis of mental illness the way the West is having. More pills – just living with the help of pills.
      Another thing,
      Its not even necessary to be suffering from depression to commit suicide.
      Also even if you are being treated, there is no gaurantee that the person will not commit suicide !

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      • Of course not. It’s definitely not necessary to be depressed to commit suicide, it can be triggered by so many other things as well. But I’m sure Jiah Khan was in many ways unstable, given the nature of her suicide note. Bottom line is that she was a woman who needed help, but was ultimately unable to get it. She was not someone who was suffering from mere “Mood upheavals, leading a loserish life, etc.” And you are correct to note that it is wrong to sweep such things under a mental illness hat–it demeans people who truly suffer from those conditions.

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  13. In addition to patriarchy and the messages sent that a woman is incomplete without a man, I wonder if mental health awareness was much more and stigma much less, whether this could be prevented. Over here we see several teenagers who present to hospital after attempted overdoses or self-harm attempts following the break up of a relationship because they truly think that it’s the end of the world. They feel hopeless and worthless and do need a mental health professional to work through some of it with them to see that it’s not necessarily hopeless and worthless. I always wonder how many suicides can be prevented in countries like India if only the stigma attached to mental health disappeared and there were more professionals in the area…

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  14. Is it just me or does it seem you are having a difficult time IHM getting your readers to buy the “patriarchy killed Jiah” line? You sound a little desperate, evoking unrelated events like acid throwing, thus fishing for some knee jerk anti-male hatred to bail you out. It’s like when Saddam tried to bomb Israel during the Gulf War, desperately hoping to get the Arabs behind him.

    Your desperation is further obvious from the way you are bombarding people with terms like “Intimate partner abuse” and “Cycle of abuse” hoping to sucker punch them into silence. Unlike the “Water cycle” which kids learn in Std III, the “cycle of abuse” that sociologists learn during PhD is not a real thing. These are not scientific concepts, but made up jargon from sociologists. No one is intellectually intimidated by this stuff.

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    • @Abhishek after reading the comments I completely agree that even if social norms/patriarchy etc triggered the suicide, it could have been triggered by many other things too, and that the main cause of the suicide was depression. Patriarchy without the depression, would probably not have led to the suicide, but depression without patriarchy could have still caused her to take her own life.

      I am not sure if acid throwing can be caused by depression, though it is related to Patriarchy.

      Understanding Cycle of abuse and Intimate Partner Abuse would help those who are supporting or dealing with abuse victims, I have linked to the source. Why do think it is not a real thing?

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  15. An absolute waste of life! Many women who have no father figures end up searching for strong support in boyfriends. She shared a strong bond with her mom n sisters, too bad they didn’t realize what she was upto.

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  16. Hi IHM,

    I love all your blogposts and I always eagerly look forward to them. But this is the first time your post left me unsettled. The writer in that particular article talks like he either knew them closely or like he is some expert on psychology.
    Which I can be pretty sure he is neither, and is just some guy looking for cheap publicity.
    The tone of his letter is extremely judgemental and insensitive.

    And who exactly is this person, to question and comment on how she should have been raised?

    All I want to say is that… Suicide is a very complicated thing. What happened to Jiah Khan was extremely sad. Who is ANYONE to comment on what she should have done?

    That said, I’m not glorifying suicide, or saying that it was the right solution or it’s the right way to deal with things. And no, I’m not defending her.

    What’s my point here? My point is, leave her ALONE. Let her rest in peace.

    Again, as a parting note, it pains me to point out that this writer too so easily and conveniently blames her parents while not questioning even once how Suraj Pancholi, who he makes out to be some poor little victim in this whole thing, could have done with some good parenting too. He has been arrested on suspicion of rape and physical violence and not merely because he “left her”.

    In a gist, we do not know what went down in their relationship and so we have no right to speculate why who did what and play the blame game.

    Victimization is not good, of either of them when we aren’t sure of the facts.

    http://heema09.blogspot.in/2013/06/of-feminism-bad-journalism-and-jiah.html

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  17. Often a person who chooses to die does so because he/she has lost hope for a solution to his/her problem. It’s an act made out of utter desperation. We need to get it in our heads that suicide is not easy, painless, cowardly, selfish. I find the level of discourse around Jiah’s suicide galling and reprehensible.

    There are no clear answers to what compels some people to take their lives. The causes of a person’s suicide are hard to pin down considering we as general public are frequently not privy to a lot of information about the victim’s life and the circumstances and contributory factors that must have led to this tragic event. At times even a single upsetting event can lead a person to end her/his life. The constant commentary about Jiah’s suicide by people in media who assume that they are some sort of expert when they aren’t even sure of the facts is deplorable.

    Mental health issues, illness, high aggressive behaviour, unhealthy social norms about what is appropriate masculine or feminine behaviour, societal double standards and taboos, prejudice, discrimination, alcoholism, significant/intense stress or extreme distress, subordinate status in society, emotional, physical or sexual abuse, enormous pressure and unhealthy expectations, marginalisation, idealisation of self sacrificial heroism, displacement, poverty, unemployment, financial hardships, social isolation, stigmatisation, Family/relationship problems/disputes or conflicts/ breakups, marital dissatisfaction, lack of sanction for love marriages, unrequited love, twisted ideals of honour and shame, bereavement, education problems, lack of social resources to draw upon are just some of factors that may compel a person to contemplate suicide. All of these factors need to be talked about and discussed.

    The male-female suicide ratio in India is about 1.5:1. In some age-groups it’s women who outnumber men in committing suicide, in some age-groups it is men who outnumber women and then in some age-groups an equal number of men and women commit suicide. Further, unlike other developed and western countries suicides in India are increasing committed by young people. A lot of women commit suicide because of dowry disputes, domestic violence, out of wedlock pregnancies, not having children, separation or divorce from spouse. These are gendered issues. But so is the committing of suicide by men who are not allowed to ask for help, who are supposed to be super-strong and not show a tinge of emotion lest they appear effeminate. All these factors need to be analysed, dissected and addressed appropriately and people found to be high at risk must be provided with proper support and skills to prevent suicides.

    Regarding your analysis of Jiah’s letter in the context of Jiah’s suicide it may be or may not be accurate but it does bring forth one issue-that of co-dependency, the rehetroic that the unconditional and self sacrificing love of a good woman is potent enough to change a bad, uncaring, abusive or womanising man and unhealthy societal pressure of maintaining a relationship at any cost that plagues our society and may contribute to suicide of people.

    I’d like to point out one more thing that is, even though to our eyes, there appears to be too many red flags in the relationship between Suraj and Jiah- the one that Jiah describes in her letter, there are reasons why people tend to stay in unhealthy, incompatible and abusive relationships. First of all, it could be that Jiah thought she had invested a lot in this particular relationship and there was no going back. She could have felt hopeless, helpless and trapped. It could be that she believed that she could change Suraj and the course of their relationship after all the society keeps drilling it into people’s head that love conquers all or that a person can truly change another person if they tried. It could be that she was fearful of making big changes in her life or felt insecure about living alone. Cultural constraints may have been an important reason. Maybe she thought that her family wouldn’t understand and support her if she divulged all the details that she had divulged in this letter to Suraj. She may have felt that she lacks social support and Suraj is her only support system.
    She had also had some failures in her life (like a normal human being), a lot of people have said that her career was going downhill or had become stagnant and therefore it could be that she had started to exclusively focus on her relationship with him, become too attached to him, to the idea of them being together. Probably she thought that she’d find solace in pursuing a relationship with Suraj. It could be that she felt guilt over the failure of this relationship and took the rejection as a sign of being good for nothing.
    All of these could have contributed to her suicide but these are simply conjectures and not facts. The point of this whole exercise is to try to sympathise if not empathise with such people. They should not be vilified and certainly not glorified. Our media and a lot people who consume such tragic news for their voyeuristic pleasure have failed to accord dignity and respect to Jiah and her family. There is fine line between sensitive and intelligent reporting or suicide and sensationalism of the issue.

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