Nirupama Pathak 23, a Delhi based journalist was found dead in her parents’ home in Koderma, Jharkhand.
Her mother said she was electrocuted while cleaning the ceiling fan. Later she said Nirupama hung herself from the fan and left a suicide note (no rope found say police). The police was not informed until 18 hours after the death.
According to the medical report, Nirupama could have been smothered with a pillow and she was 10-12 weeks pregnant (Her fiance says he wasn’t aware).
The police thinks this could be a case of Honor Killing.
Knowing how Indians view premarital pregnancy as a blow to their culture, nothing can be ruled out.
Suicide is seen as the appropriate, unwritten penalty for a premarital pregnancy in our society.
It is possible that the Nirupama took her own life if her fiance refused to marry her.
Our society does not acknowledge a heart break as traumatic because heart breaks are a result of premarital relationships and we do not believe in premarital relationships.
Did Nirupama need emotional support?
Maybe an abortion, some time, some counseling, a hope for a second chance in life and a much needed hug could have saved her life?
It is possible that the mother tried to show a suicide as an electrocution. Suicide by an unmarried girl is seen with suspicion.
1. An unmarried young woman can kill herself for not doing well in exams. Such suicides are not dishonorable and are excused with sympathy for the parents.
2. A married young woman can hang herself. Most unfortunate but perfectly honorable. Better than walking out of a bad marriage anyway.
3. An unmarried young woman might commit suicide for any reason, but the parent’s peer group would wonder if it has ‘something to do with a boy’. A man in a girl’s life is considered most dishonorable.
Good Indian Girls are not supposed to interact with men and here she interacted enough to fall in love, maybe sleep with and maybe get pregnant. The parents’ peer group would find the time to analyze how they ‘never suspected’ or ‘always suspected‘ that she was ‘that‘ kind of girl.
Most Indians are conditioned to be intimidated by malicious gossip. So if she did commit suicide, even in their grief Nirupama’s parents could want it to look like an electrocution.
While some suicides are dishonorable, premarital pregnancies and inter caste marriages are even more dishonorable. So it is possible that they drove her to kill herself.
And if she was too reluctant to kill herself, it is also possible that her mother did smother her with a pillow hoping to pass off her death as suicide.
Nirupama Pathak’s parents had options.
1. If the couple wanted to get married – they could give them their blessings.
In a country where thousands of girls are killed in, being forced to go back or are dying-everyday in bad marriages – how could the parents not be delighted to see their daughter find happiness and love?
Did they fear her choice was wrong? She was 23. They should have respected her decision. The Supreme Court does.
2. What if her fiance was not willing to marry her?
Many would see that as the worst possible calamity to fall on an Indian daughter’s parents. A Bollywood father would hang himself from a ceiling fan or throw the girl out. Where do Indian family values go when a daughter needs them?
Read more about our attitudes when it comes to daughters, on Kislay’s blog. [click here].
They could have advised her to have an abortion. If they were afraid of the doctor ‘talking about it’, they could have come to Delhi where Nirupama worked.
3. What if the girl did not want marriage or abortion?
She would have been well within her rights to choose that.
If they couldn’t handle that, they could have told her to live her life her way and cut off all ties with her. That’s an honorable, face-saving thing to do in our society. Their all important peer group (biradari/samaaj/community) would have respected them for it.
Where then did death, suicide or killing come into this?
Do parents who can’t make the best of an unfortunate situation and at least stand by an unhappy child – still believe that they deserve to have children?
Important Note: Anyone heard of Priyabhanshu Ranjan?