According to the latest data by WHO, suicide accounted for 1.4 per cent of all deaths worldwide, making it the 18th leading cause of death in 2016. Moreover, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its latest survey made a shocking revelation that in India, one student commits suicide every hour.
At a time when government and NGOs are working hard to educate and support emotionally vulnerable people and prevent suicides, the news of a group of students planning to glorify it under the guise of ‘creative writing’ by organising a ‘suicide letter writing competition’, sounds, for the lack of a better word, utterly stupid!
Shatabdi Boys’ Hostel’s literary and cultural fest, Udbdhan- The Awakening 2019 has been promoting a creative ‘suicide letter writing’ competition. The event will take place at Allahabad University on February 22.
The event titled (highly insensitive) ‘Aakri Alfaaz’ requires the entrant to pay a fee of Rs 50 and submit a ‘suicide letter’ of 250-400 words. The letter can have poems, verses and so on. And of course, there’s a cash prize for the winner as well.
Going by its name, Udbodhan – The Awakening is surely awakening people but in a horrendous way!
A Mumbai based NGO, Sisters Living Works, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness on suicide prevention in Mumbai has condemned the student’s stupid initiative. They have called them out for organising such an insensitive competition.
“About 800,000 people die by suicide worldwide every year and of these, 135,000 (17%) are residents of India. It has been only 2.5 years since two students from Allahabad University resorted to suicide. Instead of being vigilant about mental health wellness, this writing contest offers a platform for participants to deliberately think in a way that challenges them to experience the aching emotions of ending one’s life”, they said in a statement.
A creative writing competition can be about anything under the sun, but that doesn’t give anyone the liberty to turn a blind eye towards the hopelessness experienced by those who are suicidal. This mockery in the name of writing competition should be scrapped immediately.