From the Inter Press Service, writer Sujoy Dhar tells us about one professor who is studying the issue.
"India has become the suicide capital of the world," says Daya Sandhu, a counselling psychology professor at the University of Louisville in the U.S.
As a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Scholar at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, India, Sandhu spent five months in India last year researching suicide trends in the country.
"While I was in India from January to June 2010, I was troubled to read headline news almost on a daily basis about students, farmers, and housewives hanging themselves, jumping before trains, taking poison, and committing self-immolation," says Sandhu.
In India, one farmer committed suicide every 32 minutes between 1997 and 2005, according to P. Sainath, a writer on Indian poverty who calculated the statistic from National Crime Records Bureau figures.
Farmers and students are most at risk.
According to the latest statistics of India’s National Crime Records Bureau, 127,151 people in India committed suicide in 2009. This indicates an increase of 1.7 percent over the previous year's figures.
Suicide is a great social leveller in India, Asia’s third largest and one the world’s fastest growing economies with a projected GDP growth of 8.6 percent from 2010-11.
Sandhu says that though the media highlights the issue, the Indian government turns a blind eye to the problem at all levels - local, state, and national.
"There is no awareness about depression in India," says Sandhu.
Interviewing a large number of students in India, Sandhu found academic pressure, parental expectations, marriage tension and relationships to be the primary causes of suicide among young people.
"I was stunned that all the students I interviewed mentioned that at least 70 percent of them have a prem rog (love sickness) and they live loveless lives," Sandhu said. "They do not feel anchored anywhere. There seems to be no genuine parental love, but only conditional love. They are also strictly prohibited to engage in romantic love, as there is no dating system."