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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

278 - To Die For - Indian Express

Sreenivas Janyala : New Delhi, Sat Feb 09 2013, 21:50 hrs

Why "love failure" stalks the young men and women of Hyderabad

On January 23, a 24-year-old postgraduate student Kiran Kumar hanged himself in his hostel room in Barkatpura, Hyderabad. His friends told the police that he had been preparing for competitive exams. But the trigger, apparently, was not academic pressure. He had fallen in love with a girl. When his overtures were rejected, he locked himself in his room for a couple of days. The body was found soon after. He did not leave a suicide note.

A research scholar at BITS Pilani in the city, T Manjushetty, had a crush on a girl who was his junior. When she married another man last year, he was heartbroken. On the day the newly-married girl resumed classes, he jumped to death from the third floor of his hostel building.

"Love failure" is a silent malaise stalking young men and women in Andhra Pradesh, with several instances of techies, engineering students and research scholars, succumbing to the despair that follows a setback in love or courtship. The police say that unrequited love is the most probable trigger in the many suicide cases that they encounter. 

"In 2011, there were 15,077 suicides in Andhra Pradesh, of which nearly half were related to disappointments in love,'' an official of the Central Crime Station in the city said. Authorities say that Andhra Pradesh is next only to Tamil Nadu in what they call "love failure suicides".

Many of these luckless romantics do not leave suicide notes in order to protect their beloveds from trouble—both legal and familial. If their decision follows a break-up, they ensure that tell-tale text messages, phone numbers and emails are deleted before they take the extreme step. It is only through friends that the police come to know. Some even keep their one-sided romances a secret from their friends. A few leave hints.

"I am heartbroken because of failed love. I will not bother you again, my dear,'' said the suicide note of Naresh Reddy, a PhD student of University of Hyderabad who swallowed poison in his hostel last January.

Police officials say that it is usually a combination of poor academic performance, unemployment or family problems with a failed romance that drive youths towards suicide. "Failure in love is often the last straw. We have seen cases in which students confided to their friends that they were worried about their studies but committed suicide when their lovers rejected them. Many of these youngsters get involved so obsessively or become so possessive that they are unable to take a no. A rejection takes on the meaning of failure in life,'' an official said.
Telugu cinema and popular culture shapes ideas of young men as obsessive romantics, who will not accept a no. "Telugu movies show the hero doing things so brazenly — aggressively accosting women at bus stops or on trains, in front of classmates, hugging them, teasing them with dialogues that have double meaning and often threatening to kill himself — all to win the heart of the heroine," says Andhra Pradesh Mahila Sangham's leader PA Devi. She also links this to the fact that the state leads in violent attacks, including acid attacks, on girls and women who spurn love-struck youths.

In Hyderabad's colleges and cafes, young men and women out on dates cheerfully distance themselves from such zeal. 

Srivinodh Raju, a student of AV Arts College, says he has been "fielding" outside two tuition classes and one college because he is in love with three different girls. "I may not be lucky with even one. But it is OK, I will move on. Only one among the hundreds and thousands who are in love commits suicide," he says. "One-sided love affairs are also so common but of the thousands of students, one or two fail to accept the reality of life.''

There is also a growing band of young people who fall in love on the internet, without meeting their sweethearts. Some men are known to have deposited money so that "she" could travel to meet him. The outcome is predictable. MCA graduate N Narasimha Reddy of Guntur, who was living in Hyderabad, chatted for hours online every night with a woman from Nalgonda. His friends in Hyderabad told the police that he had never met her but fell deeply in love. When his marriage proposal was rejected, he went into depression. He hanged himself in his friend's room. Police found the printout of a girl's photo but suspect that it is not her real image.

The CID department of the Andhra Pradesh police received over a dozen complaints last year from heart-broken women whose "lovers" turned out to be online fraudsters. In one instance, a 23-year-old woman, who was an MBA, fell madly in love with a man after seeing his photos on a social networking site. They decided to get married right away. But when she suggested they meet, he cited a kidney ailment and family hardships, and requested for her help. The love-struck girl borrowed over Rs 10 lakh and deposited it in his account. She realised the fraud eight months later. Police arrested her lover who turned out to be a dwarf with a fake profile on social networking sites.

Even among the heart-broken, there is a gender divide. There are no statistics to support it but officials say that more men commit suicide over "love failure" than women. "A girl committing suicide over an affair is still considered a major embarrassment to the family. So the jilted girls just carry on in turmoil so as not to bring shame and dishonour to their family. In the few cases of suicide, they give such bizarre reasons as an unbearable stomach ache, which is the most common reason found in suicide notes, or poor academic performance,'' says Inspector E Srinivas of the Central Crime Station.

A corollary of obsessive love is violence and there have been cases of men attacking women who spurned them. Last September, two engineering students from Hyderabad were killed in Guntur when the motorcycle they were riding rammed into a bus. It soon became clear that this was not an accident. A suicide note was recovered from the young man, M Saidu Babu Kumar's shirt pocket. Guntur Rural Inspector M Paul recollects: 

"It appears that his girlfriend S Krishnaja broke up with him a couple of days ago. Kumar plotted his girlfriend's murder when she told him that she had fallen in love with his friend and they had been going around even while she kept up the façade that she was in love with Kumar." His suicide note said that he could not accept the treachery of someone he loved so much and he decided to kill her and commit suicide. It would be, he had told her, their last ride together