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Monday, February 1, 2016

Pressure to succeed blamed for youth suicides - Gulf News

Students in Kolkata complain of inordinate peer and family pressure that often drives them to see death as an escape

Monisham, Priyanka and Saranya

Published: 17:20 January 27, 2016

Kolkata: The pressure to succeed in various board and competitive exams is pushing students to suicide, which they often believe is the only escape route they have, experts say.

The death of three girl students at a naturopathy college in Tamil Nadu’s Villupuram district is shrouded in mystery, with police registering a case of suicide and parents calling it murder. 

The bodies of T. Monisha, A. Saranya and V. Priyanka — all students of SVS Naturopathy and Yoga College — were retrieved from a farm well near the college on Saturday evening. Villupuram is located around 170km from Chennai.

“There is enormous pressure on us to perform both at the board and various entrance examinations, which are often described as make-or-break by our parents,” said Sudip Mallick, an engineering student at Jadavpur University.

“None of these exams are easy, as in India exams are conducted not to know what we know but what we don’t know. Along with it comes peer pressure which often becomes unbearable pushing many to commit suicide,” he added.

According to police, a case of suicide has been registered as the three students ended their lives allegedly after the college management demanded high fees, although it lacks basic facilities.

Many students cite Farhan, the character of famous Bollywood movie Three Idiots, as a perfect depiction of their lives.

In the movie Farhan wanted to become a wildlife photographer, but was pushed to engineering since, a path his father had decided on from the moment he was born.

“The story is so true for most of us. Since my grandfather was a doctor and so are my parents, my life was sealed at the moment of birth,” said Rishav Dasgupta, a medical student in Kolkata.

“The whole world had come to a conclusion, including my teachers, that all I can become is a doctor. But somewhere I wanted to become musician, but did not even have the chance to spell it out.”

Others narrate the horrifying moments when they even contemplated suicide. In India, one out of every 12 students is said to have planned committing a suicide at some point.

Dipak Sanyal (name changed) recalls the horrifying moments when he attempted suicide for not having cracked a campus interview with a US based company in IIT-Kharagpur.
“Looking behind, it all seems silly. But at that point it seemed like the only escape route,” he said.

“Everyone was rooting for me to crack that exam which would be the icing on the cake for my brilliant academic results and the hard-work that my parents had put in.
“It was seen as the perfect gift a son could give to his parents for all the sacrifices they had made.”

Now Sanyal, who often gives motivational talks to upcoming engineering graduates on how to deal life pressures says, “After my failed suicide attempt I learnt that there was no bigger joy than that of living life. I could have crippled my parents for life had it gone right.”

Most students Gulf News spoke to shared a similar story, few also talked about the inability befriend girls leading to suicide attempts.

“Being educated in boys school only girls were always distant object of admiration but was always hesitant to befriend in fear of being rejected.

“During college years having a girlfriend is a huge thing and my inability to even talk to a girl drove me to depression,” admitted a final year student of an engineering college.