About The Book:
The first of its kind in India, this is book about 100 issues that will determine the course of one of the biggest elections ever in the history of modern, independent India.
An election that could transform India and set the bedrock for the future. From financial scams to climate change, from why so many people die of cancer in India, to abysmal standards of women safety, from how much does it cost the Indian parliament to function per minute and how much time does it waste, to how much food grain India wastes every year, the number of hospital beds and operation theatres in India, from the comparison of arms and ammunition between India and China to ever heard of the library scam in India – these are the 100 things that matter the most in the world’s largest democracy, issues that India ought to be and is talking about before Poll 2014 which will be an inflection point in the history of Indian democracy.
An extract from the book:
Why do people kill themselves in India and what does that say about our society?
If you look at suicide data from the NCRB , in 2012, a total of 120,488 Indians killed themselves. That’s more than a lakh and twenty thousand of us who decided that life was not worth living. Why?
The highest number of people who killed themselves was due to “family problems”. Now you might assume these family problems might be financial problems (no, they are not, bankruptcy and financial problem related suicides are separately listed). In fact all the other things one can think of – divorce, dowry, illicit affairs, ‘fall in social reputation’, poverty, unemployment, physical abuse, it is all listed separately.
Apart from all this – above and apart from all this – there were more than 30,000 people (30,792 to be precise) dead from ‘family problems’. That’s the society you and I live in. That’s the Indian family values we are so proud of. What are these ‘family problems’? Your guess is as good as mine but both of us, you and me, have a sneaky, uncomfortable feeling at the moment, don’t we, that we might just know what some of these problems are?
The fact is that India today has one of the scariest, most dysfunctional societies in the world where the modern and the traditional, the liberated and the patriarchal, the unfettered and the claustrophobic are colliding with terrible consequences.
And those are not the only numbers in the crime report that are worrying.
‘Love affairs’ made 3,849 kill themselves in 2012. Failure in examination killed 2,246. Can you imagine? Failing in love and failing in a test so hurt many Indians that 6,095 of them just did not want to live!
Reports suggest that between 2006 and 2010, student suicides in India went up from 5,857 to 7,379 or, as The Times of India calculated, in 2010, every day, 20 students killed themselves.
What is it about our notions of education, about success that drives people so insane that failure means, literally, the end of their life?
Think about this – if our collapsing societies, destroyed homes and families, suicidal students are not vital conversations on which our politics and governance is based, then what worth is that politics, why debate that governance?
‘Suspected or illicit relation’ caused another 1,018 people to commit suicide, interestingly almost equally divided between men and women. ‘Cancellation/non-settlement of marriage’ caused 810 suicides. Again almost equally divided between men and women.
Then, ‘fall in social reputation’ cause 981 suicides, the disturbing thing here – and reason I believe Indian notions of patriarchy must now be reconsidered – nearly 70 percent of this number were men. [Buy the book on flipkart]
About the Author:
Hindol Sengupta is a Jamia alumnus, and the author of The Liberals (Harper Collins, 2012), which documents, among other things, his years at AJK-MCRC, JMI. He graduated from AJK-MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia in 2004. He is the founder of India’s only open government platform the Whypoll Trust. Whypoll’s work has been reported across the world including in The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, BBC, Al Jazeera, Voice of America and AFP. Whypoll is at the forefront of data visualisations on government data and has worked closely with the UN Millennium Campaign, UNICEF, and the office of Member of Parliament Mani Shankar Aiyar in converting the 2013 Panchayat Raj Report. Whypoll is now dividing the Indian constitution and the 12th Five Year Plan into a series of tweets to bring those documents to the social media world in an easy to access way. Hindol Sengupta also works as Senior Editor for the Indian edition of Fortune.
He can be reached via emai at: hindol.why[email protected]. You can also find him on twitter @hindolsengupta
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