What makes a young celebrity who is the cynosure of millions to take her life is a question that plagues us today. Is it the lifestyle of these young celebrities to blame or the pressures that they face from society at large to continue to be beautiful, successful and likeable.
Jiah Khan’s untimely death by suicide reminds me of the 27 club – young Hollywood and international music stars such as Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Brittany Murphy who all died due to drug overdose blamed on depression or other mental malaise. These stars had it all wealth, adulation and international recognition for their talent and yet despondency and depression made them take their own lives. This phenomenon is true even of young students some of whom are unable to take the pressures of academic performance and even ragging or hazing from fellow peers which drive them to commit suicide. Such tragedy was the central theme of the acclaimed and successful Ámir Khan starrer -The Three Idiots. Hence, you do not have to be a famous celebrity to be affected by society at large. The young are fragile and often their silent cries for help go unnoticed or ignored by the ones closest to them.
Did Jiah Khan’s family and friends have no inkling that she was mentally distraught and so anguished that she was about to commit such a horrendous act? Do parents, teachers, friends of young students have no way of knowing that a 15 year old is planning to jump off the terrace of his high rise building because he may not score 90% in his board exam as expected by all? We as a society need to take responsibility for this and pay attention to our youth. This is a wakeup call to educate ourselves on the perils of depression (leading cause of suicide) of being a clear and present danger.
The outpouring of love for Jiah Khan from the Bollywood community is touching, the millions of people who watched three idiots is encouraging BUT has the message reached people that we need to go beyond platitudes and block busters. Lets try and build better ways to communicate, be more sensitive and give the more fragile souls a fighting chance to face a tough, competitive and sometimes hostile environment. This involves all sections of society to play a very constructive role. We need to seriously consider revamping our present regressive quota/reservation based educational system, initiate government programs and messaging campaigns to spread awareness about depression, ragging, and other issues affecting the young. And most importantly at the individual level and in our homes meaningful discussions should be started with our children in order to better prepare them for the future.
Today we all know who Jiah Khan is let us not forget her tomorrow – let her death not be in vain.
By Richa Kaura
Image Source : IANS