The difference between suicide and murder has a very thin margin in the Indian jurisdiction. These are two separate entities, but when the former is driven by something or someone, it is murder.
While the 31 year old anesthetist (at AIIMS)-Priya Vedi-committed suicide, the entire nation sympathised with what she endured in the five years of her marital life. Her suicide note on Facebook went viral, but little did we think why she was driven to take this extreme step and leave her blooming career in the middle.
Certainly, a doctor at AIIMS does not have any less of a prospect as an individual or a professional. AS is evident from her letter, when she says "you took away my life from me and that you are a devil", she knows very well that suicide was wrong. Clearlt, it is difficult to describe a person's psychology when he going through extreme depression or frustration.
But, is that all? It is important to analyze how we, as a society, have failed an individual(s), whether this situation could be avoided by making certain simple changes in the social or legal mindset. Are we not the cause of someone's 'death'?
Controversial rape laws killing both worlds
The main point of contention in Priya's case was the sexuality of her husband, which was hidden from her for five years. The responsibility landed on her to continue with her 'wifely' duties, despite having doubts about her husband. It was she who gathered information about the sexual orientation of her husband from his mobile calls, smses and laptop.
When confronted, her husband took a defensive stance saying that his gadgets were infected by virus. But years later when he came up with the truth, it was late. Priya had decided what to do with her life and she succeeded. The story would find Priya as the lone loser, but one cannot ignore the fact that the truth was hidden from her by her husband, for some reason.
Forget the social stigma that the LGBT community faces, they are also wounded by the country's law, which considers homosexuality as unnatural and a criminal offence. On 11 December 2013, for instance, the Supreme Court of India nullified the 2009 judgement by the Delhi High Court, and ruled homosexuality to be a criminal offence. In its judgment the Supreme court bench of justices G. S. Singhvi and S. J. Mukhopadhaya stated:
"In view of the above discussion, we hold that Section 377 IPC does not suffer from the vice of unconstitutionality and the declaration made by the Division Bench of the High court is legally unsustainable."
Clearly, Kamal Vedi (Priya's husband) was scared to lose his honour and his career for the alleged sexual orientation. This, adding to the frustration of not being able to fulfill his husbandly duties and being deprived of his sexual rights, drove the marriage to a carnage. Needless to say, a part of him was already dead.
Society takes the better off the couple
Priya and Kamal both were walking a tightrope to prove their conjugal relationship. While Priya was willing to accept Kamal's orientation and get along with it (despite the fact she would be deprived of her sexual rights), Kamal was unwilling to give in to the impression that Priya was the "all-giver" and he was the "all-taker". Call it the male ego at work or the way society wishes to see a man different from a woman, but Kamal wanted dominance in any way possible.
He started hurling abuses at Priya and allegedly harassed her mentally for dowry. The society came under the impression that it was Priya who was at fault and the indignation was targetted at her.
Priya correctly pointed out:
........I never told this to anyone (that they did not have a conjugal life) because I was in love with him I thought one day everything would be okay. But than he started to find faults in me and my family........And at last night he tortured me emotionally so I am unabl to take breath with him . And last Dr kamal vedi I loved you a lot and I return you took my all happiness from me. You are not a human being you are a devil , who take away my life from me. If someone in our society is like him please don't marry to a girl to save yourself , you people by doing so not playing only with someone emotions also with a girl and her family's life. Dr kamal vedi I never wanted anything from you but due to your abnormal sexuality you thought you think I need sex from you it's wrong. I just wanted to be with you accepting you because I loved you very much but you never knew importance of this . You are a criminal Dr kamal vedi of my life .
A psychological analysis
Evidently, women depend heavily on their partners for their peace and happiness. According to a report by the Mail Online, evolutionary psychologist Dr Nick Neave rom Northumbria University, said that women are "fundamentally programmed to need men".
He explains how a woman (irrespective of being a homemaker or a professional) looks for a security from her husband and worries about his loyalty. He explains,"....if their forebodings come true, women are more inclined to forgive an affair than a man if the shoe is on the other foot. That's not because they're nicer, more easygoing individuals. It's simply because their primeval urge to hang onto a male provider is so strong."
Neave, specifies that this is the scenario even if women are at the prime of their career and well-established financially. According to him, this instinct dates back to the premieval era where en were hunter-gatherers and women were child bearers.
"Females are smaller and weaker than males so, in prehistoric times, women and their offspring were prone to being the victims of predators, and violence.
They needed the support and protection of men who didn't just have brute force but also had social status in the group, either through their sheer physicality or the strength of their personality. That's why women still look for a mate of higher social standing."
He further adds:
Men find it extremely hard to forgive an affair. This dates back to early man's horror of unwittingly raising another man's child. However, women are predisposed to be more tolerant of affairs. It comes down to brutal economics. The thought of your husband having sex with another woman may be devastating. But even worse is the prospect of him pouring all his financial resources her way. It is that instinctive need to rely on a man which makes women so afraid of abandonment. Perhaps that is why women are more attuned to their partner's moods and curious about tiny aspects of his life. And they are much better than men at spotting liars. Evolutionary psychologists are convinced that these are in part throwbacks to a woman's need to maintain her relationship at all costs.
But is suicide the only option?
No, it is not. Take the instance of the Bengaluru techie who got arrested by his wife under Section 377 after coming to know about his homosexuality. An option that is available for everyone to avail. In such circumstances, suicide cannot and should not be an option. But as Neave says,"n evolutionary terms the huge cultural changes over the past generation amount simply to the merest blink of an eye. It could take another 10,000 years for women to change their thinking."