.. by Prof Rahmat Karim Baig
Suicidal cases in the district of Chitral have risen in the past few years but they were not unknown in the past. This is more common among females compared to males as a heritage of male dominant society. The provincial government has also taken notice of this grim issue and investigations are to be held in the near future by experts to find causes which are said to be illogical in many cases . This is the present situation of the society but in the past Chitral has seen such cases quite frequently. The main reasons for this extreme step were attributed to:
1. Mother-in ?law vs. daughter-in-law relations.
2. Child/ Early marriage custom of Chitrali society.
3. Arranged marriages without considering the like and dislike of the would be spouses
4. Class consciousness complexes
6. Lack of parenting skills
But at present the overall structure of the society has changed due to :
1. General Education.
2. Co education
3. Religious education
4. Electronic media
5. Competitive trend
6. Peer pressure
7. Refusals to marriages based on class complexes
8. Absence of guidance classes in the educational Institutions
9. Easy access to communication system.
11. Family relations
12. Sentimental heredity
13. Exposures and misleading general knowledge
14. Recreational night clubs or entertainments
There was a phase of history when Chitralis lived in extended families and the elders looked after the kids in the homes and gave them lessons in various fields of rural culture. They did show personal examples and instructed their kids and grand children in all types of daily activities but even then there were some suicidal cases owing to a number of reasons but the domestic issues were perhaps the main ones that a mother ? in-law victimized an in efficient daughter-in-law and she either went back to her parents or committed suicide. I remember one of my neighbours had this type of internal quarrels every other day but it was not owing to the bad temper of the mother- in ? law but between the spouses themselves and the lady left the house to drown herself into the nearby river every week and an elder brother of her husband used to catch her before she did commit it and many a time the lady was found sitting on the bank of the river with her feet in the water when a rescue worker saved her. In fact she was just frightening her husband and was not serious in her decision. This type of tactic was used by a woman to frighten her husband that her brothers would demand blood money for their sister and thus he will be in trouble- double in this type of situation that
a. He will pay the blood money
b. He will have to marry another woman and get into debts for the expenses.
There were other reasons as well when a woman felt the ill designs of her husband due to bad relations, would resort to this type of action or fearing assassination for suspicion of infidelity entertained by her husband and committed this act but carried the stigma of infidelity after such a suicide. They also feared their parents and could not bear the victimization by her husband or mother-in-law and when both sides were found blocked/ unfavourable so it became her last option. At that time there was no question of right or wrong by judgment of any court of law, but often such domestic issues between spouses were resolved by elders of both sides and peace was restored. The option of conflict resolution was one of their tools and the elders resorted to it from time to time. The suicidal step was the last option in this series where the issue happened to be between the spouses but at the present scenario most cases are reported as unmarried young girls and boys do commit it compared to married women. In the past the head of the family or all the male members of a household lived at home and did not travel to overseas employment so they were near to watch their children?s growth and behavior but today a good number of heads of families come back from overseas jobs after two years during which their children enjoy complete freedom and learn many negative qualities in their absence and care little for their mothers.
The present trend is an outcome of the current culture that has dominated our society where the actual role of parenting has been ignored and irresponsibility of elders has substituted it, leading to this stage of moral degradation where sons and daughters have not learnt fortitude regarding their obedience to parents and reasons like:
a. Sentimental and immature thinking,
b. bullying by relatives/class fellows
c. mental disturbances,
d. lack of counseling,
e. lack of interest of the parents or their negligence of family responsibilities,
f. lack of character building precedence,
g. unbridled use of electronic media in immature hands etc. may be the causes.
h. Failures or frustrations
i. Unemployment and family burdens/ issues
j. Drug abuses/ boozing
Some solutions could be tried based on the norms and culture of the areas like:
1. Parents vigilance committees
2. Counseling in the Educational Institutions/
3. Control of drugs
4. Leniency and fortitude in family matters
5. Elder?s special reconciliation committees for conflict resolutions
.. Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig, Chitral 09 Jan 2019