Why do some students suicide in IITs?

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Author: Venkiteswaran      Post Date: 13 May 2023        
Taking away life whether of own or others is not legally, morally, socially, or even religiously accepted nor allowed nor tolerated. I pray, God, forbids such traumatic events. Let us expressly abhor and talk and work to prevent suicides from happening.

Just because something is legally not allowed does not mean that it cannot occur at all. There are systemic deterrents and also a need is keeping people with normal social and mental health too. Suicide is understood to be the reaction of helplessness and sometimes on impulse by people who cannot or who are not prepared to cope with the stress and troubles they face.

Now, on the topic of suicides in IITs, the first reason all can deduct is the pressure of studies and exams. It is true that compared to other higher education institutions, colleges, and universities, IIT students have higher work pressure with their studies. The challenges of post-IIT career and education prods them to spend more time on studies, coaching, projects, internships, etc. robbing their time of socializing, entertainment, and plain free life.

Though most students can cope with this pressure with their time management strategies and life-study balancing, a very small fraction of students who may not have support in any way may take the extreme step of erasing themselves.

A study data says that about 61 students from IITs, NITs, and IIMs committed suicide during the last five years. Half of them were from IITs.

As per the statement given in Parliament on March 15, 2023, there were 30 cases of suicides in ITTs between 2018 and 2022. In 202 till now here are three cases. However, the statement added that "Academic stress, family reasons, personal reasons, mental health issues, etc., are some of the reasons for such suicide cases,"

Apart from academic pressures, Isolation, loneliness, failure in love life, inferiority complex in comparing with peers, ragging, not getting a boyfriend/girlfriend, financial problems, drug abuse, family problems, peer/cyberbullying, body shaming, etc., etc. also add to reasons for suicide. Even religious or caste or other discriminations are also alleged in a few cases.

Friends and teachers can do a lot to identify hints of suicidal tendencies in their classmates and hostel mates. They should give confidence and needed support to such vulnerable students. If their problems can be identified, a solution is easy. Such students should not be left alone but ensured that they are always engaged in positive and creative activities and healthy social mingling. Hints can be gauged from the student's social media postings, responses, and status updates.

Suicide is not a problem in IITs alone. The whole society and the world are seeing an increase in suicides. India is just 41 in that order with a suicide rate of 12 per one In India, even the literate State of Kerala has a suicide rate of 24+. And IITs have an overall total student strength of between 85000 to nearly one lakh.
That does not mean I trivialize the IIT suicide. We have to take caution to make it NIL.

Suicide is not a solution to any problem. It may seem the end of it for the victim but can create lifelong problems for the surviving family members r even friends. Life is to be lived with health and happiness. That is purely in our hands and mind. Let us inculcate in every student the staunch will and courage to face any challenge in life.
Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao      Post Date: 13 May 2023        
I understand that since 2018, there were a total of 64 suicide cases recorded from IITs, NITs and IIMs put together. Of the total cases registered around 50% are from IITs only. These statistics were presented by the Union Education Minister, The government of India in the Rajya Sabha, recently. 31 cases are from IITs, 24 are from NITs and the remaining are from IIMs.

There may be many reasons for suicide. But ultimately the weak Mind of the individual will only be the reason. In human lives, there may be many problems. Some may be small problems and some may be severe. The individual should be able to face them and try his/her best to come out of them. But some people who are mentally weak may get psychologically affected and go for such acts.

In my opinion, going for a suicide is the act of a coward. This life is a gift of God. We should live it to the maximum possible extent. But terminating the same at an early stage is in no way good, I think. Instead of facing the problems boldly, running away from them is not a solution.

Generally, the standard of education in all these standard institutes will be very high. If any sub-standard students get into these institutes through reservations etc, the stress on such students will be very high and they may not be able to cope with others in their studies and may go for suicide etc. Later on, the reason may be shown as discrimination and official apathy, I think. In my opinion, the main reason is the ability of the individual in coping with the standards of the institutes.

Another issue is change of specialisation in second year. IITs and NITs.allow meritorious students to opt for changing their branch after completing their first year.Some students who could not obtain in the desired branch will work hard to get good score in first year so that they can get the specialisation as desired by them. This will also increase stress on students. Now, I understand, that this facility is being withdrawn.

In addition to the above, there may be many reasons. Academic stress, family reasons, personal reasons, mental health issues etc are some reasons for these suicides. Counselling to weak students by psychologists and other competent persons may reduce the number, I feel.
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