Recently I came across the story of an old couple living in Charni road (South Mumbai) who are seeking “active euthanasia” from the President of India, but without success. You can read the details here:
They are in good health, and they don’t want to wait until they are afflicted with some serious ailment and have to undergo an immense amount of suffering to die. Logically speaking, if we have the right to live, we should also have the right to die. But do we really have the freedom to decide when we want to die?
This leads me to think that:
70 Years Since The British Left India, We Are Still Slaves
Even after 70 years of independence, we are not living a fully independent life. Previously we were at the mercy of foreign law, now we are at the mercy of our own country’s laws which makes suicide illegal.
These people, they need help, not the ‘pep talk’ kind of help but REAL help. They have led an honest and simple life, judiciously decided not to have children, and now want to end their lives while they are still in the pink of their health. Yet, their euthanasia application is being refused. I truly admire how forward thinking they are; they are truly living the life of CHOICE, something that most of us human beings don’t. Usually we live our life by others’ choice:
a) Our parents get to decide what clothes we should wear, which school we would get admitted to, which job we should strive to get etc.
b) After marriage, it is our spouse (most of the time) who decides how we should live our lives, when we should eat and sleep, where we should go for vacation, etc.
c) And who gets to decide when we should die? Many would say God, which is by the way a completely fictional entity made by man himself in the primitive age. Personally I think that it is the country’s law which gets to decide it, even if indirectly. Think about it: you cannot select the time and process of your death; if you try to do it, you are committing an illegal act. Thus, the only option left for you is to suffer painfully for weeks or months with an incurable disease, be a burden to your family and state resources, before you die (very few are lucky to die of a heart attack, in their sleep).
How interesting it is that we the human beings, we the most superior of all creatures living on earth, we who are bestowed with the power of CHOICE by nature, seldom use it! Why? It is human nature to maintain the status quo. People resist change; they will do anything to maintain the status quo, even if that means:
a) Studying a course they have no interest in (just because their parents or peers told them that it would land them a good job)
b) Going for an arranged marriage with an ugly, fat and mean person (because that person will bring in a large bounty of wealth for the parents in the form of dowry)
c) Doing a job they don’t want to do, getting abused, harassed and assaulted by the BOSS and still continuing to do the job
d) Having kids whether or not they want to (because parents, relatives or neighbors will think badly of them if they don’t have kids within 5 years of marriage).
e) Admitting their kids in the most expensive (it may not necessarily be the best school but it would help maintain their social status in the neighborhood) school.
f) Watching TV soaps and day dreaming and fantasizing about having a spouse like the one they see on screen: dashing, handsome, sexy.
And so on. This is the kind of pathetic life that 90% of people live. Very rarely do they get to decide anything about their live: it is always the OTHERS: parents, the uncle, the neighbor, the spouse, the (grown up) kids, etc., who get to decide how they should live their life. They simply have no power to make crucial decisions for their lives.
And that, my friend, is how the society and the state wants you to live. They want you to be a follower, because it is easy to subdue and enslave a follower. However, you have the power to decide for yourself and therefore I believe you should have the freedom of choice. We already have the power to decide whether we want to study according to our parents’ whims or as per our choice, we have the power to decide whether we want to be a corporate slave or the rest of our lives or become self employed, we already have the power to decide who we want to get married to and if we want children or not, we already have the power to decide what we want to do with our bodies after our death; it is just a matter of whether you are ready to fight to live life your way or not. What we don’t have, is the power to decide when we want to die. When we are old and our kids treat us like dirt, the most we can do is to move into an old age home where again we get treated no better than the dogs (no, wait, dogs actually get better treatment nowadays; I have seen several women treat their pet dogs better than they treat their boyfriends): everything from living conditions to food is horrible; besides of course it is a waste of state’s resources (we are already such a poor country that we cannot even afford to give everyone a horrible job).
I have believed this for a long time and I have kept shut out of fear about how people may judge me in a negative manner. But now I don’t care. Some people judge me whether I speak or not and others ignore me anyways, so it does not really matter how anyone thinks of me as a person after reading this article. If anyone wants to unfriend me for having a different opinion, feel free to.
I am 32, and it is quite possible that in another 32 years I may get married, have kids, fulfill all my duties and the purpose of my life and decide that I have lived my life through its full course and now want to call it quits when I am still in good health. But I can’t. Even if I try to and fail, I will be jailed.
In other words, we are living under the mercy of the state.
This 90% of powerless people would continue to live pathetic lives, I am sure, and I don’t need their help. I need the help of the 10% who have already decided that they want to live by choice and die by choice, because that is how my friend, revolutions get started. If you say YES today, those 90% of followers would also say YES tomorrow, after all their job is to follow the trend, is not it? Let us all unite and make the President aware that we don’t want the law to decide how we should die; we want it to happen by OUR CHOICE. No one, not even the state, should have the right to say how you should live and die; it has to be 100% YOUR choice, otherwise I cannot say that we are truly free.
When you are young and powerful, you get respect. When you get old and feeble, you get ignored or thrown out. A king is nothing without his throne, and that is exactly what happens to people in old age once they retire from their jobs. Not surprisingly a lot of people get depressed in old age and commit suicide because their kids don’t treat them well. Is not it better to call it quits rather than live a life of ignominy? I am sure many would disagree, and that is fine; if you want to live your life the pathetic way, more power to you. This couple does not want to, and I know I don’t want to. All my life I have lived a life of choice, even if that meant fighting with my parents every single time for it, then why should I let someone else to decide how I should die? Why should the state have the right a say in it? I don’t know about you but I am quite independent-minded; I have never begged to anyone for anything be it money or work; I am not fond of living under anyone’s mercy, and when I am old and feeble, I don’t want to be at anyone’s mercy either or be a burden to others.
And while we are at it, we should learn to ignore all those hardcore theists who say that it is against God’s will for a human being to decide the time of death for God alone has the power to give and take life, and those condescending, self-appointed protectors of status quo: who think they are doing us a big favor by telling us how ‘meaningful’ life is. The only legit argument against it could be: such a law that allows a citizen to die by his own discretion can be misused. Yes, it can and will be misuse no doubt; someone might murder senior citizens and say that they died by their own choice (pretty extreme example; it is not hard to distinguish a murder from a doctor assisted suicide) or someone young and depressed could use this law to commit suicide. But then again, lots of urban women in India misuse 498-a (dowry harassment) and rape laws, sending innocent men to jail; does that mean that we should stop having those laws? Nope. In the same way, probable misuse of a law by a few should not be an excuse for not having the law in the first place.