Book Review – Man’s Search for Meaning – Dr Viktor E. Frankl


Life is a wonderful journey of ups and downs, happy and sad moments, good and bad experience etc. The meaning of life is found when one identifies his purpose which is of course, subjective. How to find that meaning? The classic book written by Dr Viktor E. Frankl gives the answer. This book provides a different way to life and has the power to change the perspective towards life. Before going to the review, it is important to understand the background of this book.

The Background: This book revolves around the three years’ experience of Viktor Frankl during World War II. During World War II, he had to spent three years in various concentration camps like Auschwitz, Dachau and other concentration camps. As the book says, it is the classic tribute to “hope” from the Holocaust. Holocaust was the genocide of Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II. Around six million Jews were murdered or killed by the Nazi Germany in the German occupied Europe during those years. Auschwitz camp was the dominant symbol of holocaust. As a holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl wrote memoirs of his experiences in this book. Surviving from the holocaust and developing the “logotherapy” technique, Viktor Frankl journey is commendable. The book contains a dedicated chapter on logotherapy.

In order to understand why the book is a tribute to “hope”, one can understand the experience of a man who spent three years in various concentration camps wherein death was common punishment for prisoners. There are several incidents mentioned in the book how people were carried to gas chambers and killed. Prisoners in concentration camps were having no hope whether they will see the outside world or not. This book is about survival and a man can survive when he had some reasons to survive. If there is no reason to survive, there is no reason for existence which creates what is known as “apathy”. Every prisoner suffered a lot, and these sufferings were the motives for many to commit suicides apart from normal killings. Suicides happened due to lack of hope.

It is important to note that this book was written in 9 successive days, as mentioned in the Preface.  

About the Author

Dr Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997), born in Vienna (Austria) was the founder of logotherapy. He was the author, psychiatrist, neurologist and a holocaust survivor.  He was Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School. He was the founder of what has come to be called the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy.

Viktor Frankl, PC: Google

He had written 32 books that have been translated into 26 languages. Man’s Search for Meaning is a classic book with millions of copies sold.

About the Book

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how”. This quote from Nietzsche is mentioned several times in this book. The meaning is clear, one should know the “why” to live. That why comes when one knows the meaning and purpose of his life.

The great task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life, as stressed by the author in this book. The author describes poignantly the prisoners who gave up on life, who had lost all hope for a future and were inevitably the first to die. They died less from lack of food or medicine than from lack of hope, lack of something to live for. Author kept his hope alive, and that hope kept him alive.  

This book is an inside story of a concentration camp said by one of its survivors. The prisoners in concentration camp went through several atrocities and “one five-ounce piece of bread was their only food in four days”. The thought of suicide was entertained by nearly everyone, if only for a brief time. The readers might be surprised to know how prisoners committed suicides. They committed suicides through “run into the wire”. This was a phrase used in camp to describe the most popular method of suicide – touching the electrically barbed-wire fence. Ever wondered there can be most popular method of suicide? There was a time when prisoners did not fear death. Even gas chambers lost their horrors. The author had described these experiences of concentration camp.

The author had described the experiences in concentration camp in three phases, based on the inmate’s mental reactions to camp life. These three phases are: the period following admission, the period when he is well entrenched in camp routine, and the period following his release and liberation.  The last phase was only a dream till it happened. Hope was the force behind survival including the author. In one of the incidents, a prisoner was firm and hopeful that he will be free on 31st March and he did become free but through death. The author had described this incident how and what kept him alive till 31st March.

PC: Google

The book had a very important incidents when prisoners started to have “apathy” feeling, the blunting of the emotions and the feelings that one could not care any more.  This made them insensitive to daily and hourly beatings. The author calls this “apathy” feeling a very necessary protective shell for survival as it became the necessary mechanism of self-defense.

The author had brilliantly explained the meaning and the role of sufferings in life. Life is incomplete without sufferings. According to author, suffering is similar to behaviour of gas, which can be understood by the below extract from the book

It is possible to practice art of living in a concentration camp, although suffering is omnipresent.To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behaviour of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.

Suffering is omnipresent and absolutely relative. It fills the human soul completely. If analysed and thought peacefully, it is true. The author had beautifully explained what is known as “provisional existence” which prisoners in concentration camp was having. Their existence was provisional as the sufferings had no end. A man who could not see the end of his “provisional existence” was not able to aim at an ultimate goal in life. This is the reason why a day in camp lasted longer than a week. The author sees such suffering in other way as such sufferings sometimes opens the gateway of opportunity to grow spiritually. This is the test of inner strength.

The author sees life in different perspective. What we expect from life does not matter, it matters what life expects from us. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfil the tasks which it constantly sets for us. This is really inspirational way to look towards life as life is not “vague”. Human life, under any circumstances, never ceases to have a meaning, and that this infinite meaning of life includes sufferings and dying, privation and death.

The book has such kind of eye-opening extracts which has the power to change the mind the perspective towards life. There is a dedicated chapter on logotherapy as well wherein the author who itself had developed this technique, had explained this concept in simple and understandable manner. Logotherapy focusses on meaning of human existence. This meaning is unique and specific and must be fulfilled by him alone. Man needs “something” for the sake to live or else it will be a “provisional existence”.

This book is an inspirational read. The journey of survivor from holocaust and finding the meaning of life is well described in the book. There are many who have always complains towards life because of the sufferings and obstacles they face. This book is a must read for them.

Lastly, I would like to conclude the review post by sharing a sentence from the book itself which is self explanatory.

Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete.

After reading the review post, share your views and what you think is the “meaning” of life, in general.

Ashish Kumar

Book Review – Ikigai – Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles



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Life is a journey of moments. Be it happy or sad, one should accept it. Learning form life experiences make us better and help us in our day to day activities. Adding values to our life cannot be a one-time activity and so is the personal development. There are many books on personal development, but the book which I am covering here is little different. Life without a purpose has no meaning and the book, IKIGAI – The Japanese Secret to Long and Happy Life, emphasizes this a lot apart form living in present.  Before going into the depth of the book, it’s important to be aware some aspects in order to understand the book properly which is given below.

The Background: As per WHO, Japan has highest life expectancy in the world. Also, Japan has highest ratio of centenarians in the world: more than 520 for every million (as of September 2016). IKIGAI is a Japanese concept meaning “the happiness of always being busy”. The book brings the lifestyle of an island namely Okinawa, in Japan. Okinawa, where there are 24.55 people over the age of 100 for every 100,000 inhabitants, far more than global average. Going further, Ogimi, a rural town of the island having a population of 3000, has the highest life expectancy in the world. This is the reason behind Ogimi to be called as “Village of Longevity”. Not only they live longer but also suffer from fewer chronic diseases like Cancer and heart diseases, inflammatory disorders are also less common. Having highest life expectancy and highest number of centenarians in the world and it’s a blissful experience to know about the lifestyle of people living in Okinawa. The book covers the same.

About the Authors

IKIGAI- The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, is written by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. The book published in 2017 is an International Bestseller.

PC: Google

Hector Garcia: Born in 1981 in Spain, Héctor García is a citizen of Japan, where he has lived for over a decade. He is the author of several books about Japanese culture, including two worldwide bestsellers, A Geek in Japan and Ikigai. A former software engineer, he worked at CERN in Switzerland before moving to Japan.

 

 

PC: Google

Francesc Miralles: Born in 1968, Fransecs Miralles is a Spanish writer, essayist, translator and musician. He is an award-winning and internationally bestselling author of books about how to live well, together with the novels Love in Small Letters and Wabi-Sabi.

 

 

About the Book

The book provides an energetic rhythm towards life and does motivates to be positive. The book tries to make readers to identify their IKIGAI. Fast moving life has made life a race and in turn we forget to be happy and hence welcoming toxic thoughts. The book is full of positive vibes. Based on the lifestyle of people living in Okinawa, the book covers Secrets of being happy and living long, antiaging, staying young while growing old, IKIGAI diet, being resilient etc.

The book stresses a lot on having clear purpose in life, living in the present, doing exercises/yoga etc. Diet plays an important role in staying heathy and “Okinawa Diet” is well discussed across the globe. In fact, the mortality rate from cardiovascular disease in Okinawa is the lowest in Japan and diet plays a major role apart from doing exercise/yoga. There are separate chapters dedicated for diet and exercised promoting health and longevity. They eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, rarely eat sugar, consumes natural antioxidants etc. The book briefly covers wide exercises including yoga, which originates from India.

The book talks to the point without stretching. The first chapter itself starts with “The art of staying young while growing old”, provides an everlasting impact which build a rhythm of reading rest of the book.  According to the Japanese, everyone has an Ikigai hidden deep inside each of us, and finding it requires a patient search”.  In Okinawa, people don’t retire as having a purpose in life is so important in Japanese culture that the idea of retirement simply doesn’t exist there. There is a brief discussion about the five Blue Zones identified and analyzed by Dan Buettner in his book “The Blue zones” and Okinawa holds first place.

Stress is one of the most common problems in today’s fast-moving life. The negative effects of stressful life is well known and the book discuss the same. As stress has degenerative effect over time, it is one of the major elements which kills longevity and happiness. However, looking at the other side, the authors clearly suggests taking little stress is good. Intense stress is dangerous while low level if stress is beneficial.

As mentioned previously, the book focuses on having a purpose in life. A separate chapter is dedicated for having a purpose in life. There is a fruitful discussion of life with/without a purpose. Having a purpose gives meaning to life which provides energy to achieve it which in turn keeps us busy. The book covers logotherapy and psychoanalysis and their differences which are ways to identify purpose in life. Having purpose in life eliminates existential frustration and existential crisis. Existential frustration arises when our life is without purpose. Existential crisis is typical of modern societies in which people do what they are told to do, or what others do, rather than what they want to do. They often try to fill the gap between what is expected of them and what they want for themselves with economic power or physical pleasure, or by numbing their senses. It can even lead to suicide. One should discover meaning of their life rather than creating it.

PC: Google

In the book, there is an interesting discussion about multitasking and concentrating on single task, flow and distraction. One should have a flow in life which comes with a clear objective or else vague objective gives confusion. Many people are multitasker today and those who aren’t, try to be a multitasker. According to the authors, multitasking reduces productivity, IQ and creativity whereas concentrating on single task increases the same. One interesting suggestion provided by authors is to go for ‘Technological fasting’ at least once in a week. Technological fasting refers to staying away from whats app, facebook, internet etc.  When you have a clear objective and flow, hours pass smoothly with mind focussed on your work which you enjoy. These are substantiated with several examples.

One of the most interesting part of the book is it bring brief story about those who are supercentenarians- people who lived 110 years or above. There is a dedicated chapter which covers their lifestyle. Jeanne Calment (1875 – 1997) is the oldest person of verified age history, who lived for 122 years. Isn’t it interesting to know their stories who are supercentenarians?

The book not only covers the diet, exercises, antiaging, stress and its consequences etc but also brings about the various culture of Okinawa and how they had maintained a proper balance between culture and technology.

One of the motivating factors the book suggests is to be resilient. Resilience is our ability to deal with the setbacks. Resilient people know to stay focusses. The reason behind one should be resilient enough is to concentrate on the things one can control and not worrying about those one can’t. Meditation helps a lot in becoming resilient and focused. Worrying about things that are beyond our control achieves nothing. We should have a clear sense of what we can change and what we can’t. Most of the problems in life occurs not because of things that happens but how we react. As life is impermanence, live in the present as present is the only thing we can control and feel. The book is a blissful read with eye opening materials bringing optimism and eliminating pessimism.

The book concludes with an epilogue which provided 10 rules of IKIGAI and the first being stay active; don’t retire, apart from live in the moment, reconnect with nature; to name a few.

Some of the main reasons why one should read this book is of course the longevity factor, happiness etc but there is one more reason I found is mentioned below which is an extract from the book itself.

Okinawa is one of the areas in Japan that were most affected by World War II. As a result, not only of conflicts on the battlefield but also of hunger and a lack of resources once the war ended, the average life expectancy was not very high during the 1940s and 1950s. As Okinawans recovered from the destruction, however, they came to be some of the country’s longest living citizens.

Isn’t it interesting to know about the lifestyle of such a place which was once affected badly by World War II?  Lack of resources and hunger, the life expectancy was not high that time but looking today, it has achieved the highest life expectancy in the world with the greatest number of centenarians and supercentenarians.

Please share your opinions on this review post. 🙂

– Ashish Kumar

It requires Courage to commit SUICIDE…


Death is the ultimate truth as it is one of the rarest events which is certain to happen in life. He who are born will surely die as nobody is immortal. There can be many reasons of death like malnutrition, hunger, disease, injury or accidents, death due to natural calamity etc. One of the other reasons for death is suicide. Suicidal death is a serious concern which is rarely discussed and debated. Death is certain but committing suicide is right or wrong? This question is debatable and is subjective in nature. Needless to say, Suicide is a crime and this crime is not punishable unlike others. Suicidal deaths happen across the globe. In this article, I have tried to cover this burning topic of suicidal deaths.

India is a large country both in terms of area and population and the country had faced and is facing many issues. The question arises whether suicide is an issue? Looking at the suicidal death figures, one can get the glimpse of it. The statistics mentioned in this article is based on the Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) 2015 report published by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India. In fact, suicidal deaths in India is more than 130,000 per year as per the NCRB data. Let’s look at the suicidal deaths from 2011 to 2015 as mentioned in below table:

Table 1: Suicidal deaths in India
Year Suicidal Deaths
2011 135,585
2012 135,445
2013 134,799
2014 131,666
2015 133,623
Source: Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) 2015 published by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India

As it can be inferred from the five years data, suicidal deaths in India is more than 130,000 per year. In fact, the average suicidal deaths for the above mentioned five years comes out to be 134,223 per year. Further, calculating the average suicide in a day from 2011-2015, it comes out to be 368 (134,223 / 365 = 368). It means 368 people are committing suicide in India on daily basis. Further, 15 people commit suicide per hour (368/24 = 15).

Breaking it further, incidence of suicidal deaths is not distributed equally throughout the country. Some states have large number of suicidal deaths and some have few. In fact, it is largely concentrated in few states. In the year 2015, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal were top 3 three states in suicides as mentioned in below table:

Table 2: Top 10 states in suicidal deaths in the year 2015
State Suicidal Deaths Percentage Share
Maharashtra 16970 12.7%
Tamil Nadu 15777 11.8%
West Bengal 14602 10.9%
Karnataka 10786 8.1%
Madhya Pradesh 10293 7.7%
Telangana 10140 7.6%
Kerala 7692 5.8%
Gujarat 7246 5.4%
Chhattisgarh 7118 5.3%
Andhra Pradesh 6226 4.7%
Source: Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) 2015 published by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India

Maharashtra accounted for 12.7% of suicidal deaths in India in 2015 followed by Tamil Nadu and West Bengal with 11.8% and 10.9% of suicidal deaths respectively. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh accounted for 8.1% and 7.7% of suicidal deaths respectively. Combining these top five states, they accounted for 51.2% of suicides reported in the country, in 2015, and rest of India reported 48.8% suicides. It is important to note from the above table that Uttar Pradesh which is the most populated state (17% of country’s population) in the country is not in the top 10 list. In fact, Uttar Pradesh had reported comparatively lower percentage share in terms of suicidal deaths, accounting for only 2.9% of the total suicidal deaths in the country in 2015.

Apart from the top states with suicides, let us have a look at the major cities in India where suicidal deaths are in ample amount which is mentioned in below table:

                                Table 3: Top 10 Major cities with suicidal deaths in the year 2015
City Suicidal Deaths
Chennai 2274
Bengaluru 1855
Delhi 1553
Mumbai 1122
Pune 873
Ahmedabad 869
Hyderabad 728
Surat 663
Indore 528
Nagpur 483
Source: Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) 2015 published by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India

Chennai heads the top of the list when it comes to suicides in major cities followed by Bengaluru and Delhi. There were 2274 suicides in Chennai in 2015 followed by Bengaluru and Delhi having 1855 and 1553 suicides respectively in 2015. As we know, New Delhi is the capital and Mumbai is the financial capital of India, Chennai can be said as the “Suicidal Capital”, on a lighter note. All the major cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai etc have reported more than 1000 suicides in 2015.

The Big Picture

One important characteristic of human being is courage and courage is required many times in life. There are many adventures which people like to do which requires courage. Courage is required in taking tough decisions and tackling unwilling situation. In fact, it is often required to take daring and courageous decisions in life.

When a soldier is fighting with the enemy, he must be fearless and courageous to defend his nation. When a student disqualifies in his exams or job recruitment, he should fight back with proper preparations which requires strong determination. Imagine a situation where nothing is in your support (financial, moral or familiar) and you are determined to pursue your goals going against everyone, taking such kind of decision require immense courage. When farmers bow seeds in rainy season, courage is required. There are many famous personalities across the globe who have proved themselves with their strong determination and courageous decisions.

Having said that, what makes people to commit suicide. What makes them to take such decision? It can be poverty, love affairs, unemployment, hunger, financial problem etc. As per the ADSI report, 27.6% of suicidal deaths in 2015 happened due to family problems. The other causes of suicides are mentioned in below table:

Table 4: Percentage share of Various causes of Suicides during 2015
Causes Percentage Share
Family Problems 27.60%
Illness 15.00%
Causes not known 12.10%
Marriage related issues 4.80%
Love affairs 3.00%
Bankruptcy or indebtedness 3.30%
Drug Abuse/Addiction 2.70%
Unemployment 2.00%
Failure in Examination 2.00%
Other Causes (Poverty, Physical abuse, Professional/Career problem etc) 26.20%
Source: Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) 2015 published by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India

From the above table, it can be inferred that family problem was the major cause of suicides in 2015. Tamil Nadu recorded the highest number of suicides due to family problems. There were 7377 suicides due to family problems in Tamil Nadu in the year 2015. The second most cause of suicide is illness accounting for 15% of total suicides. Unemployment and failure in exam accounts for 2% separately.

From the statistics discussed above on number of suicides and causes of suicides, suicide is a major concern, but it is rarely discussed and debated. There are many problems one faces in his life but ending own life solves the problem?

Committing suicide requires enormous courage. Every decision in life requires some courage but committing suicide requires the most. Ending one’s own life is not feasible and suicide cannot be the solution of any problem. Think the other way around. If someone has the courage to decide to commit suicide, why can’t that courage should be used to solve the problem? There are some points which I would like to raise…

  • Committing suicide requires courage. Why that courage is not used to solve the problems which compels the person to commit suicide?
  • Ending one’s life and leaving the family members alone is good?
  • Committing suicide is the toughest decision and if someone can take such decision which requires enormous courage, that courage should be used to tackle the situation which compelled the people to commit suicide.
  • The person who commits suicide leaves a forever pain to his near and dear ones. The person who commits suicide gets rid of the problem, but his family suffers for long. A void is created which is impossible to fill.
  • India, where 368 people and 15 people commit suicide on daily basis and hourly basis respectively, why this issue is not raised and what can be the solution to minimize the same?

What is your take on suicide? Is it justifiable to end own life or that courage should be utilized to solve the issue? While reading this article of mine, some of you may think that I am being philosophical by raising such query but frankly speaking, this is a concern which was in my mind for many years and hence thought of putting before you. In fact, I have raised this issue in one of my previous articles titled “Suicide – Right or wrong?”, the same can be read here.

Please share your views. Would be happy to have insights from all of you on this rarely discussed issue.

– Ashish Kumar

Solitude – Pleasure or pain?



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Solitude is one the situations which often makes or break confidence, relations, mindset, perception etc. It is the state or situation where one feels alone or lonely. Human nature wants to be known and admired and solitude is just opposite where one finds himself to be detached from everyone. The reason of being felt lonely can be many like not getting what desired, love failure, introvert nature, jealousy etc. The repercussion of solitude is sometimes harsh even leading to suicidal death which is startling and extreme. One of the main consequences of solitude is that people lose hope and get depressed. Losing hope is that state where one finds nothing positive for himself and negative vibes starts accumulating in mind.

Feeling of loneliness is not new and one feels lonely several times in life. Some of the common reasons behind solitude are love failure, failure in innovating something new, break up in the relationships etc. If you are a song lover, you might have came across many songs which are solely based on solitude. When people fail in love, they think they are nowhere and they are the one who finds themselves the loneliest person in world. When someone resigns from his job because he doesn’t liked it, it also gives a lonely feeling till he finds a suitable job as per his interest. When there is a misunderstanding which leads to fight between family members and all are members are against you, solitude again finds a place. There are many other circumstances where one encounters solitude in his/her life. All these are part of life and should be taken as an experience.

Life has many aspects and solitude or feeling of loneliness is one of them which can be a pleasure or pain. Surprised to see how it can be a pleasure? Yes it can be a pleasure if one takes this as an opportunity. Generally, people consider solitude as a pain. It is a pain if one thinks it in that way and can be a pleasure as well if you have guts to convert that pain into pleasure which is difficult but not impossible. One should think in a different way and should take solitude as an opportunity. Solitude is that situation where one finds himself to be detached from rest of the world.  When you are detached, you have enough time to think and rejuvenate yourself. Surprised??? Solitude gives you a chance to talk to yourself what we call as introspection and introspection leads to creativity and innovation. When you introspect, you are able to find the loopholes and can start from scratch or can find the better way round which can give fruitful results. Solitude also gives you the chance to know your inner strength, how strong you are and how you are going to manage trying circumstances. All these counts and makes you much stronger than before. Converting solitude into an opportunity is difficult but not impossible. Solitude indeed gives you a chance to prove yourself and come back with smiling face post debacle, if any.  The only thing matter is how one takes this situation, either positive or negative. Choice has to be made.

It takes time to get rid of the bad moments where one finds himself detached but should not allow prolong accumulation of negative vibes which ultimately leads to depression and frustration. Take time and start as nothing lasts forever.  If you keeps on thinking and thinking on what happened in past or past bad memories then how you will live in present and how will you secure your future? In my opinion, solitude is neither a disaster nor a debacle;  it’s a part of our life. Life has many layers, both good and bad. I too have been in solitude several times and was able to tackle which was a nice experience. Experience again is very important in life, both positive and negative which makes you a strong person which helps you in decision making. Remember one thing, if you feel lonely because of absence of people around you, your conscience and confidence still remains within you which are capable enough to convert negative into positive. What I would convey is take solitude not as a burden but spent some time and think and come back with smiling face. Lastly, I would like to share one of the famous quotes of Bob Marley.

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

Bob Marley

 

– Ashish Kumar

Accidental deaths and suicide – A serious concern



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Death is certain and it is the ultimate truth. One will die for sure after birth. Accidental deaths and suicidal deaths are unfortunate. There are several problems that India is facing like inflation, corruption, unemployment etc. People die due to several reasons like heart attack, cancer, murder, natural disaster, poverty, accidents, suicide etc.

Death due to accidents and suicide is unfortunate. But it doesn’t mean that death due to other causes is fortunate. This article highlights the accidental deaths and suicidal deaths in India. In my previous article, I have addressed the issue of suicide. It is surprising that instead of several awareness campaigns, people are dying due to accidents. Let’s look at the statistics of accidental deaths and suicides from 2011 to 2015 which is given in the following table.

Table 1: Accidental deaths and suicidal deaths in India
Year Accidental deaths Suicidal deaths
2011 390884 135585
2012 394982 135445
2013 400517 134799
2014 451757 131666
2015 413457 133623
Source: National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India

From the above table, the accidentals deaths and suicide does not have an increasing/decreasing pattern. Accidental deaths were most in 2014 which was 451757 and suicidal deaths were most in 2011, reporting to 135585. Suicidal deaths decreased from 2011 to 2014 but again increased in 2015. It is surprising to see that the number of suicides in India is more than a lakh per year. There can be several reasons for suicides like poverty, farmer suicides, love failure, not getting what desired, exam failure, frustration, depression etc.

The number of accidental deaths is more than 4 lakh in a year which is alarming. What can be the root cause of accidents? Accident does not only mean road accident. Road accident is one of the type of accident. Broadly accident can be classified as natural calamity and unnatural causes. Natural calamity includes flood, earthquake, landslide, cyclone, avalanche etc. Unnatural cause includes air crash, fire, collapse of structure, explosion, traffic accident, stampede, factory/machine accidents, drowning etc. An accidental death due to natural calamity is much less than those of unnatural causes. The below table illustrates the accidental deaths due to natural and top five unnatural causes from 2011 to 2015.

Table 2: Accidental deaths due to Natural and Unnatural causes
S.No Cause of death 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
1. Natural Calamity 23690 22960 22759 20201 10510
2. Unnatural Causes
i)                    Drowning 29708 27558 30041 29903 29822
ii)                  Sudden Deaths 26649 28961 31278 26526 35023
iii)                Poisoning 29478 30748 29249 20587 26173
iv)                Traffic Accident 165072 168301 166506 169107 177423
v)                  Fire 24576 23281 22177 19513 17700
Source: National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India

 

As it can be inferred from the above table, deaths due to unnatural cause is higher than the natural calamity. The five unnatural cause depicted in the above table are drowning, sudden deaths, poisoning, traffic accident and fire. Of the five major causes, traffic accident accounts for the highest number of deaths which is more than one and half lakh. This makes one thing clear that road traffic accidents is a serious issue prevailing in India. It can be seen that road traffic accident have increased in these five years. It resulted in 177423 deaths in the year 2015. What can be the main reason behind such traffic deaths? Some of the reasons can be:

  • Not obeying the traffic rules.
  • Driving the vehicle above the specified speed limit.
  • Crossing the road without looking at the signal.
  • Driving vehicle in hurry, tension, depression.
  • Drinking while driving (drink and drive) etc.

The other causes of accidental deaths like fire, poisoning, drowning, etc also accounts for major proportion. Natural calamity is beyond our control but what about the deaths due to unnatural causes and suicides? If you combine the accidental deaths and suicidal deaths, it is more than 4.5 lakh per year. This figure is very high and startling. Isn’t it a big jolt for all of us ???

Generally, people ignore the accidental death. Many people drive ruthlessly on road to pretend themselves to be the hero of an action movie but they don’t think for a while that such driving may harm others on road and themselves as well. Speedy driving has become a fashion in India which is not feasible at all. What is your opinion on such accidental deaths and suicides in India ? What is the major cause behind such deaths and what should be done in order to curb such miss-happenings? Do share your views…

– Ashish Kumar