More than failures, it is the guilt of having ‘let down’ people that seems to rankle many
VG Siddhartha’s suicide evokes a sense of deja vu. Like Siddhartha, Lalith Sheth, CMD of Raj Tours and Travels, jumped off a bridge, seven years ago. He too couldn’t take his financial problems.
Another deja vu hits you when you read Siddhartha’s words, “I have failed as an entrepreneur”. In 2015, Angad Paul, son of Lord Swraj Paul, killed himself, wracked by a sense of guilt, because he believed that his wrong decisions lead to loss of jobs. Till a little time before his death, a happy. Angad Paul jumped off his penthouse home on the eight floor of a building his family owned.
To most of us this is incomprehensible. After all, can’t these well-heeled just ‘buy’ solutions to their problem? Worse, Siddhartha says he has enough assets to pay off his liabilities — then what was the problem, man? After all, the world of business is littered with failures and most failed businessmen–Ramalinga Raju, Vijay Mallya to name two–lead perfectly happy lives.
Rajesh Ramakrishnan, a psychotherapist and a hypnotherapist in Chennai, reasons that with people like Siddhartha, it is not about loss of wealth. They generally feel ‘looked up to’, a role model. When they see the image dissolving, they are unable to take it. The guilt of having “let down” the people they believe looked up to them eats them inside out.
This is different from other cases of businessmen suicides, which are more ‘understandable’. Constantly nagged by creditors, G Venkateswaran of GV Films, disengaged from the world. It is said that the creditor used to constantly sit outside his doors all the time — something like Chinese torture, where the victim is strapped to a bench and water is made to drip, drip, drip on his forehead.
From ‘understandable’ suicides due to missing of loved one, either due to death or separation, to the mystery suicides of Siddhartha and Angad, the range of reasons is huge, though the end is the same. Which brings us to the question, can suicides be prevented, or at least minimised?
In 2015, for which data is available, 1.33 lakh Indians killed themselves. Psychology says these people did not want to die; only they saw death as a lesser pain.
Rajesh believes that the anti-dote to suicide should start in schools. Kids ought to be primed to face disappointments in life; the philosophy that ‘this shall pass too’ should be ingrained in them to build resilience. The soon this is done, the fewer Siddharthas we will have.