Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Accidental Suicide

Newspapers and various news channels on television in the past week have covered innumerable mishaps. One of them was the unfortunate demise of a very senior Naval Officer—under freaky circumstances. And as it is our collective fate, everybody has incurred the loss—his immediate family, his extended family, the Indian Navy, as well as the country.

An enquiry has been ordered as was reported in a leading daily to unravel the truth, i.e., the mechanism that might have operated behind this tragic incident.
This yearning for the truth is the human nature. We quite rightly want to get to the truth—this is the least that could be done for the aggrieved parties. The truth once unraveled might be able to prevent occurrence of such mishaps in the future. After all, ‘prevention is better than cure’ and in these cases even the ‘cure’ is not possible. How does one bring to life the departed? So it becomes all the more important to get to the bottom of the matter—as a reverence to the departed, apart from being an act of desired humanitarian empathy towards the family.
One could say that it is our ‘Rightful Right of Right to Information’ which when provided is adherence to the laws—of Nature and Court of Law and not an act of compassion extended towards the family. This is what happens, with the feeling being expressed along with the information by the informer (be it a person or an organization): “Be grateful to us that we supplied you with this information”.

We are grateful but the same time it must not be forgotten that it is our ‘rightful right to know’. It is the truth.

But then there is a contra-face to this ‘truth-seeking’. A consequence of a human failing, we at times tend to ‘accept’ as truth what we ‘want’ to be the truth, instead of the ‘actual truth’. One could say the ‘Convenient truth’ or ‘Truth (for the sake) of Convenience’.

The enquiry that has been set up to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of Rear Admiral Jamwal is to provide the answer—was it an accident or was it a suicide? I am not the person to comment on this but whatever I could gather from the preliminary reports in the newspaper, the officer didn’t show any telltale signs of a mental state, which gets manifested in the behaviour of a person in the wake of an impending suicide.

Furthermore, the post mortem report, as reported, fails to pinpoint the position of the head that incurred the fatal bullet injury. It is very peculiar, to say the least. If such a thing cannot be ascertained then how can it be said from which direction the bullet had travelled and the distance travelled by the bullet, which is indicated by the impact and imprint? I am not leveling any charges on anybody. But there is one thing—that is the nature of information that is fed to the people—about which one needs to be very careful. Incomplete and insufficient evidences passed on as information are liable to have consequences of unimaginable proportion(s). Everybody would draw a conclusion of his or her own. After all we have our freedom of thought—as I am expressing mine. But amidst all these, does one spare a second of thought for the bereaved family?

Thus it is being speculated and investigated whether it was an Accident. Or was it a Suicide? Or was it a Suicidal Accident? The last option being that of an Accidental Suicide.

I sincerely pray that the conclusion drawn as a consequence of a, hopefully thorough and true, investigation would lead to the TRUTH and not to an ACCIDENTAL TRUTH or SUICIDAL TRUTH, so as to pamper the CONVENIENT TRUTH.

And the same treatment is desired for all such incidents.


Sushmita Mukherjee,

10th July 2010.