Businessmen, the world over, are considered to be the most resolute yet admirably adaptable amongst all professionals and thus are invariably the last to go down fighting. However when reports of businessmen and traders committing suicide become a regular feature, its time alarm bells should start ringing. More so for those at the helm of affairs and incharge of governance, to take serious note and ponder to get to the reasons as to what went wrong in the build up to such a rise.

suicide is not a wish to die, its a cry for help

While people got used to reports of farmers committing suicides in thousands across India, some blaming it on their weak DNA and emotional quotient, the reports of suicides amongst business community has started trickling in.

Delhi: Yesterday, a 50-year-old businessman allegedly committed suicide in a banquet hall in outer Delhi’s Mianwali, the police said.

Ramesh Kumar killed himself by hanging himself on January 5 in a banquet hall, they said.

Kumar left behind a purported suicide note which said that he was taking the extreme step because of his business partner, they said, adding that he also scribbled the same thing on a wall. Police are said to be probing the matter to ascertain if it was financial distress due misappropriation of funds by the partner.

Uttarakhand: In another incident, two days back, an Uttarakhand businessman entered the BJP office after consuming poison. Pandey, who has been in the transport business for the past five years, blamed the Trivendra Rawat-led government and the Centre for loss in business due to demonetisation and GST.

Delhi: Also a couple of months back, in Sep 2017, a 45-year-old businessman committed suicide by shooting himself with his licensed pistol in the national capital Delhi.

The deceased, Ram Khiladi, who stayed with his family in Ranhola area of west Delhi, was reportedly in depression after suffering losses in his furniture business. See Full Report

Mumbai: Citing financial distress, in July 2017, a 54-year-old businessman Kejriwal, committed suicide by jumping from a Kandivali East, Mumbai high-rise building. Kejriwal lived in a fifth-floor apartment in 24-storey Challenger Towers. He had been depressed for some time after suffering heavy losses, relatives had told the police, then. See Full Report here.

Photo credits: Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from WHO, AFP, and the Lancet

Noida: In another high profile suicides, in Nov 2016, A 42-year-old man committed suicide after jumping off the fifth floor of Center stage Mall in Sector 18, Noida. The deceased, identified after the incident as Harmesh Goel, was a resident of Sector 37 Noida.

Police Said,” Goel was unable to repay debts, due to which he took the extreme step”. For more details, see Full Report.

While the list goes on, various factors other than just demonetisation and GST have also come to the fore. The exploits of common man at the hands of the banking system, reeling under severe top level multi-crore defaults, dares the government to act judiciously.

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The manner in which the banks, go about pressurizing the public for even minor defaults, is yet again, a major cause of concern. To top it all, an insensitive judiciary, that has limitations to understand and appreciate the nitty gritty of small businesses, adds to the woes of the public.

As one individual put it, “The Banks and Govt can’t do anything to recover loans to the tune of thousands of crores from big industrialists, but they go overboard in harassing farmers, small businessman and the middle and lower class, who do not have the ways and means to run away from defaults to foreign lands.”

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Recently one Mr Rajesh (name changed) said, “I had a car loan from ICICI, most of which was paid, except for two EMI’s, which I even promised to pay in the coming months. But the ICICI Bank, sent its lawyer along with 4 to 5 goons to my house in my absence. As instructed when the Security Guard asked to receive the Notice, if any, the ICICI team, created a ruccus in the whole area saying that they will give the Notice only to the Neighbours and not the Security Guard.”

In a society that is over conscious to embarrassment in the eyes of others and gives much importance to respectability, resorting to these means of shaming and harassing in front of neighbors, friends and relatives amounts to torture and can drive the most resolute to, many a times, take the extreme steps like self immolations and suicides.

Recently, with sky rocketing number of cases of illegal high handedness and harassments of farmers and loan defaulters at the hands of the banks, NBFC’s, Home Loan and money lenders etc, the Mumbai High Court ruled ‘Debt Collection Harassment To Be Tried As Abetment Of Suicide‘. In its judgement, the honourable High Court said that continuous verbal and physical abuse and repeated demand for return of money amounts to abettment of suicide. See full report here. However, such an action by the High Court, unless vigorously backed by the govt, is too little an effort to stem out such a malaise.

It is high time the Indian government takes note of the plight of the citizens and initiates steps to assuage the feelings and perception plaguing the society about the ‘not-bothered’ attitude towards the sufferings of the citizens at large.

Steps should simultaneousy be taken to sensitize the judiciary through special courses for Judges and the staff, so as to understand the unprecedented problems faced by small businesses and start-ups alike that are typical and unique to the Indian business environment.

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