A search on Google with the key words ‘Suicide in India’ will tell you that about eight lakh people commit suicide worldwide every year, out of which 17 % (1,35,000) are from India – a nation with 17.5% of the world’s population. Almost every one of us knows of someone directly or indirectly, who committed suicide. While it makes us sad when we come to know of such a thing, it also makes us wonder, ‘What could be more important than life?’ or ‘Was the problem so big that life seemed trivial in front of the same?’
Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, in order to create awareness and to commit ourselves to the cause of preventing suicides in India and the world, Nation Next speaks to real life heroes, who in spite of the odds, emerged as winners. The life stories of these heroes are a testimony to the fact that life is not as bad as it seems at times. There’s always a silver lining!
Major D P Singh, Kargil War veteran and blade runner
The odds: Major DP Singh was seriously injured during Operation Vijay in Kargil war in 1999, and the doctors had to amputate his leg to save his life. Major D P Singh says, “I did not feel sad at all. In fact, I was proud that I could serve my country! I took it as a new challenge in life and thought that if I could overcome the challenge, I would be able to inspire a lot of people.”
Against all odds: Major DP Singh is often referred to as ‘India’s blade runner’ and holds the Limca record for being the first Indian to run a half marathon with the blade. He’s also a motivational speaker and heads the organisation ‘The Challenging Ones,’ which is a support group for physically disabled or ‘The Challengers’ as Major DP Singh calls them.
Say no to suicide: “Whichever profession you’re in, you can’t get successful until you undergo a test. If there’s a problem in your life, it means that the almighty has chosen you for something big in life. It’s a test you’re going through. If you pass the test, you will be walking towards something bigger in life. Suicide is a momentary thought and when you have that, just divert your attention and do something you really like,” says Singh.
Divyanshu Ganatra, Blind psychologist and paraglider
The odds: When Divyanshu was 19, he lost his eyesight to glaucoma. Divyanshu says, “I wasn’t suicidal but I was really sad for quite some time. I did not know what to do next. Then I understood that things are not really good or bad, it’s all about how you look at things. I thought I have become blind but things could have been worse. I could have gone deaf or mute too!
Against all odds: In 2014, Divyanshu became the first visually impaired person in India to paraglide. Today, Divyanshu runs an IT company, and he is an adventure enthusiast. Apart from being a paraglider, he’s a mountain climber too. A few days back, he completed a tandem bike ride from Manali to Leh. In November 2015, he was featured on the television show ‘Aaj ki Raat Hain Zindagi’ hosted by Amitabh Bachchan.
Say no to suicide: Divyanshu says, “If you have a problem, talk to somebody about it. It can be a psychologist or a friend. Trust somebody as they will help you out. And once that suicidal moment passes by, you’ll realise that everything is fine!”
Kiran Kanojia, Blade runner and IT Professional
The odds: In 2011, while travelling in a train, Kiran Kanojia, then an Infosys employee, lost her leg in an incident. As she tried to stop some miscreants from snatching away her bag, she got dragged with the bag and her leg got stuck in the train’s door. A couple of hours later, she signed a form, the doctors gave her, to amputate her leg. It was her birthday! Kiran says, “When I was told that my leg would be amputated, the only thing came to my mind was, ‘Why me?’ I did not contemplate suicide but I wasn’t sure whether my life would be normal again.
Against all odds: Kiran Kanojia is India’s first female blade runner and has ran in marathons in many cities of India. She also works with the multinational IT Company EMC2. Recently, she was one of the speakers at TEDx Hyderabad.
Say no to suicide: Kiran says, “Certain people will always try to demotivate you. Don’t listen to them! Believe in yourself and challenge your limits. If you’re determined about solving your problems, you eventually will!”
Ashok Munne, Moutaineer
The odds: Ashok Munne lost his right leg in a train accident in 2009. Ashok says, “I was bed ridden for almost two years after the accident. I had health and financial problems and I became completely dependent on my family. Being dependent bothered me so much that I contemplated suicide. But then I decided that I’d work hard in life to solve all my problems.”
Against all odds: Ashok scaled the 21, 247 high Mera Peak in Nepal in November 2012, becoming the first physically disabled person to do so. Recently, in May 2016, he went on the Mount Everest expedition and scaled 8,500 meters, of the 8,848 meters high mountain. He plans to go on the expedition again and finish scaling the entire mountain. Other than mountaineering, Ashok loves adventure trips and is really passionate about taking long tours on his bike.
Say no to suicide: “If you have problems in life, fight with them. There’s no problem in the world, which does not have a solution. If I can do it, anybody can!” says Ashok.