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How a community looks at suicide?

india Updated: Oct 16, 2006 13:29 IST

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HINDUISM

Belives taking one’s life is as sinful as murdering another. It considers that violent death, including suicide results in the deceased becoming a ghost.

BUT: Certain practices like Jauhar and Sati were traditionally honourable. While Jauhar is no longer practiced, stray cases of Sati continue to be reported.

JAINISM

Some Jains believe in the noble ritual of Santhara- voluntary death by fasting. Its goal is to reflect on life, abandon desire and purify the body.

BUT: Many consider the ritual sexist with mostly women practicing it . In Sept’06 the ritual attracted legal action with a PIL being filed against the practice.

CHRISTIANITY

The Bible records seven suicides including that of Judas who killed himself after betraying Jesus. Catholics consider it a sin that leads to hell.

BUT: There is no specific verse that explicitly states that suicide leads to hell. Thus there’s a growing belief that suicide does not debar one from eternal life.

BUDDHISM

Since its tenets strictly prohibit the destruction of any form of life, taking one’s own life is considered an extremely negative action.

BUT: Certain Buddhists choose to commit suicide in the name of honour. Tibetan monks have used self- immolation to protest China’s human rights violations.

ISLAM

Considers suicide sinful and forbids it, even in war. In Jan’06 a high ranking Shia cleric issued a fatwa against suicide bombing, declaring it a “terrorist act”.

BUT: Permissive interpretations of Islam have lent a justification to an increasing army of suicide bombers who are being glorified by a section as martyrs.

JUDAISM

Suicide is explicitly forbidden by Jewish law, even if it is sought as an alternative to commiting a cardinal sin. Assisting suicide is also prohibited.

BUT: In 1998 the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards sought to address the issue by understanding the reasons why people commit suicide.

CULT SUICIDE

Famous cult suicides include those by the followers of People’s Temple, Heaven’s Gate and the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God.

BUT: Being away from the mainstream, their practices are secretive and many mass suicides are suspected of being mass murders.

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