An alarming study published in Lancet Public Health journal says that Indians account for 37% of suicides among women, while India comprises 17.8 million of the global population.

Indian men account for 24.3% among global suicide death rates.


Suicide was the ninth leading cause of death in India in 2016. According to the study, suicides have increased from 1,64,404 in 1990 to 2,30,314 in 2016. 

This is the percentage of total suicide deaths in each age group among females and males in India, 1990 and 2016, from the Lancet report – 


Rakhi Dandona, one of the leading author of the study says that a majority of these numbers are married Indian women.

The reason for such alarming suicide rates could be attributed to marriage setups in India, that leave no space for women to pursue their ambitions. Crushed between the burden of societal expectations, economic dependence, and in some cases early marriages and young motherhood; Indian women most of the times are left with no respite in site. Lack of awareness and mental health facilities could be another prime reason.

In an interview with BBC, Dr Vikram Patel, co-author of the Lancet study, attributed these high suicide rates to the hex of “gender and discrimination” in Indian society.

“Many women face arranged marriages by force. They have dreams and aspirations, but they often do not get supportive spouses. Sometimes their parents don’t support them either. They are trapped in a difficult system and social milieu.” 

Culture is not an absolute, it’s subject to its times. It’s about time that we start revising our societal norms lest they start choking its own people. 


Suppression of ambitions and desires to an extent that they fester or explode with a detrimental tendency will be the undoing of this civilisation. This poem by Langston Hughes seems so apt, at this very moment-

“What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up…/Or fester like a sore…/Or does it explode?”

Read the full report here.