Reading about the misfortune of two young souls at a Karachi school and the comments that followed on social media brought back echoes of a similar event few years back also in Karachi.
A minor “A” committed suicide when his parents were denied his beloved’s hand in marriage his beloved “B” later followed him into suicide. These events also brought back memories of a conversation with a very courteous 10th Grade teachers who went out of his way some fifteen years back to discuss friendships, infatuations, love, adoration and how perceptions will change over years.
Conceptual differences in Pakistani, Indian and Western cultures were what a handful few discussed over hi-tea at his residence. How the core of Pakistani concepts are derived from Sufism especially Love of God “Ishq-e-Haqiqi” and Love of Creation “Ishq-e-Mijazi”; the core of Indian concepts derived from Bollywood Rom-Coms and how art and theatre is religiously embedded in Indian Culture; and lastly the core of Western concepts largely derived from Liberalism and empirical reasoning over vague religious concepts.
Fifteen years and counting we still lack apt student counseling and sex-ed to help teenagers with such transitions. A handful privates schools began compulsory sex-ed classes for female students last year but would it answer the question and fill in the gap that requires a more personal approach to avoid such ill-fated incidents? Murders, Acid Attacks and Kidnappings over teenage infatuations surfaced with cases such as Shahzeb murder but unfortunately treated as isolated cases.
Pakistani social hierarchy gives way to issues where the word “Sex” is a taboo in itself yet we give record hits to porn websites, child abuse is a reality and on top of that young fragile minds are forced to fight emotional imbalances and traumas without proper help necessary for their transition and reduce communication gaps. Parents hardly cover such issues in our society and where boys largely receive their “knowledge” from peers; girls mostly receive it in “hush hush” at home and from peers. On top of that we have a less than 2 beds per 100,000 rate for psychiatric inpatients.
Student counseling has been adopted in societies at primary level and incident such as this one call for such an approach towards a permanent solution. A 2011 research study on impacts of student counseling (Age 12-20+) in Zimbabwae shows up to hundred percent improvement in different areas including study habits, efficient use of time, academic achievements, positive attitude, reduced anxiety, positive self-image, career exposure, self-awareness and secure school environment.
In our society where sexual abuse and molestation ads to the problems counseling can certainly help reduce various issues such academic problems, stress over family issues, anxiety, abuse, relationship issues, sexuality and depression.
While we fight for gender equality, launch anti-patriarchy drives, misogyny and male chauvinism this incident poses a serious question on the dual standards of our society and life threatening existential issues numerous continue to face. It is certainly about time that our society kicks the taboo out in favour of brighter days for future generations.