A longing for the end, a flash of awareness, and eternal stillness. That’s how I would like my death to be.
Not only life but death also must have dignity. I have been a staunch supporter of euthanasia for this one reason alone. The moment I broach the topic of euthanasia people run away. Death is a topic nobody apparently wants to discuss. Is death so abhorrent or alarming?
“I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens,” said Woody Allen facetiously. Most people seem to be afraid of death. Life has a natural tendency to prolong itself however agonising it may be. The survival instinct is the strongest instinct in any living organism. But that cannot wish away death. Death is inevitable. What is inevitable has to be accepted. Graceful acceptance of the inevitable is an integral part of dignity.
But graceful acceptance is not enough. One should be allowed to die when one chooses. No conditions attached. No questions asked. It is the individual’s choice.
I can hear infinite voices now falling on me like a barrage of bombs asking how the potential misuse of this liberty can be prevented. It cannot be, that’s the blunt answer. We cannot prevent the misuse of anything. Haven’t we been misusing technology ever since it revealed itself to mankind? Haven’t we been using technology more for destruction and killing, for inhuman wars most of which were fought in the names of bizarre gods? Haven’t we been misusing our gods and their religions for centuries?
We can adulterate the food we are giving to others bringing slow death upon them. We can throw infinite amounts of electronic and plastic waste into the environment subjecting our beautiful planet to slow death. We can murder the infant in the womb of its mother. We can stifle people’s liberty in the name of all sorts of ideals and policies. We have perpetrated explicit genocides and we continue to do it subtly even now.
And we have the temerity to argue that voluntary death should not be made an individual liberty! We are cowards. We are hypocrites. Let’s face it.
I’m not advocating suicide. Far from it, I love life. I uphold the right to live with dignity. The moment I realise that I cannot continue my life with dignity any more I should be permitted to die. Who can object to that? Why should anyone object to that? Why should anyone wish to see me undergoing unnecessary agony merely for the sake of prolonging something that I am not interested in anymore?
Recently I was informed about a religious group in Kerala that offers special prayers for the terminally ill so that they could achieve a “peaceful death”. Isn’t that euthanasia? And a terribly hypocritical one? In a case that was reported to me the same person who paid the religious group for the prayers was also paying the doctors for the medical treatments of the dying person! The person knew that the patient was bearing with an excruciating pain and wished to put an end to it. But he couldn’t muster the courage to end the unnecessary medication which merely protracted the pain and did nothing more. That would be a cardinal sin before his God. That would be a crime before the law of his country. So he decided to ask God to do the job for him. Asking God to be a murderer!
I know my argument can sound inhuman, shocking, or even criminal. I can only repeat with full sincerity that I love life. I respect life. It is that love and that respect that make me want to choose my death. Mine. Not anybody else’s. Mine alone. When the time comes.
PS. Provoked by Ravish Mani’s theme [#PlanUrDeath] at indiblogger.