About a week ago, I decided that the two graphs included in this article needed updating. The data reflected in the graphs covered one aspect of suicides in India, suicides by husbands and wives, from the interval beginning in 1995 and ending in 2011. The updating was more difficult than I had feared, firstly on account of the difficulty to find the required sources of data. After three days of asking Indian men’s rights activists, one of them was able to provide me with a link for the latest report issued by the Indian government:
Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India 2015
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB); Ministry of Home Affairs
By Rajiv Mehrishi, Home Secretary, Government of India, 29th July, 2016
The link to the report helped to discover other, related sources of information, that I had been trying to find during the previous few days. That was not the end of the difficulties. Perhaps the NCRB does have dta base that permit the construction of graphs showing time series for data of interest, but those, if they exist could not be found by me. Furthermore, the Indian government does not appear to have published such time series, either in tabular form or in graphs.
Navigation of the sources of suicide data published by the NCRB is very cumbersome. I tried as best as I could to identify the individual files in which I found the data shown here (to sort my thoughts and not to lose track of where I was when I found something I needed) for the updating of the associated spreadsheet that is used to generate the included graphs. I tried to follow the same principle when using the data I found for updating the associated spreadsheet, in the spreadsheet itself. (Some of the data, and links to their sources, I needed and found are shown at the end of this commentary.)
The data of interest are spread out over reports that each contains only data for a single year or for some data for two years, and for some totals for several years, but not for individual sub-categories of those totals for more than two years. That is very user-unfriendly. It is not too surprising that the World Health Organization provides comprehensive health statistics for most, if not all countries in the world, but virtually none for India. I suspect that the WHO may have found it to be too difficult to work with non-standard and extremely user-unfriendly tabulations.
At any rate, I soon found that I became frequently lost while navigation. That will without a doubt be even more likely to happen to anyone who wishes to verify that the data reflected in the spreadsheet, and that the calculations performed with them, are accurate. Whenever that happened to me, I learned that it was a good practice to go back to a useful index page for reports covering a good number of years, to get my bearings and to start the journey again from there, so as to get to where I wanted to be. Here is the link for that report index: http://ncrb.nic.in/StatPublications/ADSI/PrevPublications.htm
No one should be too impressed by the large number of links to annual reports accident and suicide data that are accessible to the public, covering the interval from 1967 to 2014. That index page is largely a farce. It does not even indicate which of the links lead to no information at all. Only the links to reports for the years 2009 to 2014 lead to anything useful. For the years prior to 2009, the links lead to empty web pages or at best, in a few relatively few years, to nothing more than the cover pages of reports. There is not a single indication for even one of the useless links the shows that a given link is useless because it will lead to emptiness.
Why does the government of the second-most populous, soon to be the most-populous, nation on Earth advertise that its presentation of data it presents its people and those of world is a shambles? Why not simply indicate on that index page that, although the data for the years prior to 2009 exists, the Indian government does not wish to have its people and those of the world have access to it?
The data put together by the NCRB appears to be generally good and trustworthy, but the navigating of it is not merely very difficult, it is absolutely bewildering. The report for the year 2015 comprises more than 315 pages! The NCRB has to do a lot of work before it can come even somewhat close to the ease of navigating statistical data bases, for putting together summaries or reports that can be found at organizations such as, for example, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, Canada Statistics or the German Statistisches Bundesamt, a very long way!
It appears that if someone would have set out to deliberately design the extracting of data from the NCRB reports to be very difficult, he could not have done a much better job of it.
Moreover, some of the introductory statements in the annual reports appear designed to be deliberately misleading, although the factual data they represent is most definitely accurate. Still, being accurate does not mean that a misleading statement will not have the desired effect for which is was designed. Extremely few people in the media will take the hours of time it takes to find and to use the factors presented in a misleading statement, so as to discern what the facts mean and whether or how far a misleading statement is from being factual, honest and objective.
Take this example in the Indian Suicide data:
1 suicide out of every 6 suicides was committed by a ‘housewife’. Nearly 70.5% of the male victims were married while 67.3% of female victims were married.
More at ‘Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India 2015’, http://ncrb.nic.in/StatPublications/ADSI/ADSI2015/adsi-2015-full-report.pdf p. ix
That statement is designed to be misleading. Although it should puzzle anyone at at first glance, why women were singled out in the beginning of that statement, it most definitely attempts to present married women as the primary victims of suicide. When, however, all of the facts that the statement is based on are taken, to look at both, married women and married men who committed suicide, as a percentage of their respective suicide victim groups, a more realistic impression emerges. To be objective, this is what the statement should have presented:
1 suicide out of every 6 suicides was committed by a ‘housewife’, while a little more than 2 out of every 6 suicides were committed by ‘husbands’. Nearly 70.5% of the male victims were married while 67.3% of female victims were married.”
Married men are more than twice as likely than married women to commit suicide. Is it really too difficult to be honest about that India’s social policies aim at killing its men in disproportionately large numbers?
The insistence by media and Government, that women are the primary victims of social oppression and kill themselves in ever larger numbers on account of that is bunk. That is the impression that the NCRB statement should make but intentionally fails to make!
Shame on India’s government for downplaying and distorting accurate information that shows that men disproportionately suffer much more than women – all for the sake of promoting gender politics that present women as victims, women who, measured by the risk of suicide they experience, suffer only half as badly as men do.
Rajiv Mehrishi, Home Secretary, Government of India, should not have authenticated a report that contains glaring attempts at indoctrination, thereby promoting gender-politics that aim at belittling the fact that male victims comprise the vast majority of accidental deaths and suicide in India. That is all the more so because the same sort of distortion of reality in the comparable statistical reports by the NCRB for prior years is a long-established practice that is being continued by the NCRB and endorsed by Mr. Rajiv Mehrishi.
Walter H. Schneider, Bruderheim, Alberta, Canada, 2017 06 17
Related Bog-post: Indian men’s suicides have reached epidemic proportions, 2017 06 21
Various factors (and their sources) found for updating the graphs in the commentary
India – Total Population
- http://ncrb.nic.in/StatPublications/ADSI/ADSI2015/adsi-2015-full-report.pdf (Table 1.1, p. 15)
Total suicides (all India)
Comparisons of the ratios of suicides by husbands vs. those by wives (from the introductions of the NCRB reports for years listed)
“Nearly 71.6% of the suicide victims were married males while 67.9% were married females.” and “1 suicide out of every 6 suicides was committed by a ‘housewife’.” http://ncrb.nic.in/StatPublications/ADSI/ADSI2012/Snapshots.pdf p. viii
“Nearly 70.8% of the suicide victims were married males while 66.6% were married females.” and “1 suicide out of every 6 suicides was committed by a ‘housewife’.” http://ncrb.nic.in/StatPublications/ADSI/ADSI2013/snapshots.pdf p. viii
“1 suicide out of every 6 suicides was committed by a ‘housewife’, nearly 67.0% of the male victims were married while 63.6% of female victims were married.” http://ncrb.nic.in/StatPublications/ADSI/ADSI2014/page-vii-x%20snapshots.pdf p. ix
“1 suicide out of every 6 suicides was committed by a ‘housewife’. Nearly 70.5% of the male victims were married while 67.3% of female victims were married.”
http://ncrb.nic.in/StatPublications/ADSI/ADSI2015/adsi-2015-full-report.pdf p. ix