Ever since the suicide news of a 13 YO girl, Namrata, from St. Mary’s School, Naharkatia (Assam), burst forth, it dispersed like a wildfire, became the buzz of every household and newsrooms. But amid the tumult and roars of camouflaged conspiracies, the real picture got overshadowed by its numerous sequels.
Because sensationalism sells, the myriad media houses, instead of digging deep to find the root causes, branched out a multitude of different perspectives, shaping new angles every day, offering the world to flap their critical opinions about the school, its teachers, and the related “corporal punishments.”
Hence, to light the truth, let me reveal some shocking brass tacks about the incident.
The Story- 2015
Everything was flowing in its usual manner. Namrata was in standard five. It was Miss Bandita’s (pseudonym) birthday. So, getting hold of some lame excuses, Namrata visited her teacher’s place and insisted on staying the night (although she was not invited, she decided to self-invite) with her. Things went well for the next two years. Namrata considers her teacher as one of her closest someones.
Things started turning ugly- 2017
Namrata stepped in her seventh standard. Gradually, she started exhibiting bizarre behavior toward Bandita. She would call her at odd hours, text her inappropriate messages like “I miss you,” “I wanted to see you in the staircase, you didn’t come,” would stalk her to the loo, corridors, and everywhere. Namrata even threatened of involving in self-mutilation. Paraphilias like knife, blades, needle, and band-aid were always present in her school-bag.
In one instance, she deliberately bruised her wrist with a blade and whatsapped the photo to Bandita, disclosing her fondness. Having a grip of her unusual acts, Bandita too got frightened and decided to discuss with one of her friends, who further directed to inform the headmistress, Sister Rancy.
The headmistress decided to call her guardians and acquaint them about their daughter’s acts. After countless phone calls, finally, her father picked up the call. She was asked to confront all her activities, which she did, and apologized not to repeat again.
On a summer morning of August, her classmates and teachers stood surprised to find her chopping off her hair. On being asked by her NCC teacher, she replied that the cap doesn’t fit on her head and hence she decided to hang around with a boys-type hairdo.
Then followed a trail of events, every other day
On 28th, Monday, Sister Rancy saw her staying aloof from her friends. When asked about the reason, Namrata replied being fine, in her casual manner. In order to console her, Sister Rancy spoke, “When you go home today, do not open your books, don’t study today. Just scribble your heart out in a paper.”
The next day Namrata surprised Sister Rancy with 7-8 pages of her feelings. She even expressed her gratitude toward the headmistress for understanding her.
On 29th, Tuesday, the class monitor complained the class teacher, Miss Ramida Rahman (who according to some news reports was the one to agitate Namrata to commit suicide) of scrawling obscene texts on the desk, such as I love you Bandita, and other offensive accounts. Without a second thought, Miss Ramida informed the Headmistress.
When Sister Rancy inquired about the inappropriate deed to the class, Namrata boldly stood up, presumably with rage. Sister Rancy went to her to resolve the issue and advised her not to engage in such things again, to which Namrata outraged her with a smirk. The headmistress lost her cool and reverted with a slap (which according to some sources is extreme punishment).
The bell rang. Everyone rushed to their homes but Namrata had different plans that evening. She blocked Miss Bandita’s way and repeatedly started asking her if she had granted her pardon. Bandita vouched for her that she has no issue with her and that she forgave her long back.
Bandita then rushed to the headmistress’ office and narrated the happening. Sister Rancy decided to ring her mother and call her to take her daughter home. She didn’t pick. After recurrent phone calls, finally, the mother picked the phone and replied that she cannot go.
A few hours later, the news of Namrata taking her life by jumping into a river broke out.
Few highlights of the story
- Namrata used to loiter around Miss Bandita’s house in a bike to get her glimpse
- Namrata had a host of suicide notes written in her diary. She had been writing those for a prolonged period.
- She used to threaten her classmates about committing suicide
- Her neighbors didn’t like her because of her odd conducts
- “My love is not duplicate. I can prove it by suicide.” Was one of her notes.
- “I want to die,” was her Whatsapp status a few days back
- After her death, none of her neighbors or acquaintances came to see her, except her parents and few cops who followed her to the cremation ground. In fact, she was not even allowed to enter her village.
- She was NOT harrassed by the headmistress. She was asked to clip her hair (which appeared like her hair being pulled by the headmistress to some).
A majority of suicides have been preceded by warning signs, verbal and behavioral. In Namrata’s case, despite her clear indications, her closest friends, neighbors, and even parents failed to track her steps.
Should the school administration be blamed because they had decided to inform her parents or revealed her strange behaviors and acts publicly in class? Or should her parents be held responsible, because despite being aware of her condition, they didn’t make any attempt to counsel her? Or is it the society who should be questioned for its ignorance, prejudices, and stereotypical attitudes toward mental health?
Because of society’s lack of wisdom and stigma shrouding mental health, we lost a hardworking and helpful Namrata. Had she been counseled on time, had she been enlightened about mental health, about her different behavior, had her society been informed about the warning signs or how to handle such sensitive issue in a delicate way, Namrata would have been breathing now.
Who is to be blamed? Share your views with us.