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India has effectively decriminalized suicide, with the Mental Healthcare Act, passed by Parliament in 2017 and entering into force a year later, noting that “notwithstanding anything contained in section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (that makes it a punishable offense), any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code”.
“Truly, suicide then is the end of the present, but it is always a possibility of the future. It is the end for the one who commits suicide, but for those left behind, it opens a door to find the possible meaning of life,” Iranian-born Ramin Jahanbegloo, one of the world’s leading philosophers and most widely read authors, contends in his seminal book, “In Pursuit of Unhappiness – Reflections on Suicide” (Orient BlackSwan).
“Nonetheless, either as actors or spectators of the act of suicide, we in the present day and age cannot but conclude that human life is full of untold suffering and misery and that we are impotent in finding a meaning to this suffering. And, further, science tells us, since there is no life after death, what we are left with is only an endless questioning. Every human being knows that life in general, and more specifically the life of an individual is not so much an accomplishment as it is a possibility,” writes Jahanbegloo, currently the Executive Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and the Vice-Dean of the School of Law at Jindal Global University in Sonepat.
“In other words, suicide is the last Stoic act by which the constructive marginals and dissenters of human civilization can show that they dominate their human destiny, and are not dominated by it. This freedom of ‘coming’ and ‘going’ in life belongs only to outsiders who struggle to preserve their marginality and autonomy in their lives and works,” the author of the pursuit of unhappiness maintains.
Marginality is “living on the edge, and not succumbing to the culture of the masses. It suggests an overcoming of the burden of servitude, much as that of old age and physical debilitation. Suicide produces a double shift in the process of everyday life. On the one hand, it fragments the absolute subjectivist ontology, by emerging as a sideline of the rational subject. On the other, suicide appears as a broken perception of the world which replaces and linear and monolithic everyday discourse of reality”, Jahanbegloo explains.
Thus, it becomes the exit from a world that places the human being under the authority of a closed system of values. “Therefore, if suicide is meaningless, then everything is futile and nothing matters. The despotism of God or the State of Society pushes the individual to respond to evil with the heroic act of annihilating the self, and to respond to a death with death,” the author of the pursuit of unhappiness writes. Noting that suicide “remains the last act of chivalry and integrity in a world of mediocrity and indifference”, Jahanbegloo says the writer or the artist who commits suicide “repeats the image of the selfless epic knight of yore who excludes all forms of pettiness and calculations in his heroic struggle against the monstrosity of evil and injustice”.
Paradoxically, the “morally courageous act of suicide goes hand in hand with the valourization of the lost cause that finally asserts itself as the heroism of the writer or artist. This need for the exaltation of moral courage of integrity in the face of tyranny and evil – regardless of its causes and the forms that it takes – and its degrading dehumanizing consequences can find its final answer in the act of suicide”, the author says.
Thus, whether in forms of tragic narratives or in real-life experiences, suicides of fictional and historical figures like Antigone, Socrates, Gerard de Narval. Virginia Woolf, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Walter Benjamin, Sadeq Hedayat, and Yukio Mishima “stand out as a protest against the mediocrity and meaninglessness of their times. Or perhaps, that is what happens when a beautiful mind encounters the ugliness and banality of others. Truly, it is in their suicides that these creators of art and animators of ideas found the real meaning of their lives”, the author asserts.
As such, “whenever we talk about suicide, we really mean being a spectator to one’s own death. But it is also at the same time, as (Albert) Camus, says, a re-evaluation of one’s life. The value of our life depends on the intent, the dignity, and the clarity with which we live it, among other things. The value of life also determines the value of its death”, the author points out. Therefore, like other life experiences, “one could say that suicide, too, is an experience that gives meaning to life, it is a journey toward shaping human destiny”.
“If the pursuit of unhappiness is a metaphysical dimension of humankind, then suicide is a possible way of transcending the vanity of an indifferent world and reaffirming our humanity,” Jahanbegloo concludes – and this is the spirit in which this book the pursuit of unhappiness needs to be taken. (IANS/JC)
Actor and dancer Susovan Sonu Roy began his career as a western dancer. Bengali Actor Susovan Sonu Roy was a part of the Star Jalsha channel's serial named "Kora Pakhi". He played a negative role in the serial for several months, along with lead actress Parno Mitra. He acted in the Star Jalsha channel's serial "Mohor", and through Mohor, he got "Kora Pakhi", which is the same production house project.
Susovan Sonu Roy debuted with the serial "Anandamoyee Maa", on the Aakash Aath channel. He has also acted in Zee Bangla channel's serial "Jamuna Dhaki," in which he played the role of a neighbour. After that, Susovan Sonu Roy acted in the Star Jalsha channel's serial named "Titli" in which he played a vital role. He has also starred in a serial called "Khelaghor.". People recognised him as an actor after being cast in so many serials.
The Kolkata Actor Susovan Sonu Roy dared to leave his job to follow his dreams in the field of acting. After graduation, he auditioned for many Mumbai based projects, and later on, he auditioned for his hometown, i.e., Kolkata based projects and did workshops under the production house of renowned Directors and Producers for two years (2016 -2018).
A two-member team of Mugdha Dubey and Mahyah Binti Idris from NewsGram interviewed Bengali actor Susovan Sonu Roy, a budding actor and western dancer, about his career, struggle and various issues in the entertainment industry on Saturday.
The Kolkata Actor Susovan Sonu Roy dared to leave his job to follow his dreams in the field of acting. | NewsGram
Readout excerpts from the interview with Susovan Sonu Roy.
Mahyah Binti Idris: Before we begin with this interview, would you like to tell us something about yourself?
SS Roy: So, basically, I am an actor from Kolkata, and I have worked in Bengali TV Serials, and I started my career in the entertainment industry as a western dancer. When I was just five years old, I lost my father in a car accident. Despite my difficult upbringing, my mother never wavered in her commitment of achieving the goals I set for myself.
Mahyah Binti Idris: Despite your mother's wishes, what was the inspiration that made you decide to pursue a career in acting/dancing instead of singing?
SS Roy: I am a firm believer of the fact that inspiration comes from within, and positivity is essential. Things go your way when you're upbeat and optimistic. I enjoy the work I do, and once I started my career in the entertainment industry, there was no turning back, I kept acquiring one project after another. I have always wanted to be an actor, and I am happy that I found my inspiration from within.
Mahyah Binti Idris: You played a negative character in 'Kora Pakhi' for several months. What kind of impact did it have on your professional life after opting for such a role?
SS Roy: I am pretty comfortable in opting for any kind of role I am offered because I believe acting is acting, whether it is a big role, a minor role, a negative or a positive role. I take inspiration from the likes of Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty and John Abraham.
Mahyah Binti Idris: Nowadays, cyberbullying and trolling are getting more frequent. How do you handle trolls or deal with criticism?
SS Roy: Trolls exist just to cause others distress. I ignore all the negativity and don't let it affect me in any way. If anyone lets the negative comments get into their head, they will find it difficult to do anything, as negativity hinders pursuing dreams.
Mahyah Binti Idris: What, in your opinion, is more crucial to long-term success in the field of acting, additional projects or formal training?
SS Roy: Indeed, training about the various techniques used in acting is essential, and once you get into the role, everything comes out naturally but that doesn’t mean one should stop training to become better day by day, training and trying to improve your skills is very important.
Mahyah Binti Idris: Where do you see yourself in a few years, and what projects do you have on your bucket list?
SS Roy: I auditioned for a movie that will feature Kajal Aggarwal in the lead. My ultimate goal is to crack a role in Bollywood. I want to gain as much experience as possible in serials and movies.
Mugdha Dubey: What is the difference in the challenges one faces while struggling to gain a role in regional cinema and Bollywood?
SS Roy: The difference in struggle is huge; it is pretty challenging to get a role in Bollywood. But I believe that experience matters and gives you an edge over others because you are already aware of some techniques used in acting and won't commit the mistakes a fresher does. I got the chance to audition for a movie with the lead as Kajal Agarwal because of my experience.
Mugdha Dubey: Have you ever witnessed nepotism firsthand, or did you ever feel that nepotism is prevalent in the Kolkata film industry?
SS Roy: Nothing can stop you if you put in the effort and stay true to your ambitions. But, one cannot ignore the fact that nepotism is everywhere, be it Bollywood or Tollywood. The acquaintances of artists get easily recognized but that shouldn’t demotivate aspiring actors because your hard work matters and if you keep working hard in the right direction, you will surely get recognized.
Mugdha Dubey: What message or tips would you like to convey to today's youngsters and those who aspire to become actors?
SS Roy: I would encourage the young generation to stand up for what they believe in and make the world a better place for future generations by following your passions and utilizing your inborn talents and abilities. If they aspire to become actors, I would like to tell them that mere luck will not be sufficient to become an actor; the struggle is real. You need to work very hard and train yourself to become an actor. Your success and failure depend on what you do, and the type of content you can produce, and one should always try to improve themselves.
(Keywords: Susovan Sonu Roy, Tollywood, bollywood news, actor, dancer, nepotism, struggle, kolkata, bengali)
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NASA will pay up to $1 million to people who can come up with innovative and sustainable food production ideas to feed astronauts in space, as the US space agency prepares to send astronauts further into the cosmos than ever before. Giving future explorers the technology to produce nutritious, tasty, and satisfying meals on long-duration space missions will give them the energy required to uncover the great unknown. In coordination with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA has launched the 'Deep Space Food Challenge' that calls on teams to design, build, and demonstrate prototypes of food production technologies that provide tangible nutritional products -- or food.
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"Feeding astronauts over long periods within the constraints of space travel will require innovative solutions," said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, DC. "Pushing the boundaries of food technology will keep future explorers healthy and could even help feed people here at home," he said in a statement. Over time, food loses its nutritional value. That means for a multi-year mission to Mars, bringing along pre-packaged food will not meet all the needs for maintaining astronaut health.
Innovative food production technology that produces safe, acceptable, palatable, nutritious food products. |UnsplashUnsplash
In October 2021, Phase 1 of the challenge culminated as NASA awarded 18 teams a total of $450,000 for their concepts for innovative food production technology that produces safe, acceptable, palatable, nutritious food products. NASA now invites both new and existing teams to enter Phase 2 for a prize purse up to $1 million. "Everything needed to store, prepare and deliver food to the crew, including production, processing, transport, consumption, and disposal of waste should be considered," said NASA. Proposed technologies such as plant growth systems, manufactured food products, and ready-to-eat solutions combined could provide the future crews with a variety of options that would provide the needed daily nutrition, it added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : NASA, innovative, food, healthy, idea, astronaut, USA, tasty, technology, space, travel, explorer, health, nutrition, prize, solution, variety.)
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People suffering from depression are more likely to believe vaccine-related misinformation, according to a new study. The study found that people with moderate or greater symptoms of depression were more likely to believe at least 1 of 4 false statements about Covid-19 vaccines.
Those who believed the statements to be true were half as likely to be vaccinated, the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicated. 'It is clear the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the mental health of Americans, especially young people," said researcher Katherine Ognyanova from Rutgers University, the US.
People suffering from depression are more likely to believe vaccine-related misinformation. | Unsplash
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately one-quarter of adults in the US have consistently reported moderate or greater depressive symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings suggest that people suffering from depression may be at a higher risk of Covid-19, highlighting the need to address mental health disorders.
For the study, the team used data from the research group The Covid States Project, which conducted surveys approximately once every six weeks since April 2020. The researchers analysed data from 15,464 adults in the US and the participants were asked to rate vaccine-related misinformation as accurate (statement is true), inaccurate (statement is not true) or not sure.
Approximately one-quarter of adults in US reported moderate or greater depressive symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic. | Unsplash
The four statements of misinformation included "The Covid-19 vaccines will alter people's DNA", "The vaccines contain microchips that could track people", "The vaccines contain the lung tissue of aborted fetuses", and "The -19 vaccines can cause infertility, making it more difficult to get pregnant". The survey participants completed a health questionnaire to measure major depressive symptoms over two weeks. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: depression, vaccine, misinformation, patients, health questionnaire, study)