Life is a brilliant blessing, like a beautiful fabric, woven together by strands of different shades, depicting the varying aspects of this miracle called life. The thumping of your heart, the inhalation and exhalation of breath, reacting to stimuli, experiencing the myriad human emotions, are all testaments of our existence. But is that really enough? Does that status of ‘being alive’ say it all, or nothing?
We come on this planet, play different parts, create and experience the life that we make for ourselves and live by, until nature knocks on the door with ‘death’, a necessary ending to everything. Popular culture has always painted ‘death’ in colors of grey and black filled with emotions of sadness, grief and tragedy. Irrespective of how we react to it, it happens. The question of how and when we die is a mystery that shall unfurl when it’s meant to and is beyond anyone’s control. But what happens when nature doesn’t make a firm due call and one is found standing on this tightrope of being alive but not really living. What should be done, when everything, that makes life beautiful and worth living suddenly disappears and one is reduced to a mere body with flesh and skin on bed with their life being spent with the ticking away of a heart rate monitor, the only indicative of their existence. The sometimes silent, sometimes loud screams of despair, helplessness and affliction are an infinitesimal revelation of the ocean of wretchedness they live under. Should humans take things in their hands and intervene to give someone’s miserable state of life a closure, a dignified death, or is it cruel, unsympathetic and stepping a little too far than what is meant to?
Yes, Euthanasia or Mercy killing. To put it simply, euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally and painlessly killing a human being in order to end great suffering or poor quality of life. It is an issue that bears in itself aspects of rationality, hope, realism and many other complex and contradictory emotions. But it is a subject that is most definitely worthy of confrontation by professionals, be it legal, medical and even the general public, to have introspective discussions, with the fundamental motive of improving human well being. Factually speaking, the practice of passive euthanasia is legal in India which basically involves withdrawal of life support to someone in a prolonged vegetative state. However in most parts of the world it is still being debated, with both sides presenting a strong argument on moral, rational and even religious grounds. In my opinion one cannot have too polarizing opinions on such issues. Also, whether or not euthanasia should be considered for someone is highly situational, and requires an informed and clear assessment of several influencing factors. As much as prolonging someone’s life is important we must not disregard and overlook the everyday agony and burden of ‘being alive’.
But that is easier said than done, because when one is actually grappling with that situation, and sentiments are running high, the idea of abruptly ending someone’s life because of prolonged, excruciating suffering, seems beyond the bounds of possibility. Moreover, we tend to cling to those last rays of endless possibilities, anticipating a miracle. We look for signs seek motivation and hope against hope. Yet, the question arises, for how long? It undeniably is misery of the worst form. We all have been programmed to believe that life must be preserved in all conditions, no matter how despairing and miserable that may be.
It is for this reason that the idea of writing a ‘living will’ is becoming popular. A living will is a document written by anyone comprising of medical directions to be followed when one is not in a state of giving instructions on issues pertaining to the same. Well, that is a laudable prospect, everyone one must consider.
For or against it, it is time we become more aware and accepting of euthanasia as recourse. People across the globe are suffering in immense distress and are in need of a dignified cessation. A well rounded, holistic approach is the need of the hour. Better research, be it economical, medical or legal of it is vital. We can go on arguing about realism versus hope, but let patient’s easement be the top priority. If one has the right to live with dignity he must also have the right to die with it too.