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Euthanasia Part 2

March 21, 2011

In my previous post I wrote about what I felt about Euthanasia in context of Aruna Shanbaug’s story. Recently I also finally managed to see Guzaarish. Guzaarish is a film based on a quadriplegic’s quest for euthanasia. I loved the movie even though it didn’t do too well on the box office.  In a discussion about the movie I was having online with someone, I said I would not have granted permission for euthanasia to the main character of the film. I felt the protagonist was too full of life to want to die and was an inspiration to others to want to live. No way he should be granted permission to take his own life, no matter what the suffering.

All this made me wonder that I was sad for Aruna, who lay as a vegetable for 37 years, though perhaps not brain dead, and for whom I felt the courts should grant permission for euthanasia. And yet for someone who is conscious of his suffering for 14 years (the protagonist in the film), who can take a decision for himself to end the suffering I felt differently. Was it the number of years that makes a difference? Is 14 years not a long time to suffer? Or is it the fact that the person is conscious and communicating that makes a difference in my thinking? Is the suffering of the person who is conscious and lives the pain and the frustration not greater than that of the person who feels nothing, or perhaps is not able to express it? And if the conscious person is indeed allowed to take the decision to end their own suffering, what’s to prevent others with seemingly less pain and suffering take the decision to end their lives? After all, pain and suffering is relative and depends on the each individual’s ability to live through it and make the most of the situation they are in.

I guess there are really no black and white answers to this question of euthanasia.


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