There has been an alarming increase in the rate of suicide amongst the young female population in Chitral. The phenomenon needs to be studied carefully and elaborately to identify the reasons and find out ways to check this unfortunate trend.
Female gender has always been given a lower berth in the family setup in traditional Chitral. Whereas the number of male issues of a person were considered the measurement of his strength, female off springs were owned up as a liability in the traditional culture of Chitral evident by the practice that birth of a son was celebrated loudly while a daughters birth went as much unreported as was possible.
Over the years, practices have changed. Female education has become popular in Chitral but a healthy follow up of the elementary education remains wanted. Even today girls after attaining puberty become a cause of concern for the parents and they try to wed them off at the earliest opportunity, and in this, the girl’s choice (or even willingness at times) is not a priority. The natural outcome of this phenomenon is that girls become frustrated and depending on the type of their personality, some elope while some capitulate under mental pressure and commit suicide.
Other than the marriage issue, the problem for the female gender is that they are torn apart between two cultures, one being their family’s orthodox traditions and the other being the dish culture which beams Indian dramas round the clock in their homes showing an entirely different and opposite world. Those who do not get an outlet and who cannot cope with this psychological conflict choose the ultimate form of revenge from their family and the society in the form of committing suicide.
It must be mentioned that a section of the Chitrali society specially in the Ismaili community have paid special attention to higher education of their female population and resultantly many are well placed in the country and abroad, but the vast majority of female population in Chitral sees not much light as long as healthy openings are not offered to them for playing an active and effective role in the society, other than merely getting wedded and bearing children.