“Did you really want to die?”
“No one commits suicide because they want to die.”
“Then why do they do it?”
“Because they want to stop the pain.”
This quote by Tiffanie DeBartolo brings to fore the pain behind a suicide. Any death is painful, and more so if the death cuts short a life – a life which probably could have offered a lot more to this world.
In Mumbai yesterday, a Branch Manager of a nationalised bank committed suicide, by throwing himself in front of a train. He had a year of service left. The reason for suicide left me astonished. Apparently he committed suicide because a number of loans that he had given had turned delinquent. He was worried that a departmental enquiry would be held, which would strip him of all his retirement benefits. For a minute assuming that this is true (after all if he had made money on those loans why would he worry about retirement benefits) – who is then accountable for his death?
I have seen umpteen instances in the past, in my banking career, wherein under pressure of loan collectors customers have either committed suicide or threatened to commit suicide. In such cases its always been the bank which has borne the brunt. Regulators and law enforcers have always held the banking industry accountable for such deaths, and taken the concerned officer / bank to task. In fact one such death in Hyderabad formed the fulcrum of the plot in my book Devil in Pinstripes.
In this particular case, the equation changes. A Bank Manager has committed suicide because customers he lent money to have defaulted. Have refused to pay up. Who will be held accountable now? Will the law enforcers now go after the same defaulting customers and book them for abetment to suicide? Haven’t they pushed the Bank Manager over the hill, by consistently not paying up? Will they take these customers to task for forcing a bank officer to take the extreme step? Sadly, I doubt if that would happen. Chasing a delinquent customer to pay, unfortunately, is a bigger crime than not paying up on a loan.
In all this, my assumption is that the bank manager was genuinely a victim and not a perpetrator of what led to his ultimate demise. I just hope someone takes notice of these instances and builds enough deterrents in our legal and banking system, to prevent defaults. Hope a day would come when people defaulting on bank loans think, not twice but hundred times of the implications. Let this Bank Managers death not go in vain. May his soul RIP.