Do we have mercy towards mercy killing?

Do we have mercy towards mercy killing?

 Do we have mercy towards mercy killing? has been edited by Rushi Bhimani.

Editor’s Note: All the opinions and statements are only that of the author of this article. Lutalica or any other member of the team has no say or acknowledgement in the content of the aforementioned. This is strictly an opinion piece. 

The painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.

When I think of this term, a number of questions arise. Is death the only solution? Why is it illegal in my country? If the person has a right to live, then should they not have a right to die as well?

Amidst a discussion once, when I was asked whether I am in favour of euthanasia, I said, “I think it is very subjective. It actually depends on every individual’s life. If they wish to end their pain and suffering, they must have the right to do so. It is not for us to decide.”

Let me ask you, have you ever wondered why do we tend to kill the idea of dying at times? Have you ever wondered, why is the idea of assisted suicide such a taboo in our society? Might it be because, on some level, our society considers this an act of cowardice? We pass judgment easily, but never stop to think about how someone might be feeling.

There are so many questions, but fickle answers. And I am sailing in the same boat as you are. While, the overtly optimistic might believe ‘there is always light at the end of the tunnel’, while the cynics or pessimists might believe at times, there is simply no escape. The fact is, it might be an act of cowardice, but what about other situations? Is euthanasia only justifiable if someone is suffering from an incurable disease? Or if someone had a life altering physical injury?

Keep biological sufferings aside, what if someone underwent a traumatic experience that affected them mentally and emotionally? One may argue that relieving them of their pain in a humane way is better than having them ultimately committing suicide. However, how can one trust the consent given by a person who has undergone mental trauma? How can one be sure that they will, ultimately, commit suicide? It always comes down to perception.

We can either worry, that these people might commit suicide or let them go, by agreeing for mercy killing. But that nagging feeling of ‘what if’ haunts many. It always comes down to perception.

If you have watched the movie Guzaarish, I am sure you would have sympathised with the protagonist for the pain that he suffers. You feel for him when he is denied his right to die a quick and painless death.

Note, that I said sympathise and not empathise. Because honestly, can we really feel the pain of a person who is suffering from something that has no cure? Could we withstand that pain? I guess we never really bothered thinking from their stance. We never really tried to step into their shoes. If that is indeed true, what right do we have to pass judgment on a person’s wish to die?

I would like to explain my point with a simple analogy. All of us lie. We think that if nothing else, we can lie to get out of a particular situation. Lying is our last resort. Maybe, in the same way, choosing to die is the last resort that a person may choose. That is what euthanasia is all about; it is one’s own wish to free their body from the pain.

I think the technicalities and legal aspects may ruin the idea of mercy killing. In my opinion, one should have the right to decide what one wants. My aim of writing this article is not to convince you that euthanasia should be made legal. It is to convince you to empathise. To ponder over these things before passing a split second judgment. And then maybe, one day, you might feel the pain of someone going through this. You never know.

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Vyom Desai

Philosopher. Wanderer. Nuclear Engineer. Budding teacher. Kickass social worker. A true samosa enthusiast. Remember, blackberry is bae.