- 17-year-old Rafseena from Maloor in Kannur, scored 1,180 marks out of 1,200 in her Plus Two exam.
- But two days later, she committed suicide by hanging.
- The teen lived in a single-room house, with her mother Rahmath, a daily wage labourer, and two siblings.
- Local media had played up on her poverty and harsh living conditions.
- The teen felt humiliated as she never told her friends that her mother was a labourer.
She scored 1,180 marks out of 1,200 in her higher secondary exams (10+2), but two days after she made her family, friends and her community proud, 17-year-old Rafseena hanged herself. Her death has left the entire state shocked.
What pushed the teen to take the extreme step? Reports squarely blame the media. The young girl found it humiliating that the media reported on her poor background, which she had hidden from her classmates. Rafseena lived with her mother, a daily wage labourer, in a one-room house in Maloor Nittaramb Laksham Veedu colony and the young teen did not want her friends to know about that.
The media highlighted her success story rather proudly, which made many including Kannur MP PK Sreemathy to voluntarily come forward and express their wish to sponsor the 17-year-old's higher education.
While it is easy to point fingers at the media, the society including our educational institutions equally is responsible for this tragedy.
Media sensationalism kills a brilliant Muslim girl named Rafseena (17) belongs to a poor family in Kannur,... https://t.co/lIAjBPjJ0m— Kanika Mishra (@kanikacart) May 18, 2017
The fact that the teen hid, the truth about her social strata speaks volumes about the society in general. According to a study titled Psychological Effects of Poverty in Children, often children from poor economic background face bullying from their peers.
"The present generation of children is that they cannot appreciate anything if the other person is not from their strata of the society. It so happens many a times that children from lower rungs of the society, when made to mingle with children from a normal background, it is very likely that these kids are treated as an outcast," the study says.
In all probability, in Rafseena's case, this is what the young teen was most afraid of --- of becoming an "outcast" among her friends. In her death, the 17-year-old exposed the double standards of the society. It was her poverty that she was most ashamed of, and despite being a high-performing student, her poor socio-economical background affected her deeply.
Sad.... But people need to realize that being poor isn't a crime or a sin... https://t.co/b4zTniIBaf— Mustafa Kamal (@mkamaal) May 21, 2017
And this is what we all should be discussing, the existent inequality in our society. The mandate is on the educational institutions, the churches, the madrasas and the community to create a society that practises equality.
Where are the welfare schemes for the poor? Why is nobody talking about that? And that is where the answer lies to the question who killed Rafseena? And we all just need to look within to know who is to blame. You did.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:40 PM IST