Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, December 15th, 2017

The Echo of Zahra’s Suicide

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The Echo of Zahra’s Suicide

The news about Zahra’s suicide went viral and triggered public conjecture, which was stereotypical. There were words about the refusal of her monograph for six times, lack of patience about writing her monograph, poverty, and probability of illegal demands by her lecturer.
Whatever the reason was, she killed herself. After five years of pain and sufferings, she has lied inside a coffin. She put an end to verbal wounds inflicted on her and witnessing her parents’ misery. Now the question is that why Zahra killed herself? The answer will be very hard unless you were the student of Kabul University or know what is going on inside the university. Zahra chose committing suicide which is not easy to condemn. The death of Zahra Khawari, who was from a remote and poor area, has triggered questions. Perhaps one will simply ponder over the answers. The question will be answered with the passage of time.
Who was Zahra?
Zahra Khawari was born in a poor family in Ghochan area of Shahristan district, Daikundi province. Similar to many girls, she struggled hard to enter university. She was majored in veterinary field in Kabul University and completed the four-year course with indescribable sufferings. She wished to alleviate the suffering of her father, who was a farmer. But she took all her wishes to the grave with herself.
One of her classmates says that after completing four years of her university, Zahra’s monograph was approved with the title of the Effect of Feeding Straw and Vegetable on the Growth of Sheep in Daikundi Province. Her monograph was refused despite her struggle in this respect. To Zahra’s unmitigated chagrin, her next monograph which was entitled Feeding Chickens were also refused. To research in this regard, Zahra was feeding 30 chickens from their birth up to fifty days inside a container in campus under four categories. She fed the first and second categories by the food prepared by herself and the third and fourth categories fed by food prepared by credible companies. She compared and weighed the chickens and charted them every day. But the chart was favored neither by her lecturer nor by his obsolete books. It is worth saying that the chart was in accordance with standard list of feeding chickens. So, the frequent refusal of her monograph led to her suicide.
One of Zahra’s relatives, who has a drugstore, says that Zahra brought sick chickens for examination for several times and prepared drug for them. She had keen interest in her education and activities.
Who is Zahra’s lecturer Mr. Tanin?
Whatever the reason was behind Zahra’s death, now all the attention is focused on her lecturer who is said to refuse her monograph for several times. It is said that he approved Zahra’s first monograph on which she struggled for one semester, but when she was supposed to defend her monograph, it was refused by her lecturer named Tanin. Zahra adopted another subject. Despite her struggles in this regard, it was again refused by her lecturer. There is no exact information about Mr. Tanin. Based on his record, he is from Logar and authored many academic books. He has PH.D and called “Pohand” (a high academic degree in Afghanistan). Since there are three members of Tanin’s family teaching in a single department, it triggers suspicion. However, he is not described with any specific quality by Zahra’s classmates. One of Zahra’s roommates says that university lecturers are mostly bad-tempered and Mr. Tanin is not an exception.
When I called Mr. Tanin to ask about the issue, he was under the investigation of police and could not opine. But he emphasized that he would express his idea as soon as he is released.
Zahra’s classmates express their bitter memories with Mr. Tanin. Their hearts are filled with pain. One of her classmates said that head of her department, Mr. Tanin’s brother, deprived her of lesson in her fourth year and no one listens to her petition. She adds that she passed four years of her lifetime in veterinary field, but all four years of her struggles and sufferings were in vain. She was expelled from university and was not let to take part in the final exam or gain her bachelor degree.
The echo of Zahra’s suicide
Suicide has been debated hotly in many years back and no one has reached a definite result. Suicide existed in primitive societies and it was viewed from religious perspective. The first one who explored suicide in academic way was Emile Durkheim. According to him, social issues were the main reasons behind suicide. His theory will be applicable in Zahra’s death only to some extent. But her death will be evaded into oblivion as usual. She conveys a clearer message from university. Her death resounded widely and many ideas are expressed in social media, none of which are believed to be the reason behind her death. The fact is that Kabul University is obsolete and will not meet the needs of youths or quench their educational thirst. Many voices were raised from inside university, but none of them were listened. Perhaps, it was not an individual who motivated Zahra in committing suicide but the entire structure and environment in university might have been the reason.

Mohammad Hedayat is the Editor in Chief of the Daily Afghanistan Ma. He can be reached at thedailyafghanistan@yahoo.com

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