Statistics show that there were 321,407 farmer suicides in India between 1995 and 2015. At the local level, cognizant of the gravity of the issue, Church organizations seek to support farmers in their struggles by rendering suicide prevention assistance. Still, a comprehensive theological response is needed. Gigesh Thomas develops a normative and pastoral framework to the Church’s activities for suicide prevention and postvention on which professional care could be built on. His reflection is formed by the notions of compassion and empathy and their usefulness for withstanding shame that often leads to suicide.
He develops an appropriate ethical approach to the issue while upholding relevant Church’ teachings, people’s concerns (discovered through his empirical research), taking into account the multi-faceted factors motivating suicide. The resistance aspect of a compassionate ethics helps empowering the poor to become agents of their own transformation.
This research of Gigesh Thomas will help in including a suicide prevention programme within the social and humanitarian agenda, thereby saving lives of vulnerable farmers through effective and efficient preventive actions.