MUMBAI: AN elderly couple in Mumbai has written to President Ram Nath Kovind for his approval of their demand for euthanasia.“Our fight is for the right to die legally,” says octogenarian Narayan Lawate, who, along with his wife Irawati, has been fighting for legalizing of euthanasia for more than 40 years.
The Lawate couple wrote to President Kovind last December. “We shall wait till March 31 for his reply. Then we shall decide our course of action,” said Irawati Lawate, 78.
“Opinion the world over is swinging in favour of respecting the wishes of individuals in personal matters. If medical termination of pregnancy is allowed liberally, there should be no objection to allowing the exit of persons who came into this world at a time when birth control methods were not accepted or easily available and are suffering inwardly for no fault of theirs,” said Narayan Lawate, who has prepared a draft for legislation to permit euthanasia.When asked about possible misuse of euthanasia, Lawate queried which legislation had never been misused. “The legal pundits can device mechanisms to check misuse of legislation on euthanasia,” he adds.
“We decided long back that we would not like to lie in a vegetative state awaiting death. Instead we started our fight for the right to die. This has not come out of any kind of negativity towards life. We have lived and enjoyed our life. But now we feel that we are of no use to society and hence we should be permitted to end our lives,” Lawate said. “I’ve been working on this cause since 1987”, he added.
When asked what caused him to take up this cause, he said, “Nothing specific acted as a trigger. The feeling gradually developed. I had decided that if and when I reached the age of 75, I would like my life to be ended. I had made this clear to her before marriage.”
“Since we had also decided not to have children, I didn’t want to reach the stage where I would have to depend on others, and hence whatever he said made sense to me and I agreed,” said Irawati, who retired in 1997 as the principal of a school run by Aryan Educational Society.