Jiah Khan: Actress and Animal Activist

Jiah Khan

Jiah Khan

It appears that this beautiful, 25 year old Indian actress, who had it all, committed suicide. I say, “appears” because it is early days. She died at her home in Mumbai, the bustling capital of the burgeoning Indian film industry.

When someone who is blessed with talent and an attractive appearance decides to end her life, the natural instinct of people is to ask, why? There have been other similar stories. Here is what PoC’s reporter in Mumbai, Rudolph Furtado writes:

It’s bizarre, strange and true which psychologists in Mumbai would find difficult to reason. Three of India’s most famous women model/actors who were also avid cat owners committed suicide over the last few years, all of them in the prime of their youth.

The reasons being failed love affairs as claimed by the media. Why didn’t these suicidal young ladies find solace in their pets or animal welfare activities? The latest to commit suicide in Mumbai was 25 year old actress Jiah (Nafisa). Khan who is an Indian of British origin having been raised in New York and London.

She was the owner of some stray cats and an avid animal activist. I personally feel that besides owning or caring for pets every human requires a strong human bonding with another human or a group of fellow humans to ward off depression. I must have opened a Pandora’s box of debate.

Yes, you have opened up a good subject for debate. Jiah Khan had two causes: animals and children. She was an ambassador for PETA.

She writes about animals:

Like humans, animals are capable of suffering and have interests in leading their own lives; therefore, they are not ours to use – for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation or any other reason..

Jiah was deeply concerned about the vulnerable creatures on the planet. She must have been a very gentle and decent person.

It would seem that to her the conventional idea of success – receiving adulation as a film star and making lots of money – was not a measure of true success or fulfillment.

What appears to have mattered to her were the more real aspects of life and when you think of those you often bump into injustice and abuse of the vulnerable. It is in your face when you start to think.

Jiah appears to have been known for liking cats and cared for stray cats. If one likes and cares for animals, the stray cat is a good outlet for one’s passions because there are lots of needy stray cats.

The wise people say the good die young. William Wordsworth’s writes:

The good die first,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust burn
Burn to the socket.

Why do the good die first? Because they are kind. To be kind you have to be sensitive and alert. Such a mentality makes like more difficult. Is that it?

Jiah Khan — 20.2.1988 – 2.6.2013

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Jiah Khan: Actress and Animal Activist — 5 Comments

  1. Interesting and most of all, very sad. I think the film world is a difficult place for somebody who cares about animals. The film industry is like a polar opposite – probably very superficial and morally very questionable. I think it must be very hard to witness such a life everyday as a person who is sensitive to more real things in life and who has care and empathy for animals.

    Finally, and most obviously, success is entirely personal. She probably felt more like a failure than a success in many respects or she would not have done it I believe. Culture defines success in a specific way and to be catapulted into this definition of cultural success or “having it all” must be very frustrating for certain kinds of people who want to matter in this world in an entirely different way. As an actress a person is basically the subject of human consumption in the highest degree. Imagine feeling like that – not very nice – being literally consumed by people’s eyes and ears and being unable to escape it. Not a happy life for somebody who sees more to life than fame and money. This is very sad.

    • an actress a person is basically the subject of human consumption

      Nice phrase. They are for human consumption. A product. For thinking people it is probably difficult to accept and wealth is nice but it does not satisfy most people beyond a certain amount.

  2. For readers of “P.O.C” not familiar with Indian celibrity i have given a brief bio-data of the two models who had committed suicide in Mumbai prior to Jiah.Khan. It was and is a simple case of “SERIAL SUICIDE” due to failed “LOVE AFFAIRS” in their personal lives.Bizarrely, all three models committed suicide by hanging.

    ALL THE THREE MODELS/CELEBRITIES WERE PASSIONATE ANIMAL WELFARE ACTIVISTS AND ALL OF THEM OWNED CATS.I have copied their brief bio-data from “Wikepedia” and the same can be checked by readers.

    Nafisa Joseph was an Indian model and MTV video jockey. She was the winner of Miss India Universe 1997 and was a semi-finalist in the Miss Universe 1997 pageant in Miami.C omitted suicide by hanging at her residence in Versova in Mumbai on 29/7/2004.

    Viveka Babajee (May 23, 1973 – June 25, 2010) was a Mauritian model and actress. She held the titles of Miss Mauritius World 1993 and Miss Mauritius Universe 1994.Committed suicide by hanging at her residence in Bandra in Mumbai on 25-6-2010.

    Is the city life of Mumbai too commercial and hectic for certain people who have various different forms of measuring their own success ? Compared to the average Indian women , these three women were in an elite group of achievers even on a International world scale of personal achievements.

    Among male cat owners, one of the world’s most famous suicides is of the Nobel winning novelist Ernest.Hemingway, one of my favourite authors.

    According to my personal study it seems that ownership of pets does not guarantee social or personal happiness in a human as we humans are the most complicated beings on Planet Earth. Pets do pacify a human as they are non-judgmental unlike our own human counterparts.Ultimately, happiness and achievement in life is based upon a persons own barometer and varies from individual to individual.

    • Thanks for this Rudolph. It is an interesting subject: whether serious cat owners and animal carers are more prone to suicidal thoughts than the population generally. It may be the case because it is quite painful caring about animals in a world that is dominated by people who in general don’t really care. That is not the only issue. As you say Mumbai, is very commercial and competitive in a raw sort of way it seems to me. This is not suitable to a lot of people.

  3. Its quite difficult for me to start because I have thoughts in my head however I really don’t know how to lay them out if front of you……I’ll try though….I personally feel that some beings are too sensitive to live in a world of cruelty and hatred… they cannot cope with it 🙁 Most people that adore cats are very sensitive and maybe this beautiful girl with the beautiful soul and heart just couldn’t cope with seeing animals treated so cruelly whilst at the same time feeling constantly exposed because of the film industry……just my thoughts however I have to say 3 beautiful young women all actresses all animal activists all committed suicide the same way for the same reason seems too much of a coincidence.

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