Live-streaming of suicide is one’s last big statement before making an exit
Is suicide-streaming the new selfie? Shocking as it may sound, the trend of people live-streaming their last moments on the earth points to a desire to be remembered — and maybe even admired, in a morbid way — after death.
The recent case that has both shocked and fascinated the nation is that of Arjun Bhardwaj, the 24-year-old who on April 3 checked into a posh hotel suite, and live-streamed his suicide on Facebook. In the footage, one can see him taking the final steps, as he says, “Ok, I don’t think I can record this while doing it. But f*** it, okay cool... See you guys on the other side.” Then he jumped off the 19th floor of the hotel.
Just a day after this, Bigg Boss Kannada winner and actor-filmmaker Pratham streamed a video after taking sleeping pills. In the video, he said, “Anything that I do is being wrongly projected. I cannot take it anymore. This will be my final Facebook Live video and sorry if I have hurt anyone.” Luckily, he was saved.
Suicide is supposed to be a lonely affair, a desperate choice made by people who feel deserted by the world. Then how does one interpret Bhardwaj’s bravado in the final moments of his life? He smoked, drank, and gave a ‘suicide tutorial’ online — actions that amazed people far more than the suicide itself.
Psychologist Dr Pulkit Sharma says, “Most people commit suicide because they’re depressed and hopeless. They do it silently in a closed room. But those suffering from personality issues might have a lot of anger in them. They might also be attention-seekers. When they get very disturbed, they end their lives in a dramatic way. That act becomes a statement. Even while ending their life, they’re happy that they’re making a statement to the world. They die with the hope that their story will go into the newspapers; people will talk about them.”
Live-streaming of suicides may be new to India, but quite a few cases have been reported from the West. In March, an 11-year-old boy from Michigan took his life after his girlfriend faked suicide on social media. In January, aspiring Hollywood actor Frederick Jay Bowdy shot himself in the head and live-streamed it on Facebook. The same month, a 14-year-old Miami girl live-streamed her suicide. Last December, a 12-year-old Georgia girl hanged herself and live-streamed it.
Dr Sharma says that there’s a ‘larger-than-life element’ to such acts. “It’s a masterstroke... maybe to become immortal as they die,” he says.
THE PECULIAR BRAVADO LIVE-STREAMED ON A SOCIAL NETWORK BY ARJUN BHARDWAJ, IN THE MOMENTS BEFORE HIS SUICIDE, WAS MOST PROBABLY HIS LAST LUNGE AT BEING REMEMBERED AFTER DEATH