Live-stream­ing of sui­cide is one’s last big state­ment be­fore mak­ing an exit

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Etti Bali etti.bali@htlive.com

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

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