The Pratyusha Banerjee suicide has been all over the news in every form. The newspapers which usually save their first few pages for Flipkart’s massive advertisements decided to give a blow by blow account of what they surmised were the last few hours in the life of the TV actress. Was she troubled? Did she have financial problems? Was her boyfriend abusing her? Was she pregnant? 24 hours after this young woman had taken the extreme step, her erstwhile existence was being splashed all over the internet and print media. And I was left to conclude that we had yet another Sheena Bora case on our hands.
I have a series of objections and a number of targets that definitely do not include the deceased. Let us start by acknowledging that a life was lost. For whatever reason, this girl at some point in time, decided to stop fighting for herself. For what it’s worth, let me tell you that there is nothing cowardly about taking one’s own life. When every single day you cannot find a shred of self respect and courage to keep going, living is an arduous task. And yet, in their final moments, many wish they hadn’t taken the extreme step. The Reddit thread is worth a read. That said, my list of objections.
- Hindustan Times wrote a terrible piece titled : Why Jamshedpur’s girls fail in Bollwood. I don’t even know where to begin berating your editors and writers. While there was no conclusive evidence about her motive, HT was telling the world that she couldn’t handle pressure because she was a small town girl! Btw, Priyanka Chopra who was born in Jamshedpur, was awarded the Padma Shri yesterday.
- Immediately after this distasteful post, other media houses quickly churned out write-ups shaming HT. This Vagabomb piece jabs HT for being wrong and tries to show how their original post was done in a respectful manner. Really? You want to increase your viewing by showing how your stand is more correct? Weren’t ScoopWhoop and Vagabomb originally supposed to be the online fashion mags? Since when did they become journalists?
- Pratyusha Banerjee’s parents did a full interview with BT in which they blamed her boyfriend Rahul Raj. Sigh. They also said they didn’t interfere despite their reservations only because she loved him. This girl was 24. The boy was much older. Since when do parents accept just about anyone as a son-in-law? And that too when they have reservations!?
- Hema Malini tweeted about how suicide shows lack of courage. Seriously woman? Are you a certified psychiatrist?
- Rakhi Sawant and Dolly Brindra, true to their character (rather lack of) asked for a ban on ceiling fans and played a private conversation to the media for footage. Both are now being tried by the media and the law.
- Miss Malini made a post about how Pratyusha was cremated dressed as a bride and even uploaded a picture of the rites. To what extent is the media willing to go just for TRPs? I am speechless.
- Niraj Gupta refused to defend Rahul Raj because he thinks the boyfriend is responsible. He said it wouldn’t sit well with his conscience. Err, what just happened to lawyer-client confidentiality? A court rules whether a man is innocent or not. The media, the lawyer, the victim, and the people at large are not qualified to decide. Yes, bitter as that is, it is the truth.
When did we go from freedom of expression to tolerating bullshit just because we recognize the right to express? The trial by media needs to stop. Everyone who is not qualified to opine needs to stop tweeting about it. And for the sake of sensibility and duty, the media needs to stop making headlines like – Breaking News: Indrayani Mukherjee ate a sandwich!