What is this about selfies that it has become such an obsession with people that they are ready to lose their lives and limbs for it.
As mentioned in an earlier piece by this writer, Narcissism or excessive self- love is a destructive state of mind and can lead to severe harm to the psyche of the person afflicted by this tendency and those around that person who are expected to praise that person’s persona all the time.
Now we know that Narcissistic Personal Disorder has been recognized as a psychic symptom in 1968, which according to a study, afflicts one per cent of the population, males more than females. That is not surprising because Narcissus was a King in Ancient mythology who was obsessed with looking at his own picture.
But this obsession with self, another name for megalomania, has taken a fatal turn in recent days with many youngsters killing themselves while taking their own pictures or selfies.
The 16 year old who lost his life in Chennai trying to take a selfie with a speeding train is the latest in this trail.Only a few weeks earlier an elderly man was killed trying to save a girl who had fallen in the sea while trying to take a selfie.
Why does one take a selfie?Is it just to keep a picture for record or is there more to it?
To me ‘ selfies’ is another word for selfish although many friends will differ. There was a time taking photographs was considered an art with the professional cameras.One had to wait for the right light, focus and had to take several pictures fot the right combination.
There were exhibitions of well known professional photographers who captured rare moments to immortalize them for posterity be it nature photographs, historic moments in the lives of a nation or even of ruins of palaces or civilizations.
When I was studying journalism I was told that the front page of a newspaper made a good made up your day if it carried the picture of a flower or an animal. I will never forget a half a page picture taken by Raghu Rai, published by Statesman, when Indira Gandhi lost the election after the emergency.
So hated was she and her impetuous son Sanjay Gandhi for committing all those excesses of the emergency that the picture showed a man taking off a poster of Indira Gandhi from the wall and throwing it in the dustbin.
But those were pictures of historical value,of events,of occasions that left an impact on the sands of time not of people obsessed with themselves.
However, ever since the invention of the camera on mobiles there has been an unusual surge in taking of selfies or pictures of one’s own that it has crossed all limits of decency and sense and now they have turned into a security risk.
It is high time some one filed a PIL to seek a ban on cameras on phone by just counting how many youths lost their lives in the last two years while taking selfies although this obsession with selfies afflicts people of all ages.
I don’t expect any initiative from this government to check this trend where the Prime Minister himself is so obsessed with his own pictures that cartoonists are having a whale of a time mocking his obsession with selfies and bear hugs.
By Amitabh Srivastava