In a heart-wrenching incident, Priyanshu Yadav, also known as “Pranshu,” a 16-year-old from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, succumbed to the brutal cyberbullying they endured due to their identity as a queer individual.
Aspiring to be a social media influencer, Priyanshu lived with their mother, Preeti, in Ujjain. Their life took a tragic turn as they faced relentless derogatory remarks and homophobic slurs on social media, particularly for expressing themselves through videos donning saris and makeup.
Overwhelmed by the incessant negativity, Priyanshu, with 17,000 followers on Instagram, tragically took their own life by hanging themselves using their mother’s dupatta.
The police intervened, seizing Priyanshu’s smartphone to investigate the severe online harassment they faced across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Although the exact reasons behind their devastating actions remain unclear, authorities are actively probing the potential link between cyberbullying and Priyanshu’s exploration and expression of their identity through cross-dressing.
Death By Suicide
In a statement to the press, the local authorities verified that Pranshu was alone at their residence at the time of the tragic incident leading to their suicide on Tuesday afternoon.
Additionally, the police disclosed their action of confiscating Pranshu’s mobile phone for investigative purposes, intending to scrutinize their social media accounts and WhatsApp activity.
Nagziri police station’s in-charge, Kamal Singh Gehlot, informed reporters that statements have been taken from Pranshu’s father, Rajendra Yadav, along with other family members and neighbors as part of the ongoing investigation.
Living under the alias “Pranshu” after their parents’ separation three years ago, Priyanshu attended Ujjain Public School. Their father, Rajendra Yadav, and mother, Preeti, parted ways, leaving Priyanshu in their mother’s care.
Priyanshu’s social media presence portrayed their prowess as a makeup artist and content creator, featuring over 300 posts showcasing various sarees and dresses. Their final Instagram post, dated November 12, displaying them in a red saree and traditional “jewelry”, unfortunately, attracted a deluge of homophobic comments and abuse from online trolls.
Victim Of Online Hate
They acquired their skills independently and amassed nearly 17,000 followers on Instagram. Following their passing, various LGBTQIA+ accounts reported being targeted by online bullying and harassment after they shared a video in a traditional Indian ensemble that gained traction during Diwali.
Reportedly, this video attracted over 4,000 comments, predominantly characterized by homophobic content.
Amidst the investigation into Priyanshu’s tragic passing, the LGBTQIA+ community has mobilized on social media, condemning the cyberbullies responsible and demanding justice for this devastating loss.
Preeti Yadav, mother of the 16-year-old said, “Why is no attention being paid to the fact that a 16-year-old faced hate comments online for doing something they not only loved but were also good at? This negativity needs to be checked and curtailed.”
44-year-old Medical Representative (MR), Preeti shared with The Quint that it was during Pranshu’s ninth-grade year when they confided in her about their aspirations.
She remarked, “Typically, in the ninth grade, children express ambitions to become engineers, architects, or the like. However, Pranshu came to me expressing their desire to pursue a career as a makeup artist. Initially taken aback, I was astounded when I saw their work. That day, I encouraged them to chase their dream.”
Pranshu Wanted To Be Like James Charles
During the pandemic, Pranshu utilized their grandfather’s mobile phone for online classes and devoted their free time to creating videos. Preeti mentioned that despite this creative pursuit, Pranshu excelled academically, earning admiration from their teachers for their respectful demeanor towards girls and women.
Preeti elaborated that Pranshu found inspiration in the American YouTuber and makeup artist, James Charles, aspiring to emulate his success. She emphasized that Pranshu actively collaborated with various brands for promotional work and ensured not to burden her with any makeup-related expenses.
Addressing the controversy surrounding the viral video, Preeti defended Pranshu’s choice, stating, “Pranshu was a makeup artist donned in traditional Indian attire for Diwali. They were fully covered. What could possibly be wrong with that?”
Expressing her grief over the loss of her only child, she reiterated her pride in Pranshu for their ambition and dedication to their talent.
“Each child is unique, and I embraced my child just the way they were. I would have always supported them. I wish they had given me that opportunity,” Preeti lamented, expressing her sense of isolation following the tragic loss.
In the wake of Pranshu’s tragic passing, a profound message echoes through the heartbreak and loss. The story reflects the clash between an individual’s aspirations, societal perceptions, and the ruthless impact of cyberbullying.
Preeti Yadav’s poignant words and unwavering support for her child serve as a testament to a parent’s unconditional love and acceptance.
It’s a call to action, urging society to foster an environment of inclusivity and understanding, celebrating the uniqueness of every individual without fear of judgment or persecution. The devastating consequences of unchecked online hate underline the pressing need for stricter measures to combat cyberbullying and safeguard vulnerable communities.
Pranshu’s story is a reminder that behind every talent, aspiration, and individuality lies a human being deserving of empathy, support, and respect. It’s an appeal to honor and cherish the diversity of identities, talents, and dreams, fostering a world where every individual feels valued, embraced, and unconditionally supported.
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Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth
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This post is tagged under: Pranshu, queer, artist, makeup, suicide, makeup artist suicide, makeup artist, talented, online comments, Instagram, homophobic, hate comments, trolling, LGBTQ
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