Ganapathi Bhat, Akola
India has been hit by different types of preventable deaths. Now, a new phenomenon has choked the country: “selfie deaths”. After the smart phone fever gripped India, with various companies eager to be a step ahead in the rat race of offering new features like attractive in-built cameras to customers, the youths of India have run amok with perilously clicking selfies to put their lives on the line. In the years 2014–2016, India has had the dubious distinction of topping the list in selfie related deaths. The country accounted for sixty per cent of all global selfie deaths. “Selfitis” or “selfie mania”, as one would like to term the selfie craze, has snuffed bright young lives out and severely crippled a lot of dreamy eyed ones. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Kerala and Karnataka are the states which account for the majority of selfie deaths though no corner of the country is safe for selfie maniacs. Sea sides, highways, mountain cliffs, high buildings, railway tracks, waterfalls are some of the points where selfie indulgers have literally killed themselves. Several youngsters, including girls, have drowned in the sea at Mumbai trying to capture their images. An elderly man was crushed by an elephant when he was taking a selfie with the jumbo in Odisha. Bidadi in Karnataka saw a gory incident on Tuesday when three young men were killed by a train running on the parallel track when clicking selfies on the other track. All the selfie obsessed men and women are obviously eying a “milestone” or “appreciation” from their “likers” on social media. The ingrained inclination to bask in their “glorious moments” have further embolden end the selfie maniacs. Many who lose lives are obviously “experienced selfie takers” who desire to add another feather or two to their cap forgetting they are jeopardising their lives. Both over confidence and low self–esteem, ironically, contribute to selfie deaths. Psychologists have said that the selfie lovers are preoccupied more with their “mirror image” than their usual self leading to disaster. Many governments are said to be mulling over maintaining selfie death registers and report such deaths to create awareness among the parents of the youngsters on putting brakes on their kith and kin. Vulnerable selfie addicts can easily be identified to be put on counselling. In Mumbai, “no selfie zone” boards have come up in sixteen places.