I have often wondered at the kind of people who post pictures of dead bodies. Sometimes, even ones where the remains are mutilated due to gory ends like accidents and murder. As we scroll down the newsfeed of Facebook, where many beautiful netizens pout, post pictures of delicious food, or put up pictures of their enviable workouts, the sudden appearance of a mutilated body of a person who can no longer give permission to post their picture makes me want to throw my mobile aside and take a long walk in a dust ridden Kathmandu, if only to clear my head of the image that insists on coming back to haunt me throughout the day.
Has the person who has posted these photos asked the permission to post these images from the grieving family? Have they even stopped to think that there might have been very close friends of the deceased who would not have known of the passing, and the shock of discovering the same on social media?
Believe it or not, we as human beings don't cease to be human beings once we are safely behind a screen, typing with our thumbs or what have you and thinking it is alright to send images to the net because you can. Of course, many people have their own ways of handling grief, but as a rule, when it comes to death, the brave new world does not have new rules. The ones who are left behind—the grief-stricken family and friends—are the ones who are at the top of the hierarchy of grieving. People should not post images of the deceased's' remains without getting the permission of their loved ones. If the person who has passed is young, then one needs to get the permission from their parents; if the person was married, then you need to get the permission of the spouse; and if the person had died of old age, one needs to take the permission from their children.
Most importantly, we need to face the truth. We need to confront death just as we tackle birth and marriage. The birth of a child can only be announced by the parents, the announcement of a marriage should ideally come from the ones who are getting married to each other. And, a word of advice from yours truly, who shudders at the thought of people posting pictures of my dead body without the permission of my husband or son, we should all make a pact with our near and dear ones that the moment you die, they will announce that strict legal action will be taken on anyone who posts pictures of the funeral or the deceased's' body without the permission of the family. It is essential to discuss the inevitable with your close ones. In this day of dismissive R.I.P.s, we have to learn to protect our dear ones even before we leave, so that only they get to handle the goodbyes as they see fit.