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‘He Was Different’ A Mom’s Fight Who Lost Son To Brutal Bullying

Aarti Malhotra recalls events that led to her son's demise, how education system she was associated with failed her family, how being different came at a price for her son, and why bullying against LGBTQIA+ community must be stopped right from school. 

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Niharika
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Arvey Aarti Malhotra

Aarti Malhotra

In January 2022, Arvey Malhotra, a teenager residing in Faridabad died by suicide. He left behind a heart-wrenching letter addressed to his mother, in which he called her the world's best mom. The letter did not just express Arvey's gratitude for his mother's unconditional support but also surfaced some horrific details about what he had been going through at school, among his peers, and what led him to eventually take his life.
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Today, a year and six months later, his mother Aarti Malhotra is still seeking justice for her son who lost his life for no fault of his own. "He was different than the others, and they couldn't accept this," she says. 

In conversation with SheThePeople, Aarti Malhotra recalls the heart-wrenching events that led to her son's demise, how the education system she was associated with failed her family, why being different came at a price for her loving son, and why bullying against the LGBTQIA+ community must be stopped right from school. 

Aarti Malhotra's Fight For Her Son Arvey  

"Growing up, Arvey was a sweet child. He was an artist, poet, singer, and jewellery artist; a kind-hearted soul and the son any mother would be proud of. He was my best friend. Things were good till class 5 but as he entered class 6, his classmates started bullying him. Due to his interests in art people called him feminine. By class 9, things had worsened and my baby held it all inside.

The truth uncovered itself during lockdown when a chapter about bullying in his English book affected him to such an extent that he got a panic attack. On consulting the doctors, Arvey was diagnosed with depression. He finally talked to me. I still remember, he clutched me and said, ‘Maa, boys in my class blindfolded me and made me strip. I can’t take it anymore. I was broken. My son had been sexually assaulted at a place that was supposed to be a safe haven for him. I reached out to school authorities but all in vain.

My son was a curious child who had questions about gender, sexuality, people, fashion, and everything. Once he shared his wish to wear nail paint and pierce his ears, I encouraged him. I let him explore his heart. These little things used to make his eyes sparkle.



It was unfortunate that his choices made him a target of bullying.



After therapy, Arvey’s mental health improved but being back to school for the board exams probably triggered him. He took his own life before his second exam. My world came crashing down.



I lost my son to bullying. The school authorities had failed us and there was no progress on the legal front either. At this dark hour, the LGBTQIA+ community became my armour. They helped me spread the word about Arvey’s case.

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These kids shared their struggles with sexuality and their fear of coming out to their parents. They call me ‘Mumma’ just like Arvey and it makes me feel as if my son is still alive.

I am now using my platform to talk about the issues of the LGBTQIA+ community along with fighting for Arvey. In my case filed in the high court, we’ve also filed a petition to make gender sensitisation compulsory to be taught in every class so that there is no other Mom like me and there are no other Arveys’ in our world."


Suggested reading: LGBTQIA+ People Facing Increasing Persecution Globally

bullying pride Aarti Malhotra Arvey Malhotra LGBTQIA+ community
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