Bharathi Veerath, Bengaluru's first woman cab driver, has died in an apparent case of suicide. The 39-year-old was found dead in her third floor rented house on Monday, where she had apparently hanged herself.
The incident was reported in Nagashetty Halli in Bengaluru, after Bharathi's landlord found her cab "abandoned", but could not locate Bharathi anywhere. He reportedly rushed to her house and saw her body hanging. The local police found Bharathi's front door shut tight but unlocked. They could not find a suicide letter.
Investigation has found that Bharathi was living alone and wanted to move back to her hometown in Ongole in Andhra Pradesh. She had even informed her landlord about moving her gas connection there and quit her job. Bharathi had reportedly moved to Bengaluru 10 years ago and worked as a tailor and then with an NGO where she learnt how to drive. Later, she joined private taxi aggregator company Uber, where she was the city's first woman cab driver.
She had made headlines two years ago after she joined Uber, and in March 2014 driven around Biocon Limited boss Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.
"We are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Bharathi Veerath," an Uber spokesperson told HuffPost India. "Bharathi was a positive person and one of our top women driver partners. She was an inspiration to many driver partners and riders. Our thoughts are with her family."
The high school dropout had dreamt big—after moving to Bengaluru at age 28, she had steadily worked her way up. She had bought a Ford Fiesta, and had dreamt of owning a Mercedes one day. Last year, she had told Quartz India that she was thinking of getting married.
Why Bharathi took this extreme step is as yet unknown. A case of suicide has been registered.
Update: A response from Uber India has been added to this piece.
If you struggle with suicidal thoughts or attempts, call any of these helplines: Aasra 91-22-27546669, Sneha 04424640050, Jeevan 0091 6576453841, Pratheeksha 0484 2448830.