BBC presenter Amol Rajan has revealed that he contemplated suicide after the death of his father, P Varadarajan.
Rajan, 40, told the Mid Point podcast that the grief over his father’s passing led him to consider the idea of ending his life to be reunited with his dad.
The University Challenge host added that he had nightly dreams about his father for eight months, and his father’s death led to deep inner turmoil about life’s purpose.
Varadarajan, a general manager at a trading company, was hospitalised last year at the age of 76 due to pneumonia and died shortly thereafter.
Rajan described the experience as the “biggest and most traumatic” event in his life.
During the interview, Rajan stressed that while he never took any action towards suicide, he made a mental connection between death and the desire to see his father again.
During an emotional moment while walking over a bridge in Southampton, Rajan contemplated the idea of ending his life, expressing a connection between death and being reunited with his father.
“I’ve never said this in public … but I did think about suicide and God in a way that I had never before. I don’t at all by that mean that I had ever taken anything like action toward ending my life,” he was quoted as saying.
“I did think for the first time — and I’m not religious, I grew up in a religious family but I’m not religious at all — I did think that there was a connection between ending my life and seeing my dad again.”
Rajan encouraged anyone facing similar emotions to seek support and talk to someone about their struggles.
Grief counselling, consisting of six sessions, did not provide the relief Rajan had hoped for, as he found himself crying through each one.
Coping with his grief led him to reach out to others who experienced loss, including writing to individuals like Michael Gove and even sending a letter to the King after the Queen’s death.
Amidst his personal struggles, Rajan reflected on the psychological work he is undertaking to find purpose beyond his grief and make his father proud.
Born in Calcutta, India, to Hindu parents, Rajan moved to London at the age of three.
His mother transitioned from being a dinner lady and nursery teacher to working in administration at the Foreign Office.
Rajan is married to Charlotte Faircloth, an associate professor at the Institute of Education at University College London, and they have three children.