It was a cry from the entire state that was echoed in a heart-wrenched Kannur when a few mothers wept in sorrow and asked: "What a sweet toddler! Couldn't you have handed it to us? we would have fondly taken care of him". For the angst and rage against the fiendish mind of a mother who killed her 18-month old son Viyan by hurling him on a rock will never leave any human being mind so easily. Not content with merely marrying a man of her choice and giving birth to his baby, when Sharanya went after a new paramour, she got rid of an impediment in the form of her baby. And no one would forgive the means which she chose to accomplish through the murder in this manner. She was not moved to do this by any post-natal condition like post-partem depression or any such psychic disorder. But she was impelled for the dastardly act by the infatuation for the new partner; so go she did to the seaside to throw the dear son against the seawall granite - to the mercy of death.
However, the instinctive doubts about who would gain by a toddler's death supported by a reading of modern mind-set, was used by an intelligent probe team team, and that led to the arrest of the accused. But this is not the first time that Kerala is made to grieve about innocent children when motherhood gives way to devil. And going by the not so rosy history of Kerala in recent times it has also to be recognised with a shock that there is no room for consolation that this may end here. The three-year old boy who died of brutal torture by his mother from Eloor, Kalamassery who was married a third time, the seven-year old boy of Thodupuzha killed by his mother with the connivance of her mother's male friend, two children poisoned to death together with his parents in Pinarayi, Kannur .... the list goes endless.
Official statistics tell us that over forty children get killed in Kerala every year for various reasons, most of them are below the age of 10. The mother, father and close kin are the chief culprits. If they are cases of acute and chronic abnormalcy in their psychic condition, they can be handled as such. But one cannot put under that category the diabolic cases of parents eliminating the impediments in the smooth path of their wayward living. The Kannur case is one such. The young lady from Padannakkara, Pinarayi who killed with meticulous planning her parents as well as children, was also removing the hurdle in her incestuous pursuit. It is undeniable that the warmth of mother's bosom and breast milk and the rhthym of lullabies find a place only in the outdated pages of life and the Keralite's attitude towards children has transformed radically. The parents' quest for material pleasures and resultant illicit relationships have pushed the society to getting rid of their offspring at a very early age. The statistics of child-murders of the last 10 years in Kerala would testify to this. In Kerala, where one child gets killed every 9 days, a recent phenomenon noticed is that of throwing children to death an dgetting rid of their 'burden'.
But there are ways to rescue with compassion those who set out to commit crimes including murder after falling a prey to post-partem depression and other psychic disorders. Even the unfortunate ones who bear illicit pregnancy through immoral acts, and then reverse its offshoot by a counter-crime of killing, deserve the sympathy and protection of society. But, as for those who have no qualms to commit any crime for the sake of selfsih ends, and their gruesome acts themselves, the society itself should think aloud to find remedies.
The increasing embrace of this trend has to be seen as part of Malayalis also getting moulded into a philosophy in which the bird treats its wings, and the wings the feather, as a burden. And the new paradox is that even the newly available means of communication via social media, have been turned into a convenient way of confining oneself to one's own shell. In the eagerness to add colour to life by finding their beloved ones in Facebook, they are unable to realise they themselves losing their face; and fathers, mothers and children and brothers and sisters plunge into tragedy that they themselves cannot recognize. There are those who fiercely protest in the context of Kannur incident that it is time to stop calling all those who give birth as mothers, and that those who deserve that definition need not be ones who made childbirth. Even when two years ago in Kollam, a mother strangulated to death her 14-year old son, there were outrageous calls not to call her mother or even woman. But beyond such short-lived clamours, It is time to think aloud as to what defence can be used to put an end to this diabolism that strips one of motherhood and humanity.