Thalaikoothal (Tamil: தலைக்கூத்தல், lit. showering)[needs Tamil IPA] is the traditional practice of senicide (killing of the elderly) or involuntary euthanasia, by their own family members, observed in some parts of southern districts of Tamil Nadu state of India.

Methods Edit

Typically, the person is given an extensive oil-bath early in the morning and subsequently made to drink glasses of tender coconut water which results in kidney failure, high fever, fits, and death within a day or two.[1][2] This technique may also involve a head massage with cold water, which may lower body temperature sufficiently to cause heart failure.[3] Alternative methods involve force feeding cow's milk while plugging the nose, causing breathing difficulties (the "milk therapy") or use of poisons.[3]

Incidence Edit

Although thalaikoothal is illegal in India,[4] the practice has long received covert social acceptance as a form of mercy killing, and people seldom complain to the police.[5] In some cases the family informs their relatives before performing thalaikoothal,[6] and sometimes the victims even request it.[3] However, social acceptance may lead to more egregious abuses: the issue gained a higher profile in early 2010, when an 80-year-old man escaped after discovering his intended fate and heard his family members discussing how they were going to "share" his lands, and took refuge in a relative's home.[5]

Investigation revealed the practice to be "fairly widespread" in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu.[4][5] Dozens or perhaps hundreds of cases occur annually.[3]

Response Edit

In 2010, after an exposé in Virudhunagar district the administration set up teams of officers to monitor the senior citizens.[5][6]

Representation in modern cinema Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "After thalaikoothal scare, 80-year-old fights back". Deccan Chronicle. 15 June 2010. Archived from the original on 18 November 2010.
  2. ^ "Mother, shall I put you to sleep?". Tehelka. 7 (46). 20 November 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Magnier, Mark (15 January 2013). "In southern India, relatives sometimes quietly kill their elders". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b Suresh, V.; Vera-Sanso, Penny (20 March 2010). "No mercy killing, this". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d "'Mercy killing' in TN villages". Deccan Chronicle. 26 January 2010. Archived from the original on 15 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Family murders of elders to be probed". Deccan Chronicle, Chennai. 2 February 2010. Archived from the original on 6 February 2010.

External links Edit