Filicide is when a parent murders their own child. Which is unthinkable and unimaginable, yet it happens. Recently, there have been many cases that leave us questioning the fundamental principles of the selfless love between a parent and a child. The case comes to light where Suchana Seth, a 39-year-old CEO) of a start-up company, has been accused of allegedly murdering her four-year-old son in Goa. The reason cited is because of her divorce proceedings and the visitation rights granted to the father, which is only once a week, on Sundays, was the reason for her heinous act.
She allegedly smothered her child, tried to die by suicide, and failed post which she traveled with the deceased child's body from Goa to Karnataka. This is freaky and totally goes against the law of nature. But, maybe, it’s time to address whether motherhood is really natural among all women.
Is Motherhood For All Women?
Many women today are opting to not marry or have children, is this an indication, that we all must sit up and take into consideration, the changing dynamics of the family structure?
Women today are not willing to take on the burden of marriage and motherhood in modern society. The responsibility of raising a child in spite of development, to date, rests on the shoulders of the mother. Therefore the court grants child care rights to the mother as the most appropriate option. This needs to be addressed with a new lens of understanding the mental health of the person who is granted the child’s custody. Here we need to probably also relook at the gender roles based on the capability between the couple, as to who can be a responsible parent.
Seth represents the modern women of today. Seth is a renowned AI ethics expert and a data scientist. She has over 12 years of experience in guiding data science teams and expanding machine learning solutions at various startups and industry research labs. Her accomplishments include being listed in the 100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics List and holding patents in natural language processing. This isn’t all, she also has been a Mozilla Fellow at Data & Society, a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Centre at Harvard University, also a research fellow at the Raman Research Institute. Seth is an alumnus of the University of Calcutta and has spent significant time at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University as a research fellow, in addition to her tenure at the Raman Research Institute (RRI). The list of educational and employment details makes us wonder, why would she murder her own kid. The answer is that she was a capable employee but an incapable parent.
Seth doesn’t belong to the generation of her grandmother who never dared defy the motherhood journey. She is the current generation of mothers, who are well-informed and know what to expect from motherhood. But the truth remains that many women who are incapable of being mothers are still blindly carrying on the role of marriage and choosing to become a mother, without having the slightest maternal instinct and being cognitive about the consequences of a life change with the arrival of a newborn. Therefore Seth’s act can’t be overlooked.
With this case we need the courts to take into account the psychological history of the primary caretaker of the child, especially in divorce cases. There are many children who face the possibility of a lifetime of mental trauma in divorce cases.
In Aurangabad, Aliya Basravi, a 22-year-old woman last year murdered her two children for being disobedient. She smothered a six-year-old daughter Adiba and her four-year-old son Ali. The confession got the police to consider getting a psychiatric evaluation of the woman done.
We all know that filicide doesn’t have any explanation, but it’s time for us to also analyse the triggers, that make a parent do this.
Views expressed are the author's own.
Mohua Chinappa is an author and runs a podcast called The Mohua Show.