SENICIDE AS A MODERN PROBLEM IN INDIA
A DURKHEIMIAN PERSPECTIVE OF THALAIKOOTHAL
The thalaikoothal is a practice that has risen in Indian society, especially in the southern rural villages of the region of Tamil Nadu. The practice is a form of senicide, that is, a suicide or killing of the elderly, performed as a solution to many problems arising in the Indian society due to rapid social change. This issue of senicide is not talked about as much as other types of suicide or murder, and researchers have largely ignored the practice of thalaikoothal. An exception is the work of Pyali Chatterjee (2017), who tackles the issue from a legal and ethical standpoint. In this paper, I will contribute to the study of senicide in rural India by examining the issue from a sociological perspective developing a Durkheimian analysis. The article’s approach will be functionalist, mobilizing relevant concepts such as anomie, disintegration and social pathology to make sense of the circumstances that are making some Indian families use this practice.