You probably would not have heard the word ‘Thalaikoothal’ ever in your life. The word in Tamil means ‘showering’. However, the custom associated with this word is quite depressing! Sadly, in southern parts of Tamil Nadu, Thalaikoothal is a form of mercy killing.
Aged people in some parts of the state are killed in various ways by their children and relatives. Mercy killing may be a crime in the rest of India but here it has the approval of the society. Villagers in these areas consider it their duty to “help” elders die once they are too weak to work.
According to reports, when a family is unable to bear the burden of an elderly, they kill them. And you will be shocked to know about the methods these people use to put a person to rest.
The elderly people are first given an oil bath and then forced to drink litres of coconut water. This method results in renal failure and a painful death.
The other method is a massage of the head with cold water. This causes a sudden drop in body temperature. The body being old and infirm is unable to handle this change resulting in cardiac arrest.
There’s another method in which an elderly is force fed a mixture of mud and water, a paste, which is hard to swallow causing suffocation and death.
At a time when euthanasia remains a topic of debate in our country, somewhere in Tamil Nadu, an elderly man or woman would have been killed due to this bizarre tradition.