Who killed your mother?

There are days I am embarassed to admit that I have worked with news channels and I’d rather claim to be a lifestyle writer who writes on trivial stuff such as beauty and fashion. Days like 26/11 and now this when the media makes an ass of itself.

Here a four year old son, Bitel (?) tells the news channels and police that his father murdered his mother.

Where does one begin with pointing out what is so wrong with this?

At four my son has a vivid imagination and he routinely tells me that he’s just returned from a jungle and fought off a huge python, that he was on a rocket ship and went to the moon and that its not made of cheese, and much more. On my old blog I have a post where he told his father when he returned from office, that I broke his hand – displaying Item 1:  a perfectly fine, chubby little baby hand.

Most days he can be told anything and be trusted to repeat it if you teach him long enough. Be it happy birthday or something totally embarassing. The power of suggestion is so strong where a child is concerned and the lines between fantasy and reality often blur.

I don’t know if this was a dowry case, a suicide, or a murder – but I do know that I wouldn’t be counting on a four year old for accurate testimony. It’s so easy for either side to sway him. To say nothing of the fact that he’s going to be called upon to repeat this traumatic statement over and over again in court and to the media ad nauseum.

The next part –  how can we be so insensitive as to shove a mike in a child’s face and ask him ‘Beta aapki mummy ko kisne mara?‘ (Beta, who killed your mother?)

The rest of us must be terribly foolish for protecting our kids when there is a death in the family. Perhaps this is the best way to do it – shove a mike in the face of a four year old whose mother is dead, whose father is accused of murder and whose life is turned upside down – to ask him who murdered his mother.

Even if he is a key witness or whatever, what is his maternal family thinking of when they keep subjecting him to the media and public eye? I understand that it’s a dowry case and the family is doing it’s best to get justice for the dead one. But should they forget those who are alive and put such a small child through the media circus?

It makes me want to sue them for insane sums of money to pay for the therapy he is sure to need in later years.

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41 thoughts on “Who killed your mother?

  1. I don’t know what to say. How can people ask that to a child who probably does not even know the permanence of death?

    I think the best way of protesting is to turn off the channel and send its TRP down. Strike them where it hurts.

    But then, how many will NOT turn off the channel and continue to watch? Sad.

  2. News channel bashing, I like.

    Allow me to point out some more.

    Maybe a week or two from now the boy would be forgotten and the issue slowly wiped out from the headlines.

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out in the first visit to their website that they are oh so commercialised. The intrusive ads and the likes.

    I won’t be surprised to see a day when media plays a huge role in manipulating the audience (although one gets to here the odd allegation, I prefer to convince myself than go with the noise)

    This piece of news reminds me of the case of Arushi.. the dust has settled, deep scars made…. and now what.

    And lastly whoever came up with the idea of ‘panelists’ and dumb debates sure needs to be applauded. They do it all the time. And light a candle..

    Bon nuit. I stop here.

  3. These 24×7 news channels churn out so much crap that I yearn for the days when there was only half hour of news on DD :). Seems like eons ago!

    BTW, belated happy birthday wishes to the OA.

  4. Yes true. its stupid to rely on a 4 yr old’s statement, but more than justice for the dead one, how about justice for the Little one left behind. If the truth is not revealed, the child will live with those monsters (if they killed someone for dowry). How unfortunate…its a no-win situation. I feel that the loss of mother is the biggest loss for a child. this will impact his life forever anyways, case or no case.

  5. Well, I was actually told by an ex-boss, “Your job is to actually hold a mike to a person who’s lost his/her child and ask, ‘how do you feel?’ ” No prizes for guessing, I didn’t stay there long after that.
    The words sad and insensitive don’t even begin to describe this attitude.

  6. Maybe the girls family did teach the kid to say this in front of police to get justice for their daughter who committed suicide bcos of her husband or maybe they did it so that the kid stays with them. We cannot understand the pain they might be going through but ya exposing the kid to media is definitely wrong.

    Me: I thought so too. And maybe they plan to use him in court. But why have him on air and let him deal with not just the trauma of the loss of his mother but such invasion of privacy?

  7. I can’t believe I’ve been gone so long. I’m sorry to return to such a heart wrenching story. I’ve seen so many similar media “attacks” here in the states on children, forcing even more trauma into their lives.

    For what? The answers should be evident if not apparent.

  8. Assholes.

    You shouldn’t link their website and give them hits. That’s what they want but surely they don’t deserve them.

    Well written.

  9. This is ONE of the reasons we don’t have a TV…my bp would probably be permanently sky-high if we did.

    What happened to child rights, privacy and all those ideals? The media can anyway be so irresponsible and insensitive. And then we have these families who allow such interviews and then go and cry blue murder about it later.

  10. A four year old child’s testimony….. reliable?
    Is it admissible as the final, binding proof in our courts?
    I have no idea..but I think it is.. which is scary in itself..

  11. poor kid- insensitive media- always sensational at any cost

    BTW your header pic is exactly like my plant right now – in full bloom- they are so pleasing arent they?

    am yet to execute the tiny mirrors on the wall idea of yours

  12. I think your anger is directed at the wrong angle. If the child does need therapy, it will be because his father killed his mother, not because of the press trying to get some mileage out of it.

    The child has lost both parents in one stroke, he will be unable to love his father, and at the same time feel a connection with him that will be mostly painful.

    And since anger is the root of violence, how can more anger solve the case?

    All I can do is pray that the child is not fed with angry statements against his father. He wont be able to swallow it.

    Me: no yaar, my anger is not misdirected – simply because the man is yet to be declared guilty by court. the child may be right, but i’m willing to wait and hear the court out before i get angry at the man who for all we know is innocent and not only grieving his wife’s suicide but also shocked by his son’s accusation. Who knows?

    a hurt family will lash out at anyone, I’ve realised over the last few years. The airlines, the doctor, the hospital, the husband, the inlaws… anyone.

  13. This one’s about the header: are these flowers what we call “Kaath Golap” in Bangla? If that’s the one, then is yours a kind of bonsai? I’ve never seen them grow in pots.
    They look lovely, cheered me up.

    Me: not sure of the bong name Sumana – and mine is in a pot – we call it adenium. and it looks beautiful. a thick bulbous trunk leading up to beautiful flowers http://www.flowerpictures.net/adenium/images/adenium_2years.jpg

  14. How does the media even go by the 4 yr old’s testimony. He can be brain washed to swaye either ways. I pity the poor child..

    Totally off subject, the flowers in the banner are beautiful. Are they from your garden..what are they called..firangipani/Plumeria ???

    Me: I have always known them as adenium – not sure if they’re also known as plumeria http://toptropicals.com/pics/misc/thailand/adenium/7039.jpg

  15. Christ! This the first thing I read in the morning, and now I can say that the rest of my day is ruined.

    Why didnt someone just slap the inhuman interviewer..? where is the aggressiveness when it is acutally needed?

  16. I so agree. My younger one routinely gave his dad death threats since he wanted to kill him and marry me! He was 2.5 years old

    Me: perfect thing to come up with during his wedding toast. do all sons want to marry their mothers? i know my brother promised my mom the same!

  17. @ Grasshopper: you didn’t get the point. Yes, the child will be messed up because of the murder…anyone with sense would’ve kept him away from the media. MM’s anger is about exploitation by the media of an already tragic situation. Her anger (and mine) is righteous, not violent.

    And MM is so right, how can the media try and prove the accused dad guilty, through the words of a four year old, who happens to be his son, and the son of the victim. The dad is probably guilty, but the law should be allowed to take its course without the media’s interference.

  18. The statement of the brother of the woman who died is also weird: “We gave 12 lakhs as dowry”… Giving or receiving dowry is a crime! There’s no need to be proud of how much bribe one gives another family to take away one of their own.

    Me: you’re right. it struck me when I was watching it but then the horror of the child sitch overshadowed all else. There is so much wrong with this …

  19. MM,
    Media / journalists are usually on my contempt list (sorry MM, also many of my close friends are jouranalists..ironic?). There is something creepy about thrusting a mike to a 4 year old. Having said that- there are millions of viewers who appreciate such journalism and say it only ‘exposes’ the truth.

    Me: dont be sorry babe! I pointed it out myself. am well aware of how wrong things can go at times.
    By supposedly capitalising on the child’s innocence ( and attempting to bare the truth) they have started the End of the Innocence. Yes, the child emerges the tragedy of the situation and here is when the Police’s maturity comes into place too. Wonder how they are reacting?

  20. The poor child…

    Why do they have to put the child through all this media exposure? I think that kid needs a quiet home and some distraction from all this.

  21. When anything in the world improves even a little bit, the news channels are super quick to claim it as “CNN IBN impact” etc.

    What about all the trauma they are causing to so many people, like the poor kid. That is also “impact”… And I am sure if asked the news ppl will come with their fav retort – “But we are just a mirror to the society. This is what the people of India want to see.” Ya right!!

    I am just so happy I don’t have cable cnx.

  22. i happened to open the channel when the child was being interviewed. i remember when me n my bro faced a similar tragedy, though i was couple of years older, everyone around me took care to confirm that mother has gone to God to worship him and will be back soon. later in the years we discovered that she was no more with us but we were too old to get affected by it and grew up like normal kids.
    the poor baby who doesn’t know what he has lost is being told again and again, his guardians should be sued by the human rights to put him under such a phase… i really feel like bashing them left right centre in public. instead of protecting the child they are torturing him.

  23. Three things:

    ~ 24 year news culture is to be blamed for that….PE money finding its way into the electronic media has led to a mad-rush for eyeballs and consequent revenue by sensationalising various news items…. Situation is awfully bad in case of channels like Aaj-Tak, New 24, Star News or India TV……….you need something to report to run it for 24 hours…

    ~ Humans by nature are more interested in knowing/reading about others what they would never want to happen in their own lives……else how would you describe popularity of these channels….

    ~ Barring one channel, I am yet to come across serious reporting……Have you ever seen anyone (with one exception) inviting P Sainath to a debate on rural India? I mean there is so much happening in this country ……North-East problem, Vidharbha Suicides, Water Problem in Central India……but who cares, for them Share Price of the company matters most!

  24. The poor baby! It’s heartbreaking to know that a four year old is forced to tell people his daddy killed his mommy. Makes me want to cry. 😦

  25. unbelievable. But the family is to be blamed equally I think for subjecting the child to reporters..

  26. These channels have no business to mess with the life of a small kid! Press Regulator need to take a suo-moto note of this incident and issue necessary directives!

  27. lurrrrve the header. Growing up my mom had bought the very same variety for our home and it did well indoors and outdoors. I grew attached to it and it used to respond very well to music and my talking with it! Pretty pretty! (Yes I am a little crazy that way)

  28. Re: The header picture. Does this flower have a nice heady scent?
    I think even in Oriya its called kaatha gulab

  29. I googled the subject of whether children that young even have any concept of death, and found this. His testimony can’t be admissible in court..why subject him to this harassment!

  30. Lovely family on all sides, it looks like.

    To the person who pointed out that giving dowry is also a crime – most folks who have to now do it without a paper trail (gifts at the time of marriage is a perfectly legal way) – and I have seen other cases of the girl’s family (divorce, not death, thankfully) fighting for the monies to be returned and failing, as there was no documentation and hearsay doesn’t count. (The money changes hand behind closed doors, very few witnesses) Probably what happenned here, and the maternal family is probably up in arms and trying to get as much justice as they can…

    But the end doesn’t justify the means…

    M

  31. Insane but any other options? Any other witnesses etc?

    Personally, I can’t imagine a FOUR year old guy being even in the presence of cops..Shucks..the innocence itself would light up the room.

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