The attention that the Sheena Bora murder case has been getting has exposed the underbelly of Indian psyche which still looks at a woman as loose if she has had more than one relationship. We need to wonder why there was more sympathy for Ajmal Kasab and Yakub Memon than Indrani Mukerjea. People are angry that a mother has allegedly killed her daughter, though there have been many examples in Indian villages where mothers have killed their daughters for various reasons.
Analysing the mind of any woman in her position, one needs to realise that every woman who has had multiple relationships is not a female Rasputin. Many women who were sexually abused in their childhood grow up to be dysfunctional human beings. This does not mean that if she has murdered someone, it is justified. Look at any woman who has come from a small town, who has had a child at a young age, and migrated to a bigger town. She has grown up with many mixed emotions of resentment, aspiration, joy and sadness, and she is ashamed to be associated with her first husband because she has socially climbed the ladder. She looks at the past with a lot of shame and a lot of remorse. Such women feel they have been let down by the world. When someone tries to spoil their show then the vulnerable, immature mind becomes primitive and wicked.
When the cortex is not involved in decision making, it is emotional blinding. It is the Stone Age brain which responds to danger via the amygdala and the hypothalamus. In an era where the pace is very high, one may get involved in an act where their cortex would not discern the entire plan and may not be involved in the decision making. So emotional blinding, which is usually impulsive, becomes chronic in this era.
It can happen due to three reasons—it has something to do with lust or anger and jealousy over a relationship; it could be because of a perceived financial loss; or because something that has been traumatising for a long. It is a bad soap whose script was not written before it was shot but in between the episodes.
Dr Shetty is a Mumbai-based psychiatrist.