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Parents should lead by example, says Bangalore on Noida case
Vicky Nanjappa
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May 24, 2008 03:35 IST
Last Updated: May 24, 2008 03:46 IST

Emerging lifestyles are changing the way the urban India lives. A dazed nation watched in disbelief as tales of horror from Noida -- where a father killed his 14-year-old daughter because she knew about his extra-marital affair -- unfolded through television.

The sordid incident comes as an eye-opener to a society, which is fast embracing new lifestyles at the cost of family values. What could have gone wrong?

Here we begin a series where we speak to parents and experts in India's cities on the Aarushi Talwar case.

First is Bangalore, India's IT capital. 

'A child is as good as the parents.' That is what Bangalore has to say. Parents in the city could identify with the events in Delhi. Some say they could not absorb the facts of the case. And some say the murder sets alarm bells for middle-class families.

Navkesh Batra, a senior advocate, who has a teenage daughter says, "The problem is that we have become aspirational. And in the process this takes precedence over everything else. In this rat race for, conventional and logical thinking goes out of the window."

Meera Padmanabhan, whose daughter studies for BA, tried to explain the changing lifestyle. She says, "The middle class wants to lead the life of the rich and famous and therefore they do not seem to have time for anything, including their children. The standards of acceptable behaviour, too, have changed. Extra-marital affairs, broken homes have become the order of the day. The conduct of parents and elders is being observed by youngsters and they have started believing that this is the right thing to do. In several cases, they even go a step further."

Batra thinks the problem will get worse if society does not understand the fundamental changes and does not create a better support system.

Compared to earlier times, he says, there is too much money.

The standard of morality has changed and the desire to achieve something by hook or crook is considered normal.  Some parents said the lack of bonding at Aarushi's home could have led to the murder.

"It looks like Aarushi's father is a very orthodox. He could not digest his daughter's alleged illicit relationship despite him doing the same," says Vindhya Nagaraj, a mother of two teenage daughters.

Vindhya says parents should lead by example to make their children a better life.

Vindhya adds, "We see such things happen in urban areas. But it is just a matter of time before it spreads to smaller cities. I feel that parents need to ensure that they set an example, ensure that they are mature, stable, and should also inculcate moral and social values."

Vrunda Shastry, a psychologist, says, "There should be a sense of belonging and bonding at home. If what Aarushi did was true then it is clearly a case of parental neglect. Children are over-exposed today and the so-called modern ideas are being shoved down kids' throats without guidance. Parents cannot do anything to stop their children from going to parties or viewing social networking sites on the Internet."

Shastry adds, "Looking at such cases closely, it becomes evident that it is largely due to personal insecurities and lack of warmth at home. In this case, it seems that the father was too busy managing his time between his lover and his wife. He forgot about the child in between. A child, who feels wanted by parents and inculcated with  good social values, will never go astray. Talking about values will not do, parents should lead by example."

Shastry says Aarusha's mother could have made the difference.

She says, "Let us also not forget the role of the mother in such situations. Had the mother been tough on the father, I think the daughter would have got into her mind that something wrong was happening. The role played by both parents is crucial in the upbringing of the child."

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