Into the mind of a serial killer - Article in Sakal Times

Prior to the release of thriller Raman Raghav 2.0, Dr Pradnya Ajinkya, occupational psychological counsellor, sheds light on the social conditions, psychological disorder and other aspects related to a serial killer, which is the film’s premise

His look, body language, and his gaze — all look dreadful in the trailer of the film Raman Raghav 2.0. The Anurag Kashyap-directorial, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is based on the life of psychopathic serial killer Raman Raghav, who spread fear in the mind of Mumbaikars in 1960s, especially among slum dwellers and others who slept out in the open.

We thought it would be apt to take a look at the pathological behaviour, social conditions, past incidents, psychological makeup and other aspects of serial killers. The exact reasoning and point of aggravation that leads a person to commit such cold-blooded murders can only be studied by criminologists and psychologists. Studies have revealed a close link to childhood abuse, be it mental, physical or sexual. Also, people who come from disturbed families have been associated with such crime.

Mumbai-based Dr Pradnya Ajinkya, occupational psychological counsellor (specialised in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling), says, “Serial killers are psychotic.

Psychosis is a complete loss of one’s senses. They may suffer from delusions and hallucinations. It is associated with a range of mental conditions. Therefore one should expect some abnormality in the brain. There is a good reason to think it’s grounded in the killer’s DNA.”

There is little information about Raghav’s past to conclude what triggered him to commit so many murders, assaults and other crimes. Psychopathy is 60 per cent heritable.

According to case studies, it has been observed that serial killers are efficient manipulators, can come across as charmers, and most are psychopaths. Says Dr Ajinkya, “The candidate can be associated with decreased connectivity between the amygdala and the central medial prefrontal cortex. Disorder can also partially be due to social environment. Childhood abuse can also be a contributory factor.”

She further adds that such serial killers do not feel embarrassed or sad when other people suffer. Besides, they don’t carry any feelings of guilt or remorse. She remarks, “They do not suffer emotional hurt and do not follow moral rules due to blunted emotions.” However, extensive training and medications can prevent such killers from further committing the crime