Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hanging between Life and Death

'We have no right to take away somebody's life as much as he/she does not have the right to take the lives of other people.' Mahati was telling her friend sipping her coffee in the Barista Lavazza opposite Shivaji Park. 'I do not support capital punishment because one, no one has the right to take away somebody's life, whatever the crime they committed. Two, because its not punishment enough, for there are things worse than death, like starvation for example. You give the man only one meal a day or bind him in a dark room with no one to talk to. Three, because hanging for me is government telling me it is not working for them. Hanging is just a way to retaliate terrorism. Neither does it stop, nor can it stop!'

They finished their coffee and took a walk along the Dadar beach. Her friend said, ' The concept of capital punishment is definitely debatable, but not in this matter. This death penalty has been given to a terrorist who was behind nearly 300 deaths. This is not merely a punishment given to the individual but is a sentiment of the masses who were severely affected by the havoc created by the first and the bloodiest bombings the country has ever seen. What will the government achieve by torturing this man? Also, is torturing not worse than death? But what really worries me is that instead of debating capital punishment, people are giving this terrorist a hero's farewell. When they acknowledged him as a terrorist for 21 years, how can they all of a sudden idolise him just because he was hanged?'

They took bus no. 86 to home. As they passed Century Bazaar, Mahati's friend told her,' 22 years ago, a bomb planted in this very 86 number bus went off here, killing some 150 people. 150 common people of different background and injuring more than 250. My uncle who got deafened was among those who were injured badly while his brother died. Terrorism has no religion. Neither life nor death has any religion. It is only in between them that religion appears and in most cases brings death faster!' But, Mahati said, 'stopping such madness can happen only with vigilance, not vengeance. This fight by religious groups can be ended not by retaliation. Do you think terrorism can be stopped by linking it to religion and hanging people?'

'No, this is not vengeance or retaliation,' said her friend. 'This is a way to console the grieving families. Look at what happened in America. A mad man opened fire on a peaceful movie watching crowd. What wrong did they do to him? He will now not be hanged. Will the kin of the dead feel vindicated this way? Hanging such mad men is only a way to assure the affected that justice prevails and that they might be in safe hands. It is just an attempt to bring a smile into the devastated lives of those affected by the heinous act of the terrorist!! There is no justification in telling that the man surrendered himself because he was responsible for bringing in terrorists, accommodating them, storing the weaponry and arranging for scooters and cars to blast off! The death sentence is only a symbolism for assuring the people, no religion involved at all. Definitely no religion.' her friend explained as they walked along the bustling jewelry markets of Zaveri Bazaar.

They reached home. Her friend's uncle just returned from his Isha Salat and sat down in an arm chair and was reading the day's news in the evening paper. He finished reading the paper on the table, folded it with his single hand and looked at his brother's pictured framed on the wall, a tear rolling down his only eye.