Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Death Penalty: What Exactly Are We Protesting Against?

(Published in on 31 August, 2011, retrieved from

“So, it looks like Gandhi’s back in vogue. First, there’s Anna, who’s, like, the twenty-first century new and improved version, tech savvy and all.”
“Does his iPad have a spinning app?”
“Are you talking about spinning wheels or media reports?”
“Never mind. You said this was the first. What’s the other Gandhian trend?”
“You know, some six decades after he last said it, people are quoting the ‘eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’ one-liner.”

“But those people are missing a point, aren’t they? Half the world would have to be poking out eyes for that scenario to occur. If no one poked someone’s eyes out in the first place, there would be no need for the whole world to go blind.”
“Yeah, it’s a logical fallacy. Actually, I think an eye for an eye would work quite well. If rapists were to be raped, and people who burn their wives and daughters-in-law over dowry were to be burnt, I’m quite sure the crime rate would drop.”
“Well, what would you do in a case where there’s...uh, collateral damage? Like someone gets assassinated in a suicide bomb attack, and everyone around him dies?”
“Well, I guess you have to settle for one eye for two then. Not like you can bomb the jail, and get their ward mates blown to bits. Or their houses.”
“So, what you’re saying is, you’re for capital punishment?”
“Umm, I think I’m in favour of an-eye-for-an-eye. Like they do in Iran, sort of.”
“Dude, in Iran, they throw photographers in jail and torture them for taking pictures of the outside of prisons. Your eye-for-an-eye would mean they just took a mug shot of the photographer and let him or her go.”
“Well, you know what I mean. Anyway, the problem with any kind of punishment is that involvement has to be proven, I guess. But if it’s proven beyond doubt, then you ought to pay for a life you’ve taken with your own life, don’t you?”
“You know, what I don’t quite get in the case of the Rajiv Gandhi killers, is this – what’s the deal with the abolition of capital punishment? Are the protesters against capital punishment for everyone, or just for Tamils? Because if it’s for everyone, they’d make Afzal Guru a very happy man.”
“Or set a precedent for Kashmir to agitate. And God knows they have bigger problems than we do.”
“Hey, hey, that’s all relative. Most people don’t even know we exist. They just call us all ‘South Indians’. When I moved to Delhi, my landlords tried to make me feel comfortable by introducing me to fellow South Indians. Turned out it was a family from Andhra who only spoke Telugu and Hindi. And I speak only Tamil and English.”
“But I thought the problem was that everyone from the South is called ‘Madrasi’. If I were a non-Tamil South Indian, I would be aggrieved.”
“Well, but at least the people of every other non-Hindi-speaking state have unique pejoratives. You know, Bongs, Mallus, Gults, Digs. We don’t have one.”
“They call us ‘Pandis’ in some crowds.”
“See, I didn’t know that. It’s not popular enough.”
“Anyway, I don’t think Kashmiris have a pejorative.”
“I think most of them believe being called ‘Indian’ is offensive enough.”
“Not Omar Abdullah. Remember that famous speech he made about being Indian and being Muslim?”
“He’s a complicated guy. He got a shoe hurled at him last year, and this year, he forgave stone throwers. Then he tweeted that he wouldn’t tweet about Anna, and then tweeted about Kiran Bedi, who’s part of the ‘I am Anna’ lot.”
“Hmm, I think we’re too far down South to figure out what goes on in his head.”
“Fine, back to the Tamil question then. What point are the people attempting and committing suicide trying to prove? And they all seem to belong to a Tamil Power outfit.”
“Yeah, and they’re all called ‘martyrs’, which is a semantic fallacy. I guess the suicidal tendencies have to do with films. People have been setting themselves on fire on our screens for decades, and I can’t remember when we had a ruling or opposition party leader who didn’t come from a filmy past.”
“Yes, but did people in films ever immolate themselves for a cause?”
“I don’t think I’ve watched enough movies to figure that out.”
“The police seem to have had a couple of rough days, stopping people from setting themselves on fire.”
“You know, they should have a suicide complex.”
“I think they already do. Though Freud may have called it a preoccupation or obsession, rather than a complex.”
“No, no, I wasn’t using complex in the psychological sense. I meant like a shopping complex. This way, people could just queue up in a single place to bring attention to their causes. It would spare the police and media a lot of running around too.”

“So they just pay for the kerosene, declare their cause, and get stopped by the police?”
“Well, unless the cops are on a break or something.”
“But imagine the traffic diversions around the place!”
“You’re right. Maybe they should allow them to go through with it, you know. No ambulances allowed in the area, free supply of kerosene and matchsticks, only come in if you’re serious about committing suicide.”
“But I think they’ll have a lot of takers for that too. The Corporation’s brought in free cremation and burial facilities too, now. How will they handle the crowd?”
“I suppose they could allot a quota, going by the standard reservation system.”
“Hey, that’s not fair. What about suicidal Brahmins?”
“Oh, they can always migrate to Silicon Valley and kill themselves.”
“Do you know how hard it is to get a visa? And it’s not like Brahmins ever stopped people from killing themselves. In fact, they’ve been aiding and abetting suicide for aeons. I mean, given that it’s Onam time and all, think of the Vamana Avatar!”
“Yeah, well, deal with it. But I think self-immolation has become a popular enough pastime to be given its own designated space. Maybe at the Collectorate? And they could issue tenders for fuel suppliers.”
“Well, with government buildings going green, they may consider using electric incinerators instead.”


ssb said...

What do I say Nandini ? May be, jus a word .. Spot On !! and brilliant ! :) The cause for any fight is being lost - we seem to start right and just after take off , our flights get hijacked ! anyways, I think if Mr.Gandhi exists today, he will also be confused ....

Nandini Krishnan said...

Thanks. I'm planning to write a more forthright article. What will the Centre do if the call for clemency over these guys is echoed in Punjab and Kashmir? Should terrorists be spared, because they've been jailed for 'long enough'?

ssb said...

exactly.. Please do write...for them , it will be more easy - they are used to creative ways of imolation :) :) and instead of one burning herself,there can be 2-3 more asking (sorry demanding ) for release of people since they were long inside.. what amazes me is that people dont seem to think what would happen if death penalty is stopped!crime rate will shoot up sky high.but just to make it clear - I am also against death penalty - (ie) delayed death penalty - if one is proven guilty , hang them then n there - no prolonged stay at jail which gives a chance for so called "humanitarians" to start fighting :D what say u ?

Shadow said...

Brilliant article..riddled with classical sarcasm..!! :-)

Da Undertoad said...

actually, incarceration for a lifetime, my preferred method for dealing with the likes of terrorists and the like, is considerably more satisfying. were i to lose a loved one, or for that matter any innocent, in a violent display of intellectual poverty, i'd want the perpertrator to be put in a jail with piano wire wrapped around his/her painful parts, the other end of the wire tied to the cell bars, surrounded by photographs of those he/she has hurt, and for the rest of his/her life, those affected by the act of terrorism [i include rape in that] having the right to swing by when they feel like it and practice their stevie ray vaughan guitar riffs on the so strung wire. and a long life in jail for the criminal. i don't want their misery to find surcease in death. i want them to live a long time with daily reminders of why they are no longer able to enjoy the small wonders of daily living that they have denied their victims.
just sayin'

Nandini Krishnan said...

Da Undertoad: Yes, I agree that a lifetime of torture in jail is far more effective punishment. Death is too easy, especially by lethal injection as they do in the US. I mean, come on.

But a life term in India is about 14 years, and with good behaviour, one can get done in seven. Which really stinks, especially in cases such as the Aruna Shaunbag rape. The rapist should have had an electric baton stuck up his behind for every day of the seven years he spent in jail. And your guitar string idea works too.

Nandini Krishnan said...

SSB: I do agree about the delay in making a decision. And I also think in a terrorist attack, there should be no provision for a plea for clemency.

kaushal kumar said...

Disgusting, utterly confused, amateur and over confident writer who likes to play prank on sensible issues just to be famous. Writing is not your forte, better quit it ASAP. By the way i am a north indian and have stayed and learned the life of all four metros. Only stupid jerks like you pay attention to the words like 'Madrasis'. We all are indian and our country has proved it again and again. I think if you hate this word for yourself then i have a better word for you 'Stupid Nigger'.

Da Undertoad said...

Hey KK, i think you left the third K out of your ID. You have a very strange way of showing how inclusive you are. But then you seem to think that the N expletive is better. Jeez guy, do you always use abuse to disagree? must be a barrel of laughs being your family. maybe you should go back onto your medications till you learn how to behave in public.
just saying.

Nandini Krishnan said...

Hahahaha, how ironic that someone who doesn't understand sarcasm uses a racist slur to reiterate his cosmopolitan perspective...

bacteria said...

"If rapists were to be raped, and people who burn their wives and daughters-in-law over dowry were to be burnt, I’m quite sure the crime rate would drop."
yep so will the population, cities can get less crowded and what not!

and "a suicide complex" completely original and awesome!

@ Da udertoad...guitar strings will go a long way!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.