Friday, September 23, 2011

Crime & Punishment

Premeditating a crime outweighs by great extent the enacting of the crime itself. The actor is a mere instrument, a tool. While I ‘m an accomplice, a co-conspirator and culpable murder, because I have been part of many premeditated murders. Murder most foul!

Kalliappan  an old dying man in the former Central Travancore is one illustration of a man destroyed by remorse and guilt. He finds transient solace in alcohol. And hence he consumes more and more…! He is aged and emaciated. Bidding his time when he will cease to have any days remaining in this world. For he has killed many! And it now dawns more in him, how often there were innocents sent to the gallows by his very hands. This young man now standing at the gallows is innocent. The jailor told him so in no uncertain words and as another instance of egregious application of the law and evidence in court. But his son who accompanied him to the execution takes up the job when he stumbles, does it more out of revulsion and anger for what he feels is his father’s false piety.( the plot of Adoor Gopalakrishan Movie- Nizhal kuthu)

Now wake up, wake up from your blissful, nay forced slumber. It was I and you, the ones who premeditated and did murders most foul. And we continue to clamour for more. More blood that may even put to pale oblivion the insatiable thirst for blood of the merchant of death or even as old timers say of the Goddess Kali.
Mohammed Sadd- al Beshi is far younger and in his mid forties. When he came on television, he looked ordinary and I would pass him on the street without a second glance at his unassuming countenance. In fact the butcher who I remember from my childhood when I used to be sent to the local abattoir, had blood shot eyes, dark complexion massive chest, broad shoulders, prominent cheek bones and muscular biceps. He also sported frightening whiskers. And I can remember him vividly, though it was many years ago, on the whole he generated a fearsome visage.

“Despite the fact that I despise violence against women, I happily undertake my job as it is decreed by the one and only almighty God.” He expresses without batting an eyelid and in a calm voice. He continues, "I must say that women are strong kneed than men. Men cannot stand straight on the execution platform. I have not seen a weak kneed woman in my 400 plus beheadings willed by God.” He had a mocking tone in his voice, derision towards men and their infirmity before the sword he wields and send their head cart wheeling on the dusty sand, with the trunk shuddering spasmodically on the ground. Blood gushing out of the gaping hole in the trunk at the neck where the head was. He is the official executioner of the custodians of Islam, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

These are two faces of men who are by lineage and profession employed to murder, to kill, to enforce execution or capital punishment as called in jurisprudence. These are people from two distinct cultures and our contemporaries.
The first in a society that dares to call itself “democratic and civilised”! The second in a society that is teetering still in medieval barbaric practices. The former presumes that man has to be made aware to think of death penalty when he sets out to murder and hence must be operatively deterrent. The latter quotes the rash and archaic unveiling of eye for an eye from institutions found during a different age. Those laws may have been suitable for a clan of tribal barbarians wandering along the deserts of Arabia , Palestine and Egypt  and are absolutely ill for a generation that claim to be civilised and enlightened .

Now let us leave aside countries like Saudi Arabia and some other Islamic States who have refused to sign the United Nations Declarations of Human Rights, that calls for abolition of death penalty and that everyone has the right to protection from deprivation of life. Capital punishment is still given down in signatory countries like India and the USA for instance. Two nations who clamour for being more democratic and upholding human rights than the other! But are derisive and averse to the watch dog Amnesty.

Death penalty has proved that it is not an effective deterrent against crime. As long as premeditated killings are supported by money and political power crime in various forms and intensity will continue to be perpetrated. To assume that society should dispense with certain elements as they are considered unfit for life is another theory that keeps capital punishment on the statute. A flawed and bedeviled theory from the very society that is responsible for an evolution of a felon. The very society who shuns him like a pariah and incorrigible!  The only difference is that he or she is not banished to a remote island- a penal colony, but left in the lurch emotionally and socially, branded as a curse, a scourge to mankind and the very society in which he was born, born not by his volition! And in some cases exterminated!

If a felony is penalised by elimination of the felon, by what law and philosophy is the very murder what we call penalty not a more heinous crime? It is the whole society, the mob against a solitary individual who is branded as unfit to live. The rarest of rare cases as the Supreme Court of India observed   is a contradiction and a unenlightened observation. It means that in rare and strange cases the society can indulge in crime, in mobocracy.

The lust for blood is mans twin .A very dangerous trait that only man has and exercise against his own. I was a pro death penalty criminal all these years. But life has finally given me a realisation that smothering out a life in the name of penalty, as an individual perpetrator or as the silent acqusiser are both the same. And no law can redress or reverse both as the former is a crime and the later uncivilised and barbaric.

There is nothing human in the mode of killing or  be it by the individual or the State. Both are lust, lust for blood and vengeance of perverted and heinous minds.


KParthasarathi said...

A good analysis on a subject where there is no unanimity.
My view is expressed on this matter in my post in my blog in December 2007

Insignia said...

I feel there are other ways to punish a criminal than by death penalty. No one; for any reason; has the right to take away a life.

I was following the Troy Davis case. Sad that the government and the state of Gerogia didnt reconsider the decision

Bikramjit said...

No sir sorry i am not with you on this, I ma 100% in favour of bringing back the death penalty where it is not ..

I beleive that Once you have done a crime then the fundamental rights of yours are no more Rights.. It is this attitude the leniency etc towards the culprits that the world is going downhill.

Places like saudi and all are much safer I do beleive in an eye for an eye.. Too much human rights £$%$£ is making the society a feared place, Why shoud i fear to go out in middle of night anywhere ..

I am of the beleif that if someone trespasses my property then I have the right to defend in whatever manner i want or can.. that person who has trespassed knows the risk and is doing at thier risk..

The punishments given to criminals is pathetic, a person run over another person in his car and all he gets is a few months of jail or some fine while the person they have killed has died .. its just not that the others in the family suffer too.. what have they done wrong to deserve this ..

I am sorry i have some hard views on this ...

HARSH punishements should be brought in .. not taken away ..


Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

What happens in Saudi Arabia and such countries is barbaric. And I don't believe that anywhere in the world law and rule serves one and all equally. The rich and the mighty always finds a way out. Yes, a state which indulges in killing its citizens ... it's bizarre. But, do we have any method to prevent the escalating rate of crimes? If with stringent methods the crime rates can't be lowered what else would come to the rescue. This is a very serious topic and needs to be addressed by the the civil society, government, judiciary... And of course, a consensus would be hard to come by, but it calls for serious discussion and it's high time this topic came to the fore.

kavita said...

I am not in favor of Capital punishment.Have you seen this old Hindi movie directed by V.Shantaram named "Do Aankhen Barah Hath "?

anilkurup said...

@ KParthasarathi

Yes, I did see your post and left my comment. When society collectively maintains a criminal mindset, it will be impossible to achieve unanimity against killing as punishment.

@ Insignia,

Yes indeed. A life imprisonment without recourse to parole and reprieve is a civilsed way than stifling out life. How dare we do that and on what authority?
And good old America kills many in their gas chambers, electric chairs and by lethal injections. When America does it can we be far behind?

@ Bikramjit,

Please got to the web site Have patience and browse all available materials.
Well that gives you facts and figures . Then you will have to extrapolate it with reports like- how deterrent is death penalty? The executions in countries that have archaic laws and kangaroo courts like Saudi Arabia and China , will not guarantee an equitable and impartial justice.
There has been no evidence from any where in the world to suggest that capital punishment has reduced the number of crime.

Then my friend you will have to ask, why are criminals around? They are not born ,but made.
And do we have as members of the civilsed world the right to rob a man off his life and as punishment?Is it not collective murder? And are we not criminals like him or her?
And most of all can you ensure that no one innocent is send to the gallows?Can you guarantee the impeccability and infallibility of the due process of law in such cases?

Are you my friend subscribing to the dictum ,eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth?
So we all live blind and teeth less!
Introspect my friend.

@ Arun Meethale Chirakal,

Yes Arun it is time that a serious debate is exercised and the archaic law is banished.
It is a grotesque penalty and not in any remote way fit for people who claim to be civilised.

@ Kavita,

Thank you , you have realised the crime against criminals.
No, I have not seen the movie. Is it something to do about the theme of death penalty?