“Finally! Finally!! The four rapists have been hanged.” Lulu, my parrot listened to me but did not respond. He moved a tad closer to me.
“Waiting to die must be more gruesome than the death on gallows which comes in a few seconds” I continued and looked at Lulu. He did not utter a word. He looked at the newspaper in my hand.
“Why no response? ‘Maun-Vrat’ today?”
“Equinox” Lulu looked out of window.
“What’s that, Lulu? Equinox? And what does it have to do with Nirbhaya convicts’ hanging I am talking about?”
“It’s March 20 and its equinox today, this year. Day and night are of equal duration.”
“They represent the brighter and darker side of us. There are people who think that the State has no business, no power to take life of anybody. And there are people who are celebrating the hanging.”
“That’s a big dilemma”
“I am amazed at the celebrations I watched on TV when the news of their hanging broke out. So uncivil.”
“Have you ever met a family which had lost a son or a daughter to a crime? If you had met you will not say such a thing. I am happy that the four rapists are hanged.”
“That’s interesting. Do you remember Tendulkar?”
“Of course, Sachin?”
“No, Vijay. Vijay Tendulkar, the celebrated author and playwright.”
“He used to write a column in Maharashtra Times. In the early seventies a man standing on Elphinstone Road railway station lost his mind, he became violent and stabbed several persons and then continued his assault on people at Dadar station. People caught him, pinned him down, they picked up the instruments used by railway workers working nearby, overpowered him, and hacked him to death.”
“Tendulkar wrote in his column – ‘He was mad, he did not understand what he was doing in a normal sense; but others who pinned him down and killed him were neither mad nor oblivious to what they were doing’”
“The rapists killed her. Perhaps they enjoyed the torture and killing her.”
“Yes, true…. I take your point. We can’t be like them!”
“We must accept that there is a way a Society deals with the crime and punishment. The police and judiciary steps in. But good citizens do not celebrate death of criminals. They ought to focus on living life meaningfully. That is why punishment for crime is divorced from individual citizens.” Lulu flipped his wings and hopped on to my shoulder.
Vivek S Patwardhan
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
Pic courtesy: Bill Oxford and Greg Hill on Unsplash and Google Images