A tale of Two Nations
Posted by Agnivo Niyogi
Entwined in history is the future of two nations, whose present is not what you will call perfect. Pakistan has registered their names in history of uncertainty. India misses her date with history every time her door is knocked.
Barely weeks ago the Governor of Punjab province of Pakistan Salman Taseer had to meet a tragic fate. His fault – he was against the Blasphemy Law and wanted amendments to it. For similar reasons, today a Federal Minister of Pakistan, Shahbaz Bhatti (he was in charge of the Ministry of Minority Affairs) was handed death by militants, because of his support for religious minorities and arguments against the Blasphemy Law. Protests, outrage, sympathy flooded twitter. The slain minister had his day of trending alongside the Beibers and #WC2011. Only if this outrage over the Blasphemy had poured in when the two dead men were alive.
And then i turn the page. “Mera Bharat Mahaan” reads the chapter. Surely our tryst with destiny met an unfortunate dead end. Without meaning the least disrespect to the Judiciary (of which i am an ardent fan), i can but feel sad at two verdicts of the recent past. which could have paved the way for “History in the Making” but like a deflating balloon, let me down.
The Supreme Court yet again reserved judgment on the petition for mercy killing of Aruna Shanbaug. She has been in coma for 17 years, all her senses non functional. She has been kept alive because her brain is not dead yet. But does life mean mere functioning of certain regions of brain? “Dignity of Life” is a clichéd and overused term which i have no qualms of using again to put my argument across to my readers. Does she deserve to live like this? Does this mean living in any way?
The other 2 disappointing judgments came from the High Court of Gujarat and Maharashtra respectively. I have always maintained state (which can never create life) should never have the right to take away life, no matter how “rare” the case under observation may be. In case of Kasab, i argued, his death would in a way sanction him a passport to “Jannat” and his “Shahadat” would be used as an example for more such young minds to be brainwashed into violence. In case of the convicts of Godhra train carnage, i really am at loss of words. The only reason i have against death sentence is, hanging the perpetrators will not bring back the dead. Neither will executing a few “terrorists” earn India a “strong” image. And what use of a strong image, if our State is incapable of preventing terrorist acts but adopts a hardline approach after a terrorist is captured?
Death sentence for someone who has not committed any crime. Her only crime is she is “alive”. Life imprisonment for barbarians. India could have set a precedent. But alas…
Is it not time that the subcontinent woke up to its archaic laws and took pains to amend them?