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With Yakub Memon being hanged till death on 30th July morning, the debate about capital punishment has again taken the spotlight. Many intellectuals have criticized not only the hanging of Yakub Memon, but also the very system of capital punishment. The present article aims to analyze some of these arguments against the capital punishment.
But before analyzing the arguments against the capital punishment, we should first briefly look into the role of punishment in justice system as understood in western and Indian traditions.
The role of punishment in society
In the west, many philosophers and thinkers have written about the concept of punishment and justice.
Hegel argued that a crime is an infringement of rights and this can be erased only by infringing the rights of the criminal through the infliction of punishment.
Similarly, Igor Primoratz says that punishment is morally justified as long as it is just and that it is just when it is delivered to a person who has committed an offense. He further states that justice is not being done, if the guilty goes unpunished.
Therefore, the purpose of punishment is to make the criminal undergo hardship for the pain and suffering he has caused to his victim and this punishment should be proportional to the hardship he has caused to his victims.
Beccaria argues that the purpose of punishment is two-fold: to prevent the criminal from committing fresh crimes and to deter other people from committing those crimes. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says: “A liberal justification of punishment would proceed by showing that society needs the threat and the practice of punishment, because the goal of social order cannot be achieved otherwise and because it is unfair to expect victims of criminal aggression to bear the cost of their victimization.”
Therefore, in the western tradition of thinkers and law makers, various arguments have been provided for the necessity of punishment in delivering justice and maintaining social order. These include punishing a criminal for a crime already committed, punishing a criminal to prevent him from committing crimes in future, to deter others from committing such crimes and to give justice to the innocent victims who have suffered.
A similar view can be seen as being expressed by Indian thinkers and law makers as well. Various Smriti and dharma-shastras(i.e. books dealing with law, morality, dharma etc.) deal with the duties of the king and the importance of punishment which is called as “danda”. For example, Manu says that anarchy will lead to the spread of fear among the common people (as there is no one to protect them), therefore, a king (i.e. a government) is necessary. He further says that the concept of punishment i.e. danda has been introduced so that the king (i.e. a government) can protect its citizens as only due to the fear of punishment will people involve in the practice of their own duties without resorting to adharma (unrighteousness). That is, the mechanism of punishment will ensure that people do not harm others or infringe the rights of others as its adharma and hence punishable.
Therefore, the role of punishment according to Indian worldview is four-fold: it protects the innocent, it punishes the criminals, it deters others from committing crimes out of fear of punishment, and it ensures social order by helping people practice their own duty peacefully.
Hence, we can safely conclude that “Punishment” is very vital for a harmonious functioning of a society. Now, let us look at some of the arguments made against capital punishment:
- Capital punishment is retributive: One of the important arguments against the capital punishment is that it is retributive in nature and this attitude is not conducive to delivering justice. It is argued that ours being a civilized society, we should not inflict an eye for an eye concept in our society. True, we should not implement an eye for an eye concept as practiced in some countries. At the same time, “proportional punishment” needs to be implemented. Without being retributive in nature, punishment cannot truly become preventive. Only when a criminal is punished for his present or past crimes, will one be able to restrain him from committing other crimes, or reform him so that he renounces his criminal ways. Such punishment alone will act as deterrence. Therefore, any arguments against capital punishment on the grounds of retribution can be equally applied to the whole mechanism of punishment. And the elements of retribution can be removed from justice system only when the mechanism of punishment itself is removed. This of course would lead to anarchy.
- Capital punishment will not act as deterrent: Another argument made is that capital punishment does not reduce crime rate. Some statistics have also been offered to show that in countries where capital punishment is prohibited, there the crime rates are low. But it must be pointed out that deterrent need not mean that there will be no crimes, or even that there will be a reduction of crimes immediately. Deterrence must be instead understood as preventing society at large from turning into anarchy, where people commit crimes openly as there is no fear of being punished. In the case of Yakub Memon who was involved in the 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai, if capital punishment is not given, then it will encourage other people to involve in such activities. It will send message to terrorists that India is a weak nation where they can bleed people freely with very little consequence. Further, another terrorist may have hijacked a plane or could have taken a hostage in order to get Yakub released, the way it had happened in Kandhahar plane hijack. Therefore, capital punishments in many cases act as a deterrent against many future crimes and they also prevent society at large from falling into criminal activities.
- Death penalty to a criminal will not bring back the dead victim: It is true that hanging a terrorist or a rapist will neither bring the dead victim alive nor nullify the physical and mental torture that the victim had undergone. But then this argument can be applied to any punishment. Should it mean that all criminals must be allowed a free run across the country? After all, no punishment is ever able to right a wrong that has already been committed on a victim. The suffering of a victim cannot be nullified. The aim of the punishment is not to nullify the sufferings of the victim either. The purpose of the punishments including capital punishment is to prevent the particular criminal from committing crimes in future.
- Death penalty once given cannot be undone: True it cannot be undone and that is why the Indian justice system awards the death penalty only in the “rarest of the rare” cases.
The question one should ask is: If a war against the state in the form of terrorism is not “rarest of the rare”, what is? If a brutal gang rape of an innocent girl is not “rarest of the rare”, then what is?
Do the terrorists, whose actions result in deaths of hundreds of people, also think about death being an irreversible event? The fact is that people often misuse the concept of “kshama” or mercy. Mercy is given only to the one who truly deserves it. We should ask ourselves: Does a terrorist or a rapist truly deserve mercy?
Further, the argument of mercy can be well used against the whole mechanism of punishment itself. If mercy is used as a universal rule, then all criminals will go scot free. Mercy must be used only on a case to case basic and not as an argument against capital punishment as a whole.
- Government/Judicial system does not have a moral right to take life: This is true. Government or judicial system indeed does not have a moral right to take anybody’s life. At the same time, it is also true that no person has right to harm or kill other people. Who will tell this to criminals? Who will prevent the criminals from harming others? The power to punish through proper judicial means is included in a democracy in order to protect the innocent and prevent the criminals from harming others. Capital punishment is just one form of punishment. No institution or person has moral right to take anybody’s life, but the mechanism of punishment including death penalty is inevitable in order to maintain social order and prevent criminal elements from creating chaos and anarchy.
- Innocent people may be given death sentence: This is a real possibility. When court punishes people, at times even innocents are inadvertently punished. This is true for all acts of punishment and not just capital punishment. But we cannot remove the whole mechanism of punishment due to this. It is for this reason, people on death sentence are given various hearings and only then, the hanging actually happens. In the Yakub case, he was repeatedly found guilty and his death sentence was repeatedly upheld in the courts. The possibility of innocents being punished is unavoidable, but the attempts must be made to prevent it as much as possible.
Therefore, it can be easily seen that many arguments against death penalty do not hold when analyzed from a larger perspective. These arguments of pacifism and blanked opposition to capital punishment can easily be applied to any kind of punishments. And if the mechanism of punishment itself is removed based on these arguments, then the society will end up in chaos and anarchy, where criminals will have a free run and masses will suffer. Though no person or institution has a moral right to take another’s life, yet capital punishment is necessary for the sake of protection of the innocent, punishment of the criminals and for the prevention of whole society from falling into crime.
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NewsGram.)
Malgudi, a small fictional town in South India has been part of the childhood of most Indians. It is an old, shabby, and peaceful town that is unruffled by politics. The stories set in this small town ring the sense of belongingness in the hearts of its readers. The familiar feeling that feels like home resonates with their soul. And teaches important life lessons to the readers through simple tales. Malgudi Days is one of the books that every Indian child should read. The book is a compilation of 32 short stories that paint a beautiful picture of small-town in India around the '60s and '70s
R. K. Narayan, one of the most well-known and popular writers within India and outside India is the creator of this town and the occurrences of this town. The stories follow the characters Swami and his friends through their everyday lives. Be it the story of fake astrologers who scam and loot the people by his cleverness, or the story of a blind beggar and his dog where the money blinded the man with greed; each story has a lesson to learn, morals and values hidden in it. As the stories are simple, easy to understand yet heart-touching it makes it easy for the kids to connect with each character and imagine the story as if the reader themselves were the protagonist of the story. In simple words, we can say that R.K. Narayan simply told stories of ordinary people trying to live their simple lives in a changing world.
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As written during the Indian Independence movements and finally published in 1943. The stories in the Malgudi days beautifully encapsulated the transitioning milieu of the British era to post-Independence India. Each of the stories portrays a facet of life in Malgudi and simultaneously a life in an Indian town. R.K. Narayan was one of the first writers who pioneered Indian writings in the English language and the book was later republished outside India in 1982 by Penguin Classics. Thus, the book enjoyed a worldwide audience. The New York Times even described the virtue of the book as "everyone in the book seems to have a capacity for responding to the quality of his particular hour. It's an art we need to study and revive."
The beautiful storytelling of the book was assisted by beautiful illustrations allowing the children to let their imagination teleport them to the world of Malgudi. All the illustrations in the book were illustrated by the world-renowned cartoonist, R.K. Laxman who is also R.K. Narayan's younger brother. The illustrations complimented the scenes from the stories and excited the children, keeping them engaged in reading the book for hours.
The illustrations complimented the scenes from the stories.Pixabay
The short stories from Malgudi Days were later adapted into a television adaptation in 1986. This show was directed by actor and director Shankar Nag. It was filmed both in Hindi and English, containing 54 episodes and the first 13 episodes respectively. Later the series was revived for additional 15 episodes. The show featured several popular celebrities from the Kannada film industry of those days – Girish Karnad, Vishnuvardhan, Ananth Nag, Arundhati Nag and Vaishali Kasaravalli, to name a few. The series was premiered on the Doordarshan channel and became the window into the town Malgudi for many. The show did not only excel in its storyline the TV adaptation elevated the storytelling as the show was technically very sound and stood out in its fantastic detailing in terms of locations and sets. With the cinematography being creative The Malgudi days- TV series once again warmed the hearts of both young ones and adults.
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Malgudi- our childhood home
Malgudi days hold a special place in the hearts of whoever has read the book as a child. With the detailed descriptions of the town and stories one almost gets a feeling that they've visited the place themselves. The characters, Swami and his friends feel like they were all readers' childhood friends. The surreal feeling of being home in the world of Malgudi. The world of Malgudi is intimate, warm, lifelike, and engaging. The setting is modern, and the life portrayed in these stories is contemporary. Still, there is an old-time air about It. R K Narayan once described Malgudi as "Malgudi is where we all belong, and where we wish we lived."
Keywords: Malgudi days, Malgudi, R K Narayan, R K Laxman, storytelling, our childhood home Malgudi
Well, if you'll notice then the moon takes twenty-nine days to complete its lunar cycle, whereas women's menstrual cycle is generally 28 days! Coincidence? I think, not.
It is believed that when a woman goes through her menstrual cycle, she goes through the different lunar energies. In fact, in ancient times it was said that the natural rhythm of women was to menstruate under a new moon and ovulate under a full moon.
At the same time, it is also believed that the cycle and its stages are connected to different seasons, namely, spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
Let us see how the lunar cycle is related to a woman's menstrual cycle!
It must be noted that the menstruation period is during the new moon period and also during the winter season. It is said that this is a reflective phase; a phase of silence, introspection, and solitude. During this phase, a woman's body is more sensitive, and so they're able to connect with it and hear the messages it gives. Interestingly, this is also the time when a woman naturally recycles energy as she menstruates, and hence, it's also the for their rest and recovery.
The Crescent moon represents the pre-ovulation period. This is also the season of spring, and so the time corresponds to an increase in physical energy. During this period, a woman's mental strength is at its peak and their thoughts are much clearer. At the same time, emotions are more stable during this period, and because of which women tend to be more social and outgoing.
This phase of the moon represents ovulation, and the season associated with this phase is summer. It must be noted that this period is full of energy and vitality. At the same time, this period plays a significant role in the lives of women because it's actually a fertile phase in all aspects of their life, be it personal or professional. During this period, the self-confidence and self-esteem in women tend to rise, and along with this, an increase in their sex drive can be seen very well.
This phase of the moon represents pre-menstruation, which is also associated with the autumn season. During this period, a woman's physical energy starts to decline. Metaphorically, just like a tree sheds its leaves, a woman, too, feels the need to let go of anything that is not benefiting her. At the same time, memory and the ability to concentrate decrease in this period.
I hope, now you will not think of the moon just as a celestial body, but as a companion in the lives of women!
Keywords: Women pre-Menstruation, Feminine, women Health Fitness, the moon represents the pre-ovulation period, period and moon cycle.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has directed Pak TV channels to stop airing what it calls indecency and intimacy in dramas, Samaa TV reported.
A notification issued by the authority states that it has been receiving numerous complaints from viewers who believe that the content being depicted in dramas does not represent the "true picture of Pakistani society".
"PEMRA finally got something right: Intimacy and affection between married couples isn't 'true depiction of Pakistani society and must not be 'glamourized'. Our 'culture' is control, abuse, and violence, which we must jealously guard against the imposition of such alien values," said Reema Omer, Legal Advisor, South Asia, International Commission of Jurists.
"Hugs, caress scenes, extramarital affairs, vulgar and bold dressing, bed scenes and intimacy of married couples are being glamourized in utter disregard to Islamic teachings and culture of Pakistani society," PEMRA stated, as per the report.
The authority added that it has directed channels time and again to review content with "indecent dressing, controversial and objectionable plots, bed scenes and unnecessary detailing of events".
Most complaints received by the PEMRA Call Centre during September concern drama serial "Juda Huay Kuch is Tarah", which created quite a storm on social media for showing an unwitting married couple as foster siblings in a teaser for an upcoming episode. However, it only turned out to be a family scheme after the full episode aired, but by that time criticism had mounted on HUM TV for using the themes of incest to drive the plot, the report said. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Pakistan, Islam, Serials, Dramas, Culture, Teachings.