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Execution of Kasab: expression of our frivolity

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“Pune’s Yerwada Jail indeed lucky to have Kasab d kasaai hanged there! It was like Pune’s shraddhanjali to d mumbai victims.....Thank you for choosing Pune for this honourable historic deed......Yerwada officials are lucky to witness this hanging!” - Tarita Shankar Mehandale, Chairperson, Indira Group of Institutes, Poona
I’m shocked to read this tweet by an ‘educationist’, a woman at that, couched in intemperate language. But for the life of me, I cannot understand how can anyone be called lucky to witness a hanging or execution? This is a spectacle that can unnerve anyone. Hanging’s a systematic killing. It’s an elaborate drama of death and one of the most heinous ways of getting rid of a convict.

Here I’m not getting into the pros and cons of capital punishment. My point is that if at all you need to kill a person legally, there’re more humane ways to resort to, like having recourse to lethal injection. It causes minimum pain and requires less fanfare.

Despite all precautions and care, hanging involves the break of neck-bone causing asphyxiation to the convict. Though it takes 2-3 minutes to die, some convicts take even 15-18 minutes. When Nathuram Godse was hanged, he died after 17 minutes. Phiroz Rustom Daruwalla’s body kept writhing for 23 minutes and the body of one of the four killers of Abhyankar-Joshi murders in Poona took nearly 15 agonising minutes to become still at the gallows and Kasab died after seven minutes.

Why can’t we be more humane? The way people are rejoicing and expressing their joy, one wonders as to whether we’re really civilised? What have we achieved by this hanging? Are we happy that those who were killed during 26/11 finally got justice or a brainwashed, young zealot met with the end he deserved? Will his hanging put mockers on Jihadis’ nefarious designs? Never. In fact, India must brace itself for a spate of terrorist attacks from Pakistan in the wake of Kasab’s execution.

George Orwell wrote that there’re two distinct types of cruelty: Direct cruelty and sordid cruelty. When you kill a person spontaneously, it’s direct cruelty and when you gloat over his end, it comes under sordid cruelty.

We’re relishing a man’s execution and distributing sweets. Alas, we don’t even know how to express our emotions. Man has always had a streak of cruelty in him. But it seems, it’s become too obvious and distorted in recent times. Can’t we feel and restrain ourselves? I’m indeed sad the way people are sending unbridled messages and media is sensationalising this hanging. We’ve not yet grown up sensibly and compassionately. Finally, what have we achieved by Kasab’s hanging: Frivolity for ourselves.      
 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2012 on page no. 1

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