Saturday, April 18, 2009

A disturbing irony...........

I picked up the newspaper early this morning and I did not feel like reading beyond the first page. The first two articles on the first page on The Hindu newspaper made me stop, to reflect on our system of democracy and justice. I can assure you, I am not one among those pessimists who believe that this country is good for nothing, neither am the kind who doesn’t believe in democracy. But, for a few minutes, I couldn’t help wondering if our ideals of democracy and justice are of any relevance at all!!
The front page today represented the extremes of the continuum of the system of democracy and reward, punishment systems that our country has. On the left is an article carrying news about Kasab, the lone surviving gunman in the Mumbai terror attacks and on the right is a news item about the young girl Shanno who died( who was killed rather!!) following corporal punishment at municipal school. At the face of it maybe these two news items do not have anything in common. But, looking deeper into both these issues, it represents an irony! A disturbing irony! To me, it seems to reflect a weak reward-punishment system!!! A terrorist who has been seen with the gun in his hands is being 'rewarded' the luxury of having trials, having lawyers to represent him(at the cost of Indian taxpayer’s money!!) and here is this girl who was 'punished' on the spot for a “crime” of not reciting alphabets properly. Why is it that time and again we wait for incidents like this to happen to wake up to the real need to strengthen fundamentals in the society. In what way can the teacher justify this act in a society that is giving somebody like kasab, a chance to justify his wrong doing? How can the teacher decide to punish in such a manner without imagining consequences? Is it lack of awareness about the need to abolish corporal punishments? Is it negligence? Display of power? Or is the blame going to be thrown again on lack of stringent laws or lack of implementation of laws?
At one end we have debates and discussions about free and fair trial and just punishment being given to the terrorist Kasab who is responsible for killing so many lives in the Mumbai terror attacks and on the other end we have this little girl who was punished to death for not reciting her alphabets properly!! To call this ironic seems an understatement! To me, this irony seems to raise a lot of thoughts like for instance, does our country work in such a manner that bigger the crimes you commit, the safer you are (because it takes a long time for you to be tried and presented to the court)? If this is the punishment for the child who has not learnt her alphabets, in other words not done her duty as a student, then what is the punishment and who will punish all those people out there whose negligence and lack of commitment has lead to such crimes ranging from corporal punishment to terrorism?

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