Friday, May 07, 2010

Commandment Six

Ajmal Kasab, 22, sentenced to death by hanging.

That is the law of the land.

A man, a criminal, a terrorist, a murderer. Caught. Tried. Sentenced. Hanged.

The question is: why do we celebrate it? Revenge, of course.

He cried when he was sentenced. I can understand people ignoring his tears, calling his pain just, a lesson to future terrorists (if at all it works that way), but to call them "crocodile tears", as the prosecution attorney did, is to dehumanize him, to mistake his pain as pretence.

To understand the progression of a child becoming a man like Ajmal Kasab is harder than to burst crackers at the judgment.

Ajmal Kasab is 22. A "bad" human being. Probably too young to realize what he has done.

To kill him is self-defense or deterrence or justice or a trial-by-media or a punishment for the rarest-of-the-rare crime. But to celebrate his killing is demonic. It is to celebrate when one's child fails in the school examination and commits suicide. One less loser in the world, eh?

Ajmal Kasab, I mourn for you, and for a world of hate which twisted you up and made you kill those poor victims of you, whose families had their lives torn apart.

I know you were a child once.



(The ending of Come and See (Elem Klimov, 1985), where a child, a premature man, a child whose whole village was massacred, with wrinkles wrought by war, full of hate and anguish, starts shooting at a photograph of Adolf Hitler, who gets younger and younger. When finally Hitler is an infant in the arms of his mother, the shooter stands paralyzed.)

37 comments:

Pankaj said...

a tribal urge for revenge runs deep in society. Maybe more in conservative societies?

Susan said...

Very well said Harman.

Anonymous said...

I join you in that.

Darshan Chande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Defiant Princess said...

With this, i feel there IS someone who thinks the same way as me.
Okay he is a terrorist, and deserves such punishment.. but celebrating his death sentence? That makes a lesser human and more of a demon.
It should come as a warning, not a reason for merry making!
They call his tears crocodile ones.. and that, as I know is the worst someone can say.
He might be some so called "killing machine" but he has a heart too that cried when he heard he's going to die!

Kudos for writing this!

Anonymous said...

A thoughtful post.. I too feel ashamed to admit that till y'day I was celebrating his death.. Your post make me feel so shallow..

Ketan said...

A slightly related blog post here (click).

Personally, I find the celebration of his death sentence distasteful, but somehow I cannot bring myself to call his death sentencing wrong.

The idea that somebody would be killed in a planned fashion is very, very gut wrenching. However much I debate with myself, I am not able to decide if death penalty should be part of IPC or not.

No where else could I air my views - partly because of fear of opposition & ridicule, and mostly because of ambivalence.

Thanks for writing this post!

Ashok M Kini said...

Why we should not celebrate? Circumstances maketh the man a criminal! No disagreeing.. During 26/11 whole country mourned. There should be a celebration to counter balance for every mourning... So real celebration will start when he.S hanged. This was just a rehearsal!

Rohith.R.Das said...

A great post. A GREAT video. The essence of it all was so moving that I nearly broke down. Yes, there once was innocence....

Darshan Chande said...

I deleted my comment for my view is changed after much of thinking (and discussing with a friend) over it. I am sorry if you don't like that.

You might think I am immature to do this, change my view. Whatever...

Particularly this point of yours I find objectionable now.

Ajmal Kasab is 22. A "bad" human being. Probably too young to realize what he has done.

Too young to realize what he has done!?? I am 23. And I am perfectly aware of the gravity of all the crime and good deeds humans do. 22 is not a child-age. Even for marriage the legal age is 21. 18 is unanimously considered the age of maturity inhuman being. 22 is certainly not a small age. If by the age of 22 someone is not grown enough to understand the gravity of his acts then it's HIS problem!! Society made him so? Maybe. Now imagine a hungry bagger stealing a bread and getting caught and being punished. Here he has a good reason for stealing. Still the punishment is called just for he STOLE. There are laws for it.

What motive did Kasab have for killing? Any good one? No... Mostly it's the greed for getting to the heaven or something like that which those brain-washers infused in him. He was driven by the greed. Is that a good thing, especially, when the result of it such killing acts?

And as for celebration, we are missing the important point. Now as I think of it, that Indian government FINALLY decided on hanging him is itself a cause for merriment, isn't it? Finally, justice done to the civilians, by the notorious government. But hold on, real merriment will be when he ACTUALLY gets hanged.

I am sorry. After fighting much with myself I have changed my view.

I know you are not against his hanging. You are just against the celebration. But you DO feel sympathy for him. That sympathy is not necessary.

BTW, it is not the same as one's child failing at exams. Some children fail at exams because they are not bright enough. They study but can't imbibe things and fail to perform. They don't "choose" to fail. These terrorists have chosen to be what they are. Out of their greed. Or whatever reasons. At the age of 22 he cried upon hearing that he is going to die for what he did and that made him cry, that certainly means he KNOWS what death is. Then how can you say he was too young to understand what he was doing??? How does he understand what's being done to him, then??

Celebrating or not celebrating is not an issue of concern. But feeling sympathy for him, which you did, is certainly a concern now!!

I respect you much, Harmanjit, in-spite of this.

But this I can no more agree to.

Harmanjit Singh said...

@darshan:

The issue at hand is not what how it looks to others, that you have changed your views, or how I perceive you (or myself) now that you disagree with me. Though self-consciousness ("philosophy as an attitude" for example) is a grave topic in its own right.

The issue is our celebration of a world in which people commit horrendous crimes and are then punished horrendously.

People celebrate the violence done to their oppressors, violators, aggressors all the time.

Lynch mobs, honour killings, revenge murders, you know all that. Murder can be justified as a valid response to a violation. Maybe.

What seems unjustifiable to me is the celebration of a human being's murder, or the news that he is now going to be murdered.

It is tragic that we have no better way to deal with such aberrant humans than to simply kill them.

I am not a pacifist, or a believer in non-violence. But violence is always an unfortunate choice, and if it is gratifying, or one feels good about inflicting pain on someone else, perhaps we need to pay closer attention to what's happening in our minds.

Our humanity lies in the consciousness that our acts lead to certain states of minds in other human beings.

The difference in hanging Kasab, and in celebration of it, is the difference in violence and sadism.

ociety made him so? Maybe. Now imagine a hungry bagger stealing a bread and getting caught and being punished. Here he has a good reason for stealing. Still the punishment is called just for he STOLE. There are laws for it.

Let there be laws, and their just execution. But it is a mistake to assume that a judge's, or an executioner's, job is a happy one.

What motive did Kasab have for killing? Any good one?

Of course he had motives, pummeled into him by his terrorist trainers. The wikipedia article about him is somewhat revelatory. Of course these were wrong motives. But what is without a doubt is that he was provided these motives, he didn't invent them.

Now as I think of it, that Indian government FINALLY decided on hanging him is itself a cause for merriment, isn't it? Finally, justice done to the civilians, by the notorious government. But hold on, real merriment will be when he ACTUALLY gets hanged.

So, a government giving in to the bloodlust of its population, is a celebration of good governance now? A victory for democracy? Was any other outcome possible? There would have been riots had he been given a lesser punishment.

Then how can you say he was too young to understand what he was doing???

Maybe he understood what he was doing. Maybe he realized the pain and suffering that he was causing. That doesn't change my view that it is a tragic incident that a young man, brainwashed, became a mass murderer, and that he was hanged for being that way, for being shaped by forces and belief-systems larger than him.

How does he understand what's being done to him, then??

His tears indicate that his indoctrination was not complete, that he is an unwitting, impressionable pawn in the game of hate.

However, it would be tragic even if he smiled and laughed at his sentence, and exclaimed "Allah Hu Akbar". More so, perhaps.

ElDuderno said...

So, a government giving in to the bloodlust of its population, is a celebration of good governance now? A victory for democracy? Was any other outcome possible? There would have been riots had he been given a lesser punishment.

#Lesser punishment? High heavens! You have been railing against the unbearable despair of being alive for dozens of posts now, and sweet sweet death is being seen as a great punishment. Would you rather he serve a life sentence in prison, that would have been a lesser punishment?

Harmanjit Singh said...

@elduderno

You have been railing against the unbearable despair of being alive...

Not so, Eldude. I have been commenting on the despair of being alive when one is without anything larger than oneself to live for.

And I agree with you that a life imprisonment is in many ways a harsher punishment for the criminal, but in this context, the people would have protested against anything less than capital punishment.

They would have seen it as another symptom of a "soft state".

Ruchi said...

Your post has come as a relief. The vulgarity of the celebrations had saddened me. I have expressed myself about this and have been met with strong opposition which of course happened without the birth of a newer thought in the opposers mind.

"Violence is always an unfortunate choice, and if it is gratifying, or one feels good about inflicting pain on someone else, perhaps we need to pay closer attention to what's happening in our minds.
Our humanity lies in the consciousness that our acts lead to certain states of minds in other human beings.
The difference in hanging Kasab, and in celebration of it, is the difference in violence and sadism."

Most of us fail to look inside ourselves and see who we really are before pointing fingers at others. Celebrating Kasabs death sentence is a way of breeding more hatred and vengeance. That's what the person who celebrates has in common with Kasab. It's easier to point fingers than to take our share of responsibility for the world we have created around us. It also helps in boosting our ego and makes us feel good about ourselves for being the better and superior person.

A "game of hate" is exactly what it is. They hate us and we hate them. Sometimes they win sometimes we win. Both lose every time. When and why did the "us" and "them" come about to begin with?

I am not expressing my opinion about the punishment announced for Kasab. The response of the public and media is rather disturbing. You hit home when you said "violence is always an unfortunate choice, and if it is gratifying, or one feels good about inflicting pain on someone else, perhaps we need to pay closer attention to what's happening in our minds." It is some inadequacy within us that we revel in another mans pain.

A matter to think about is - if we create a more tolerant and nurturing society would it help more in deterring another Kasab from evolving than a death sentence? (History shows that death has never acted as a deterrent to acts of terrorism in any case) Can a child who is given plenty of love, hope and opportunities for growth still grow up into a Kasab? Can larger forces of tolerance and goodwill restrain forces of hatred and violence? I'm not sure, but I'd definitely like to think about it.

Anonymous said...

Harman: Not so, Eldude. I have been commenting on the despair of being alive when one is without anything larger than oneself to live for.

# Yes but, isn't that "without anything larger" also chosen, just as Ajmal Kasab's actions were chosen?

Even a 6 mths old child has an innate sense of right and wrong and will reach out for the puppet whose actions are kind and helpful rather than the puppet that was hurtful. There are plenty of meaningful causes calling for assistance that are much larger than our own lives.

Your maintaining this blog is one.

If Ajmal Kasab was found to be severely handicapped mentally or emotionally then I would understand your compassion. But there is no evidence that he is any more handicapped than the average instinctively driven barely intelligent human being who against those odds still manages to avoid behaving like a totally psychotic madman.

And for that grace he goes to a death much less bloody and emotionally horrific than what he willingly and brutally inflicted on his victims and their surviving loved ones.

Sure he's as dumb as the rest of us but there is no excuse (not even the brainwashing) for consciously inflicting such senseless and terrifying suffering.

Harmanjit Singh said...

@anonymous

If Ajmal Kasab was found to be severely handicapped mentally or emotionally then I would understand your compassion. But there is no evidence that he is any more handicapped than the average instinctively driven barely intelligent human being who against those odds still manages to avoid behaving like a totally psychotic madman.

I regret what he has become, has been made to become, what he has done, and what will now be done to him. Partly his choices, partly his environment and culture, partly the history of the land.

It is no cause for celebration, but one for somber reflection. That's all.

I wishfully imagine Kasab's executioner doing his duty, not with a smile, but with a tear in his eyes and a prayer on his lips and a hope that no man is led to the unfortunate path that he chose.

Man is not born to be hanged, or to be imprisoned for life. That there exist such men, and for whom we have no better remedies at present, is a grave matter, not an occasion for tittering.

Anonymous said...

Harman: Man is not born to be hanged, or to be imprisoned for life. That there exist such men, and for whom we have no better remedies at present, is a grave matter, not an occasion for tittering.

# Exactly. And in understanding that the tittering comes from the same senselessness as all crimes and that condemnation and revenge is not the sentiment of the majority, maintains perspective.

We can at least rejoice in the fact that everywhere we turn this global medium is exposing the appalling damage we cause/have caused by remaining brain-washable. Eventually there will be no escape. It will be portraying our stupidity on every screen. And in realizing the part each and everyone of us is playing in this sick drama we too will have NO EXCUSE but to bring to an end this wanton physical damage and self inflicted despair which even in it's most minor forms makes our lives senseless and meaningless.

Darshan Chande said...

@Harmanjit, even i am on the path of spirituality, and i dont usually concern myself with such worldly issues. Being at that height even my morality concept is different from what the general conception of it is. But we are at the same time living in the world of human beings who are not spiritually developed, or on the path of Truth, like us 'philosophers'. In these people's world crimes and everything is normal, and as we exist in 'their' world we have to observe their morality concept. That's the reason i had to change my view. The former one being from the higher morality concept, and this one being lower morality concept.

Suppose there's a dog in your area infected with rabies who keeps biting everyone and killing people. Now as you see, from my higher moral concept i would say humans dont have a right to kill any animal especially when it's us who are inhabiting in their place. Where would they live if only we occupy all the space. So, even if the dog has rabies, first of all it's not his fault. And secondly, since we have not left any space in the city exclusively for beasts, he cant help but kill humans around him. Whose fault it is? Dog's? Or humans', for we have not left any space for animals? So, from my higher morality i would conclude that it's humanity's fault. But, you see, to get rid of this fault of the humanity all the humans have to be ''truth seekers'', become philosophers. Is that feasible?
So, what we do? We do kill that dog. And it is just, considering the impossibility of the better solution. Now at killing the dog if people be happy then there nothing wrong with it. It's a perfectly natural reaction. A killing-machine is no more! Whoa! It certainly is a relief, and relief sure makes one happy. What's wrong in it?

And you are talking about the better punishment. What's the better punishment, you suggest? You think he can be taught a lesson and the can be left free? Considering the rarest possible outcome, that he DOES leran a lesson, wouldn't it boost the morale of other terrorists? Wont they 'work' more fearlessly then, seeing there is no risk of losing life in it now? Added motivation.

Humans are not born to be killed or to serve a life sentence. It's right. I am totally on the same page with you there. But to undertsand this it took us to be 'philosophers'. But is everyone in the world a 'philosopher'? So, our truth can not be applied in general.

So, at the level the most people of the world are dwelling the most suitable solution is nothing but 'killing the dog'.

mosurh said...

I completely agree with your post. It is a moment not to rejoice but to reflect on how a 22-yr has thrown away his life.And society cannot pretend that his actions are external to it, they equally need to be held in contempt.
Hanging him will not bring back even a single life but a life imprisonment might have atleast given him a chance to realise his sins.Contrition is the greatest punishment a human being can suffer.
Revenge and violence is a dangerous loop, what will stop Pakistan from hanging Sarabjit? Why did we not even consider an exchange with Pak, atleast one life could have been saved!

Harmanjit Singh said...

@darshan:

... even i am on the path of spirituality, and i dont usually concern myself with such worldly issues. Being at that height even my morality concept is different from what the general conception of it is. But we are at the same time living in the world of human beings who are not spiritually developed, or on the path of Truth, like us 'philosophers'

What is your concept of morality, Darshan? I would be careful if I were you. You seem to be on the "grand" path of spiritual development which has little relevance with the human realm. What are you seeking?

Darshan Chande said...

@Harmanjit, You fail to understand me. Maybe there's a flaw in my expression. I quit.

Ketan said...

Darshan,

I'd like to draw your attention to minor details of your analogy.

The rabid dog could merely be trapped in an inescapable cage - & that should be sufficient to bring the much needed relief & happiness.

But what if we, despite having the option of safely caging the dog, insist that it be killed, only so that it gives us sadistic pleasure, then is such feeling 'legitimate'? Should it be cause of concern?

But still, I'd consider your analogy inaccurate. Because dog, by turning rabid did not exercise a choice. But a person committing a crime exercises a choice with knowledge that his/her act invites certain punishment.

But to speak at an entirely different level I'm almost certain, genuine free will does not exist. That Kasab, depending on state of his neurons & neurotransmitters was bound ('destined') to make the choices he made, and other people likewise were bound to feel the emotions they felt. All these occurrences & their respective genesis can only be acknowledged (somewhat) in hindsight, but not preempted.

I take this opportunity to yet again ask Harmanjit as to what he feels/knows about the concept of free will. :)

Darshan Chande said...

@Harmanjit,
You seem to be on the "grand" path of spiritual development which has little relevance with the human realm.

"Little relevance with the human realm". By the way, that's true, in a way.

@Ketan,
Ketan. Ketan. Ketan! Haha... I don't know WHY you have to believe what you believe about the "free will". That concept shatters everything, and serves nothing. You owe me a detailed explanation as to WHY, after all that I said about free will in my mail, you would still stick to your concept of it. Maybe there's more for me to learn.(?)

Anonymous said...

Google "the Brain on Trial" it questions this very subject. Do we have free will or not. You be the judge.

Harmanjit Singh said...

@ketan:

I take this opportunity to yet again ask Harmanjit as to what he feels/knows about the concept of free will.

I really don't think about abstract problems that much anymore. Free will is just an intellectual curiosity if you don't know all the causes in a supposedly deterministic universe.

If you like, you can read the article http://www.scottaaronson.com/democritus/lec18.html

prasanna said...

i would like to reply mukunds' comment. The death of deamon or a bad soul has never been celebrated. Its the victory of truth that brings in joy, fulfillment and celebration. To put good in place do whatever - once there is victory - celebration would be obvious. So its the way we look at things

Aman said...

Harman: I really don't think about abstract problems that much anymore. Free will is just an intellectual curiosity if you don't know all the causes in a supposedly deterministic universe.

#Why is it that you replied like above to Ketan? Is it because if the answer is that there is no free will, it will take meaninglessness to higher plane and at this point, you are looking for anchors? And it will be meaningless to do anything, even blog (and reply to blogs)?

Ketan said...

Darshan,

I'm quoting what I though to be the most relevant part of your email (without your permission); hope, you don't mind! :)

"For example, if now I tell you I am going to bring you two shirts, red and blue, can you be sure in your mind which one are you going to take?"

Basically, what you have pointed out is the unpredictability of response on seeing the 2 shirts.

I had addressed the issue in the original blog post itself:

"...so (as the pattern of emptying of neurotransmitter vesicles at the synapses cannot be predicted) the decisions that a person makes are not completely predictable. But, the issue of (not) being "able" to alter the course of or effect the emptying of a particular (neurotransmitter) vesicle in a particular neuron at a given time without a physical force though, remains as it is."

Anonymous & Harmanjit, thanks for the suggestions!

Haven't yet read the link Harmanjit provided completely.

I also was curious, why you said what you said. Is it only because we currently do not have sufficient knowledge of neurophysiology? Personally I feel we have sufficient understanding of naturalistic world to draw our conclusions. To be specific, thoughts/decisions/memories are generated because of neurotransmitters crossing synapses, which in itself is a deterministic process, & its 'upstream' causes (synthesis & release of neurotransmitters) are also deterministic.

Or do you also feel about free will:

1. We cannot help not having free will, so why think about it?

OR

2. Naturalistic theories cannot sufficiently describe the Universe & the human mind? Would you be ready to believe in the existence of such a 'soul' that would not be a substrate of deterministic universe so as to be able to account for the free will we feel all the time?

Along with absence of an external purpose to human existence, lack of free will is the most difficult possibility to conceive & accept. Their respective realizations were very significant events in my life. They're completely antagonistic to urge to live. So for these reasons, I would not consider it a mere intellectual curiosity!

But I must hasten to add, in my day-to-day life I do not consider these two factors in my analyses (as we cannot help them, anyway). :)

Darshan Chande said...

@Ketan,

I want to extend what you have quoted as the most relevant part of my email (and yeah, I don't mind, of course!) -


I would still like to believe that we DO have free will. Because, you see, even after knowing the functioning of your brain with regards to it you know that actually there is no free will and that every decision you make is pre-formed based on your genes and neurological pattern, you CAN NOT help but exercise what is free will. For example, if now I tell you I am going to bring you two shirts, red and blue, can you be sure in your mind which one are you going to take? Maybe you like "blue" color and you think you will pick the blue one, but what if when you actually see both shirts you see that red is much more elegant in design. You see, you might find anything at any moment that may change your mind in favor of one thing and against the other. Even if we have understood that "free will is not free will", how did it help? You make a hundred decisions everyday. Are you making better decisions after knowing that "free will is not free will"?? No. Because that can't be. And how can you say that you are not taking decisions out of "free will"? By free will we mean that the decision taken is "yours". Even going by "no free will" conviction, the decision is yours only. Is it not then nothing else but free will? The point I want to explain is this: This is the thing which even after knowing its underlying truth, you can't be free of. You have no control over it to modify it a bit... ...Are you ever going to be able to see your genetic and neurological patterns, and looking at all that tell what is going to be the course of all your decisions? No. You ARE, and WILL use free will when it comes to deciding something.


I have already understood your post and all the science-talk in it. So, the explanation you gave here is again of no use. My actual question is: This is the thing which even after knowing its underlying truth, you can't be free of. You have no control over it to modify it a bit. Then what's the point in holding on to it, apart from as an "intellectual curiosity", for knowledge? Just because that way we can elude responsibilities? I don't know, I can't help but believing I have a free will. That's logical to me. Not because I am unable to understand your science-talk, but because it does not serve any purpose.

What do you say?

Susan said...

A thought came to my mind. What if it was someone like Bin Laden or Dawood who was to be executed? I beleive my reaction would have been different. Probably i would have felt good about it. Ofcourse it would be a big blow in the face of terrorism but that would not be the only reason behind my feeling good. So is it the age that makes my reaction different in Kasab's case? Or is it the circumstances that Kasab was in? One can argue that Kasab is one of those who was provided the motives where as the other two probably "invented" the motives(this may also be arguable). It is ofcourse the feeling of hatred that makes one feel good to hear the execution of a person. Is feeling good about the execution of these men more justifiable? or is it the conditioning that makes one feel differently in the two cases? Intellectually may be we can argue but deep down would your reaction be the same in both the cases?

Harmanjit Singh said...

Intellectually may be we can argue but deep down would your reaction be the same in both the cases?

When I think of wanton offenders who repeatedly cock a snook at the law for personal grandiosity (say a corrupt politician, a manipulative godman, or a cruel police officer) my instinct is to see them severely punished. Their criminality is not ideological, and not even merely an aberration or a failing, but a blatant misuse of their intelligence/power/position to hurt those who expected them to behave better than most.

Terrorists like Kasab or the killers of Indira Gandhi I consider misled, who could not have gotten anything for themselves, but kind-of sacrificed themselves for a belief system or an earlier tribal injustice.

Susan said...

I agree, I would have similar feelings for a corrupt politician, godman and so on. True, they misuse their intelligence/power/position for their own benefit and to hurt those who expected them to behave better than most. But are we not creating a personal definition of morality here that may differ from person to person? We may probably assume that they are intellegent enough to understand what they are upto where as a misled terrorist is not. But can the same logic mentioned in the post not hold good for them as well? Did innocence not prevail in them ever? Are not the circumstances and the chemical composition of their brain the cause for their actions similar to any one else? Detering such people from causing any harm to the society by punishing them is fine since it is in the larger interest of the society. But is feeling good about their pain/suffering any different from the case of a misguided criminal? Is their pain not the same as any one else's?

Harmanjit Singh said...

We may probably assume that they are intellegent enough to understand what they are upto where as a misled terrorist is not. But can the same logic mentioned in the post not hold good for them as well? Did innocence not prevail in them ever? Are not the circumstances and the chemical composition of their brain the cause for their actions similar to any one else? Detering such people from causing any harm to the society by punishing them is fine since it is in the larger interest of the society. But is feeling good about their pain/suffering any different from the case of a misguided criminal? Is their pain not the same as any one else's?

Hmm...

The difference between them and Kasab is that Kasab was not acting for his own benefit but in a suicidal way which is (strange as it may seem) an act of altruism towards the anguished feelings of his own community. Even if it is assumed that he was brainwashed to believe in paradise after martyrdom, and that he was "greedy" for his own paradise, it can be clearly seen that he is a victim of that brainwashing.

The politicians etc. on the other hand, are not victims in any obvious sense and are blatantly misusing a position of power and trust.

Of course there might be a history to how that politician became such a manipulative exploiter from being an innocent child, but in the politician's case, the criminality seems part of his character, rather than an ideological imposition or a reaction to some past atrocity or anguish.

A politician is a mindful criminal, whereas Kasab I regard as a mindless one.

Once, many years back, I observed a piss-drunk man saying something filthy to a woman on the road, who was with her husband. The husband (perhaps to show his masculinity) beat the drunkard (who was helpless to defend himself in that state) black and blue while other people tried to stop him, telling him that the drunkard wasn't probably aware of what he had done.

I consider the drunkard in need of help, not in need of punishment.

On the other hand, a bunch of ruffians outraging/teasing/molesting a girl on the street should be (my instinct tells me) stripped and caned.

Susan said...

"The politicians etc. on the other hand, are not victims in any obvious sense and are blatantly misusing a position of power and trust."
....
"a bunch of ruffians outraging/teasing/molesting a girl on the street should be (my instinct tells me) stripped and caned."

Again I agree that my opinion would not differ much (based on my instincts :-) ). And I thought on similar lines as what is mentioned in your post after reading about people celebrating after the judgment. However the argument that I gave to myself (and what I interpreted from this post) was more generic than specific, something that could be applied to any person. But I do realize that my opinion is person based and would have been different had it been say some corrupt politician. And that brings the question - who defines the boundaries of morality. Is there any absolute morality. may be in absolute sense minimizing pain can be considered moral. But going by that any criminal should at max be stopped from causing harm to others (if required it could include a harsh punishment) but feeling good about it comes instinctively and may differ from person to person.

Thaths said...

WTF was wrong with the lead prosecutor? That idiot seemed to strut around in front of the press holding up a folder of some sort with a garish cover reminiscent of Boolywood movie posters.

See:

http://newsblogs.sulekha.com/albums/allphotos/slideshow/231988.htm

or

http://www.outlookindia.com/images/ujjwal_nikam_20070813.jpg

Anonymous said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7806005/Fay-Weldon-mass-murderers-are-insane-but-not-evil.html

Harmanjit Singh said...

A review of "Come and See" by Roger Ebert:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100616/REVIEWS08/100619989/-1/RSS