“Violence In The End Brutalizes All Who Resort To It”

December 19, 2012 at 9:15 AMDec (Activism, Media, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

Following the gang rape at Delhi the civilized society has responded in various ways from getting down to the streets, writing letters to the Chief Minister of Delhi and also by registering their protests on social networking site and demanding for severe punishments for the culprits. The punishments demanded, by many, have been castration and death penalty!

This demand for castration and death penalty, as I see, is an equally disturbing and disgusting demand as the rape. Hence at this point, even while I am in solidarity with protest against the gang rape and demand for server punishment for the culprits, I differ from the protesters for my consciousness doesn’t allow me to demand for punishments like castration and death penalty. This is no way means that I am asking law to forgive the culprits. No. They deserve to be punished and punished severely. But, I believe, we who like to believe that we are civilized wo/men should be able to see death penalty and castration as an equally violent act. The responsibility, at the face of an immense tragedy, is to not just demand for justice and punishment but also imagine a humane society for ourselves where all sort of rape and violence is non-existent.

Bertrand Russell in his book Political Ideals had said that creativity is triggered not by incentives after the work but by the creation of a certain kind of mental atmosphere. In a similar fashion a society where violence is absent can be created not by punishing the culprits and taming them through fear but by creating a humane atmosphere where there would be no trigger for violence.

I fail to understand the difference between the act of rape and the demand for death penalty and castration. The rapist thinks that the girl is “wrong” in her dressing or in her very being a girl and hence comes to believe that “it serves right” to be raped. The protesters think the rapist is “wrong” (which he undoubtedly is) and hence “it serves right” to be hanged. The police thinks its “wrong” to protest and hence “it serves right” to swing their canes in the name of lathi charge. The seeds of violence is the same in every mind, it appears, which takes different form and expressions. Our fight, at the face of a tragic event, is not just to protest against the rapists but also against the seeds of violence that is beneath the soil of all our minds. To fight this, must be the larger agenda, and for which punishing the rapists severely is a way but fighting these seeds of violence within us is also necessary, for the enemy is not violent people but violence itself and taking shelter in violence is no way to achieve the larger goal.

Harsh Mander puts it beautifully: “Violence in the end brutalizes all who resort to it- the oppressor and the oppressed.” While opposing the brutal gang rape, I feel, we shouldn’t let our sensitivity, sensibility and humanity to be raped and murdered  Our battle is not just against the rapists but its a battle for a better world too. So if we do not fight the seed of violence within us, its a failure, it appears to me. The real fight, at the face of the brutal gang rape and injustice, is to keep the humane element within us alive against the overpowering forces of death.

The call for castration and death penalty is the celebration of an inhumane law of ‘eye for an eye’ to counter the existing violence. But I subscribe to what one wise man, who walked in flesh and blood on this soil just a few decades ago, said- “eye for an eye and the world will go blind.”

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1 Comment

  1. Delhi Gangrape case: Punishment for Rapists - Death or Castration? | said,

    […] “Violence In The End Brutalizes All Who Resort To It” […]

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