Last week made me realize the rabid frenzy of the crowds in the colosseums of Rome. Gleeful debates on how to kill Kasab, why to kill Kasab and should we kill Kasab on TV channels seemed almost medieval. The complete lack of somberness or restrain while talking about taking a human life, even if its Kasab was shocking! It was as if a frenzied mod had been picked up from the streets and directly transported to the newsroom. Killing a human being is a grave matter and should not be taken lightly. After all we are supposed to be a little better then the Kasab clan.
The worst were the ones moralizing on why Kasab should or should not be killed. People were debating and galvanizing support for Kasab’s hanging much before the actual sentence was passed. The whole nation seemed to have decided that Kasab should be hanged. I have a few problems with such campaigns:
1. They expose us globally, on our lack of respect for the law in general. We did not wait for the courts to decide what should be done with Kasab. We were literally dictating the judgement the court should pass and god forbid had the judgement has not be to the liking of the, supposedly, the masses or the common man, I am sure we would have done a Kasab on judge Tehaliani. We only follow/support laws that suit our convenience.
2. They expose our increasing levels of civic and social in-tolerance esp. towards contrarian views. The media portrayed as if the entire nation was frothing over in demanding death for Kasab. Any one who argued otherwise was intellectually lynched (as I saw on some TV debates). Arnabh Goswami of Times now, wondered – why is this country so guilt ridden about capital punishment, the BJP spokes man literally asked the decenter to go die in Pakistan and was greeted with uncomfortable grows of approval. Dissenters were literally put in the dock and portrayed as criminals and much worse anti-national. I personally believe a large part of India does not believe in killing others no matter what. Media never showed the other view. There were hundreds of victims in the terror attack that Kasab unleashed, not all of them want Kasab’s death. However, the media selectively showed victims who believe hanging Kasab will bring closure to them.
3. And last but not the least the worst part about these campaigns is our justification for demanding death for Kasab. Justifications were of all kind – bringing closure to the victims, ridding the society of a potential security risk, revenge, its a deterrence, war against the nation, it is a terrorist act, we’ve given him a fair trail, not killing him will make the country a soft target, terrorist acts should be treated differently form other acts of killing, killing him makes much more sense philosophically and practicality, we’ve given him an excellent trial, etc. etc… I wish some one has said, Kasab should be hanged because it the law of our land because thats what its all about. Its not revenge, its not for closure, its not because 1 billon strong nation is scared of hi-jacking and hostage situations that Kasab should hang. He should hang because our law says so. Period.
But alas, since we have little belief in law the argument never occurred to any one. To hide their own guilt/discomfort, people think its important that the hanging needs to be justified by some sort of moral/political/metaphysical argument. No need.
People who believe Kasab should not be hanged, I am one of them, and capital punishment should be abolished should stop wining and work to get the law amended and pledge to lead by example. I hope I never have to, but if the time comes, I will not demand an eye for an eye, even if I my loved ones have been harmed by the Kasab types. Promise.