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December 13, 2017

December 21, 2015

Gandhi, law and emotions

by viggy — Categories: social — Tags: , , , Leave a comment

Two strand of thoughts have been in my mind for last one week. One is the popular news about the juvenile who raped Jyoti Singh (Nirbhaya) who is being released after completing three years in jail as what is prescribed by the law. The second thought was about more than half a century ago, the hanging of Nathuram Godse.
In the first case, as always, I had opinion opposite to most people who were thirsty for blood, who wanted him to be jailed for more time, probably forever. Their simple case was that it was dangerous to release him. Why? What exactly did he do on that day of incident? How exactly had he been for last 3 years? All this did not matter. They wanted blood and this was an easy case. For me personally it was never about the boy. I dont know his name or anything much about him. What mattered to me more was the kind of society that we were developing where 17 year old boys were becoming rapists. What led him to that path? In some news channel, I heard that the boy was on roads for 7 years away from his home, that means right at age of 10, he had been working, doing odd jobs.

I am not sure what exactly made me think of the Nathuram Godse’s hanging. But I kept thinking of how we had let down Gandhi by hanging his assassin. Wouldnt he himself suggested not to harm him had Gandhi been alive? This seemed to be first incident where we could make use of Gandhi’s teaching without his presence and we as a nation, just chose to ignore it. Now, more than 65 years of his death, no doubt that we have been making a mockery of all his teachings. This line of thought stayed with me for sometime.

But when I was thinking of the case of juvenile’s release along with Godse’s hanging, there seemed to two contradictory line of thoughts. In case of the juvenile’s release, I was looking at it from rule of law perspective and how since he had spent the stipulated time as per law, he had all rights to be released. However, in case of Godse’s hanging, I was looking at it from Gandhi’s perspective. However, when we look at rule of law, then in case of Godse, he did have to present his case in front of a court which then gave the judgement that he should be hanged till death.

So even if Gandhi would have been alive, there would have been no reason to not hang Godse, as that was the law at that time. Ofcourse, would Gandhi have intervened to make amendments to law such that death sentence would be abolished? I dont know. One of the popular reason, lot of left leaning intellectuals do not like Gandhi as much is because of the role he played in case of Bhagat Singh, hanging. Many believe that had Gandhi taken the issue up with the British government as a priority and asserted pressure, they could have been forced to release him or atleast not hang him and maybe give him life imprisonment.

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