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Should Gandhi's India support the death penalty for Kasab?

by Avinash Subramaniam  Aug 30, 2012 12:41 IST

#26/11   #Ajmal Kasab   #InMyOpinion  

Most people in India are aware of the quote about how an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not Mahatma Gandhi’s; it’s something the author of ‘Life of the Mahatma,’ Louis Fischer came up with to explain Gandhi’s views on non-violence.

What’s ironic, and tragic, is that the country that blessed the world with the Mahatma and his philosophy condones, and in many cases, cheers capital punishment. Honestly, where’s the sense in hanging a suicide bomber? Isn't that exactly what Ajmal Kasab wants? Furthermore, post this, won’t he be remembered by his ilk as a martyr and turn out to be a source of inspiration to others who want to be like him?

Ujjwal Nikam, special public prosecutor at the Bombay High Court, during Kasab's trial demands death penalty for him. Reuters.

There are those who will say sending Kasab to the gallows will prove to the world that India is not a soft state. Really, does hanging one morally deficient man make this country stronger? No, it doesn’t.

It just demonstrates to the bad guys that India is weak and can’t do much more than ‘murder’ a minion of extremism. Executing the fool is not going to stop forces inimical to this country from lining up to find other ways to try and ‘suicide bomb’ it time and again.

Actually, this is exactly what ‘jehadis’ like Kasab and company want. They have been brainwashed into believing that killing ‘Hindu kafirs’ and getting killed while doing so is the most pious way to get to heaven, where a thousand million virgins will be waiting to serve them and take them even higher … or some such brainless higher calling.

You can be sure Kasab is not crushed by the prospect of death at the hands of the Indian state. He knew that is exactly what lay in store for him when he decided to take that boat on the way to bombing Mumbai. Stopping the likes of Kasab from doing many such ‘Kasabesque’ deeds is going to take a lot more work … very hard work, which the Indian state is unwilling to and incapable of doing.

No wonder, the powers-that-be have resorted to the easy option of a populist hanging to quiet the mob mentality that has taken hold of most of us, in recent times, in the face of so many things wrong about this land that we seem unable to find any proper way to set right.

“For centuries the death penalty, often accompanied by barbarous refinements, has been trying to hold crime in check; yet crime persists,” said Albert Camus, the father of Abdurdism. You can be sure that until we truly introspect on the reasons we have such an antagonistic relationship with our neighbours, not just Pakistan, we will be forced to console ourselves with pyrrhic victories like the one we are about to witness, and cheer like barbarians. If Mahatma Gandhi were alive, I seriously doubt he’d be proud to be known as the ‘Father’ of this nation.