Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Is Punishment a solution?

Salman Khan has been sentenced to five years in jail over the killing of a homeless man in a 2002 hit-and-run incident in Mumbai. Indian judge DW Deshpande found Khan guilty of culpable homicide after driving his Toyota Land Cruiser into a group of homeless men sleeping rough in suburban Mumbai after spending the evening in an upmarket bar. One man was killed and several others were injured in the accident.....

I heard the news and saw the way people are passing their own judgement over it, and are busy posting it on FB.... and everybody is liking the post...

Somehow I am pained about the entire thing.  
What has happened to our sensitivities?
Are we too judgmental?
Are we unwilling to forgive?
Do we believe in giving someone a chance?
Where is our tolerance?

These are some questions floating around in my head. I sure don't want to be opinionated, but I am wondering if punishment is a solution. It is a big question mark for me.

This is not just in reference to Salman Khan, but to a whole lot of people out there who are serving sentences in the prison, or going through some sort of punishment, be it by the legal system, or by an institution, a society, or even a sect or family.

This is also about the addicts, the abusers, the less successful, the highly successful, underprivileged, the elite, the obese, compulsive liars, the dark skin, the famous.... and the list can go on.

As a society, as humanity, where are we heading? 

I am not by any chance saying that all these are not issues for us at large. Of course they are major issues that need to be addressed. Punishment at best is a way to evade the issue rather than addressing it. It is truly a way to discard people, as if no one cares.

However small, or big the crime may be, the wrongdoing may be, punishment is definitely not a solution. When a verdict is given, and punishment of whatever intensity is meted out, it indicates that we think these people are beyond correction. We are excluding them. By putting them behind bars and punishing them, we are giving up on them, and giving up on ourselves too. It reflects badly on our capability, and the capability of our systems as well.

I seriously think the judiciary system across the world needs to go through a complete revamp. It would rather be better to have rehab centres, where people are sent with a hope to reform, learn and come out as better humans.

Can we truly care for them?
Can we be compassionate towards them, and let them know we believe in them?
Can we own up to them, and treat them like our own children, siblings, loved ones?
Can we stop being dictatorial and harsh?

Giving punishment, not listening, not giving a chance, etc. are some of the things that are responsible for creating terrorists and extremists.....

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