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To castrate or not to castrate…

Appropos Khushwant Singh’s column Rapists deserve castration ( May 14), I am also tempted to suggest my own prescriptions since all Indians are, after all, doctors. A large number of sex offenders begin as ‘Peeping Toms’ before committing even more serious crimes like rape. The rapist is also known to be retaliating for the perceived wrongs that he feels were inflicted on him by women, who could be mother, teacher, wife or a girl friend.

 Their motive is often revenge and punishment and many rapists also kill their victims. But though punishment degrades and brutalises those who punish and those who are punished, punishment does not seem to deter criminals. In the United States, a vast majority of offenders in prisons and reformatories are frequent visitors as they repeat their crime. Few, if ever, are known to have been reformed. If castration is preferred to sending rapists to mental hospitals, should one also prescribe then the sterilisation of all serious psychiatric patients ?

— Aditya Narain Chopra Kurukshetra


I fully agree with the views of Khushwant Singh. The Union Government should not delay this matter and enact necessary legislation at the earliest to prescribe castration as punishment for rapists. There needs to be a deterrent which will prevent the rapist from repeating the crime. Otherwise the only punishment left will be Capital Punishment.

— Subhash Taneja Rohtak


One is shocked at the observation made by such a forward looking writer like Khushwant Singh. The barbaric punishment he prescribes for rapists was given in medieval times and is in line with chopping of hands for theft. The aim of punishment ought to be to reform the criminal and not to make him permanently disabled. The punishment will also be unfair because the rich and the powerful will escape conviction by hiring good lawyers while the poorer offenders will not be able to even put up a credible defence. I am reminded of emperor Shahjehan’s daughter, Jahanara, who wrote, “ Man has no right to deprive an individual what is given to him by God; castration is a sin before man and God.” The very idea of castration is repugnant to all norms of justice and equity.

— V.P. Mehta Chandigarh


I fully endorse Khushwant Singh’s view that rapists, once their offence is proved, ought to be castrated. It will also act as a deterrent because men dread being robbed of their manhood, virility and masculinity.

The fact is that the prevailing laws and punishment have failed to work. The incidence of rape is by all accounts rising . The laws provide a long and time-consuming trial and, more often than not, the culprits succeed in dodging the long arm of the law. The punishment accorded, in the rare cases where the prosecution succeeds in securing conviction, is also disproportionately inadequate. Exemplary punishment like castration appears to have become imperative.

— Tarsem S. Bumrah Batala

Growing old  gracefully

Appropos A relationship to cherish ( April 9 ), in 1951 Britain had three hundred people aged over 100 years—-by 2031, it will have 34,000. Officially, the elderly are said to be those who are above the age of 65 and such people constitute 3.4% of the population in India and 14.5% in England. The elderly need to remain busy and “ add life to years and not merely years to life”. As a doctor, I keep prescribing a good night’s sleep for longevity. Contrary to popular belief, the need for sleep is not reduced with age. The elderly must feel that they are wanted, needed by others and are useful to society. They also need to remember the lives of people like Nirad Chaudhry, who lived for over a 100 years in UK, Bernard Shaw, Annie Besant and many others who lived a full and busy life beyond the age of 100. There is no reason why more people in our own country cannot live beyond a century.

— Dr Avtar Narain Chopra Kurukshetra



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