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Death sentence vs capital punishment

With reference to the editorial ‘Afzal Guru hanging’ (December 15), I would say that the moot point is whether the criminal be given death sentence or capital punishment. More than two-third of the countries in the world have abolished death penalty and rest are yet to finalise their view. Death penalty is an attack on basic human rights as it is not a remedy for the crime committed.

 Public opinion often supports retention of death penalty based on the erroneous view that it deters crime. It is generally accepted that people affected by the convict’s criminal act have a deep psychological and emotional investment in death penalty. Death penalty should be allowed only in exceptional circumstances as opined by the Supreme Court — when there is glaring evidence of one’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. But it can not be used as an effective law enforcement tool. However, in such cases, the option to plead in courts or a mercy petition to the President should not be there.



Raising a hue and cry about improving the law and order situation and at the same time showing leniency to murderers are two different things which do not go together. The President acts on the advice of the council of ministers in deciding clemency appeals. It is clear that the ministers wield more power than the President. If the ultimate decision is in the hand of the politicians, there is no need to undergo the judicial process upto the highest level. Let us amend rules with respect to capital punishment, so that the rule of the law prevails in the world’s largest democracy.


Sense & non-sense

This refers to the articles ‘Sense & Sensibility’ (December 13) by Ratna Ram and ‘Much ado about…..” by Mahesh Bhatt. It is obvious that a porn star and her promoters earn fast bucks by exhibiting a female body. Commerce and morality have always been at loggerheads, commerce has always won hands down.

India has always been known for its moral values and culture, about which Macaulay wrote back to his masters in England that this country’s strength lay in its culture. He wrote that unless their culture is wrecked in a systematic manner, it might be very difficult to rule India. The British did it to an extent by introducing an English education system. But post-liberalisation, we have wrecked it completely and irretrievably, within a span of a few decades.

Over-exposition of female body on TV or cinema, in a way amounts to visual prostitution. Commerce understands it fully well. It is not for nothing that Bhatt is yearning to make Jism-2 after Jism-1 and may go on making such movies ad infinitum. Irrespective of his standing in Bollywood, he had no qualms in visiting the ‘Big boss’ house to woo a porn star to sign up another of his porn laced project.

The thoughts and behaviour a pornographic reality show or a similar movie can produce is not hard to imagine. Bible says it succinctly that if someone commits a crime (say rape) in his mind, he is as guilty as the actual perpetrator of the crime.

The outrageous fights, abusive language and double meaning dialogues used frequently by the reality show stars do not augur well for young impressionable minds. The commercial goals of a few people have wrecked havoc with the generation of tomorrow’s nation builders.

The latter are getting addicted to vices unheard of till a few years ago, ruining many families in the process. Consequently, crime rate is shooting up. The comparatively well-off vocal sections of the society may not have any objection to the airing of saucy serials and raunchy reality shows, but there is a much larger section of society whose only property vests in their wards.


Poll freebies

This is in connection with news item ‘Free cycles scheme riding on bankrupt populism’ (December 15). Parkash Singh Badal’s illogical ‘Mai Bhago Vidya Scheme’, under which free bicycles were provided to girl students of classes XI and XII, is ill-conceived. The Punjab government is already cash- strapped and has failed to provide over one lakh bicycles to cycle suppliers.

The state is yet to pay more than Rs 21 crore for the cycles purchased under the scheme. Badal should not remain in the delusion that free cycles would bring him votes. Giving cycles with his photo adorning them and putting martyrs’ names and photos on the chain covers shall send a wrong message. In fact, a girl refused to take a free cycle finding the photo of martyrs on its chain cover as derogatory.


Redistributive tax

This is with reference to Jayshree Sengupta’s article ‘Growing economic inequality’ (December 14).She has suggested imposition of ‘redistributive tax’ to lessen inequality. In other words, the rich should be taxed more to lessen inequality.

The method is wrong and far too simplistic. By taxing more, nothing much will happen. When the government spends Rs 100 on the poor, only Rs 10 reaches them, the rest is misappropriated in the process. The best solution was advocated by late BK Nehru, an eminent bureaucrat and brilliant economist. He said we should emphasise on the maximisation of wealth in the country.

Policies of government should be so framed that there is accumulation of wealth in the country, the benefit of which will automatically trickle down to the poor. In government affairs, simplest things work the best.

The redistributive tax will add to the complication. I advocate BK Nehru’s approach whose policy will take time to bring results. There is no quick- fix formula to reduce inequality.


Surrogacy in birds

After reading the middle, ‘Birds of different feathers,’ by PC Sharma (Dec I3), I recall an interesting observation on parrots. I had two she-parrots. Though look-alikes, they were poles apart in their nature. Salma was a quarrelsome bird while Babita was very docile. As both did not get along well, they kept to themselves. But life is unpredictable. One day Salma laid eggs and she spread herself on them to hatch, never budging even a centimetre.

One day my husband offered her favourite nut, an almond. Unable to resist, Salma got up from her eggs and came to the edge of the big six-feet cage, to munch them. And behold Babita, Salma’s arch-enemy, instantly sat on her eggs. Ever since then, both Salma and Babita bonded beautifully. Was this perhaps the parrot world’s surrogate motherhood?




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