14 August 2004

To want to die, yet have to live

Dhananjoy Chatterjee raped Hetal Parekh and killed her. He was hanged to death today many years later.

Is justice done?

Personally, I feel death is too easy an escape. He should have lived to regret it. To think how his life would have been if not for the heinous act. To beg for forgiveness and not get it. To see his daughter grow up into a woman (I don’t think he has one), and learn about him. To want to die, yet have to languish in prison.

The hangman said on TV that Dhananjoy showed no regret.

My closest friend once told me that the best punishment for rape would be to convert the man’s sex and make him a woman through some hormone injections or whatever, and let him know how it feels to be a woman. Because rapists generally are extreme versions of the Male Chauvinist Pig and take great pride in their masculinity. So why not unburden them of it? And the change, of course, should be permanent: he will be a woman all his life.

I admire my friend greatly for this idea, all the more so because he is a male.

Really, punishment should induce regret, not self-righteousness.

Also, isn’t death penalty going to make conviction all the more difficult?


poorni said...

hi Viju,
I would want to say just one thing about it. Although undergoing life imprisonment in jail would have been an ideal way of punishing him but I am of the opinion that such culprits will never learn a lesson until they are made to undergo the same kind of agony what they did to others. If I were to decide, I would have ordered to kill him brutally making him undergo the torture for a long time. He must undergo the same torture what the innocent girl underwent. Infact given a chance he should be physically abused for almost a year or so and then be tortured to death unlike awrding death to him so easily. Although it sounds irradical but this is what I felt.

Vijayalaxmi said...

If women are angry, they have a right to be so.

sushumna said...

hi vij
oftentimes, we think that justice is possible. here is what I think... THERE IS NO JUSTICE. this is not some pessimism at all.

in fact, LAWS do not help prevent atrocities ...on women or whosoeverelse...THE PUNISHMENT that they have the power to confer is only beacuse THE STATE IS NOT TO BE DEFIED. A RAPE is no violence on the woman, according to the State, a rape is only a violation of the State's authority.

there is another fact, I must tell you...91%of the people hanged so far in INdia are dalits.

the state's violence to me more horrifying than any other.

recently, a film festival in BAngalore faced so much police presence.....I was terrified by the experience.

will write again

Anonymous said...

punishment as a deterrent can solve( read as prevent) very few ,if at all any, of the sexual crimes.But punishment HAS to be given, not to induce regret( a wasteful intent in my opinion) but as justice to the victim.solace to the victim. Should the victim be given the freedom to choose the punishment? an unrealistic idea, but an idea neverthless. its not the punishment for rape we should be concentrating upon..its the fact that only a fraction of rape cases reach the judiciary, which should be the prime concern. its glad to know that dhanonjoy got punished at all. what about the hundreds more that roam free?
nice blog viju - suhas

Sham said...

It is difficult to apply Gandhiji's morale here (I just read your posting on Gandhi.. and I see a striking difference. An almost opposite view.)
I can not judge whether you are right or wrong.. but this basically is an eye for an eye. People should understand that the crimes they do are bad. But, if people are just afraid of the punishment they are going to get for their crimes, it does not stop them from committing the crime. They would worry more on how to avoid the punishment rather than thinking about the crime itself. Changing their minds is difficult for which I do not have a solution. But, the solution you suggest is not for the cause but for the effect of the crime.

Basically, barbarianism (you have to agree, this is) works, (albeit ruthlessly) but if the answer for an act of barbarianism is more barbarianism, then I suppose there is no meaning for the term justice. We can plainly call it revenge.

I do agree that death to a rapist is not the most effective punishment. But what has been suggested here is way too cruel.. almost as cruel as the crime that this person committed.

Vijayalaxmi said...

I never said that the punishment for rape deserves to be less cruel than what it already is. What I suggested was an innovative and I would say, feminist way of punishment.

Anonymous said...

hi vij,
what could be a "feminist punishment"?
recently, INdira Jaising was on TV saying that punishment for rape is a different question than what is made out to be, because we would then have to punish husbands who commit rape. What would justify a different punishemnt for rape outside marriage and that which is marital rape.

Vij, O V Vijayan wrote a story some years ago. IN the story a school girl who is raped comes home and tells her mother about it. the mother listens and tells the child to wash herself because her clothes are dirty and to come down for dinner and then do homework.
the story was banned....that is where patriarchy lies, look at how "feminism" in this story contests.

by glorifying the fact of rape as important, we only make the woman into what she is not. Nothing ends because a rape was committed. A woman, for real or not, is not her vagina, definitely not a hole that satisfies man.

Praveen Bhat said...

One of the ideas of punishment, as I understand it (Indian law is supposedly based on the Manu smriti), is to stop the person from commiting more crimes. Keeping Dhananjoy behind bars would've been like risking more such happenings! Also, all this seems only possible if the jails are empty to suck in tax-payers money. While thats not true in India, capital punishment for such heinous crimes is the only solution. Even so for the murderers, terrorists, etc. The only people that need to be kept behind bars are the ones with smaller crimes like thefts, peddlers, people who don't pay fines, etc... hmmm, too ideal!

Although the suggestion your friend gave seems befitting, I don't think that punishment for a rapist is to convert his sex and awarding him the status of our mothers or sisters... the person deserves to be made eunuch.