Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Talwars and justice

What if the Talwars are innocent? Having seen the utter messy way in which CBI and the police handled the case, and the salacious way the media played it up, there are very good chances that they might be. And have been wrongly thrown into jail, with their lives messed up, torn and destroyed beyond repair. 

Not one person who has known them has said that they could have murdered their only daughter who they loved and adored,  and househelp Hemraj. 

An then of course, there is Avirook Sen's book Aarushi!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Now this judge wants to put a rapist in the house of a six year old girl!

The article in today's Indian Express  Madras HC judge gives bail to rape accused to ‘mediate’ with victim  is shocking. A judge of a Madras High Court actually wants a rape victim to marry the rapist and subject her to the torture of living with him for the rest of her life! 
And worse, he knows the woman has a six year old daughter as a consequence of that rape. Does the judge really think that the little girl will be safe with a rapist in her house? Why does he want to put the little girl in danger?
The judge talks of a concept called reconciliation. There are crimes where there cannot be any reconciliation and these are - murder, attempt to murder, sexual assault, rape, and acid attack among them. 
The brave woman in ‘One day, I’ll tell my girl her father was a rapist’ has asked that the judge cancel his order. She is quoted as saying: "Only those who live here and see my plight understand the kind of problems I have undergone… There are several ways to make money. But you can’t buy dignity. Isn’t this order, without seeking my opinion, now asking me to place my self-respect at the mercy of the man who raped me? How can I have a life with him? I can only request the top judge (Chief Justice) to cancel this order.” 
What was galling was a statement made by the judge about the woman: "She is not yet married. She is an unwed mother." So in his eyes placing her and the child with the rapist is a better option! God save the women of this country.  

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Raped, 24 weeks pregnant, abandoned by family, court denies permsission to abort

The Times of India had recently reported --
AHMEDABAD: Apr 7, 2015, 05.45AM IST A 24-year old woman, who is seven months pregnant from rape, has moved Gujarat high court seeking permission to abort her unwanted child.

Law, however, does not allow medical termination of pregnancy of over 20 weeks. Unable to allow the woman to abort her pregnancy, the court on Monday asked the state government how it could help if she delivers the unwanted child. Justice J B Pardiwala said a seven-month fetus has high survival chances and there is no question of taking life by allowing abortion.

The Surat-based woman was abducted from her village in Botad by seven people. Six months into the ordeal, she escaped. Freedom spelt more agony as she was 24 weeks pregnant and her husband and in-laws dumped her citing her pregnancy. Her own family also did not want her to have the child. Botad police too refused to register FIR and insisted on a compromise. 

For more -

What do you think should be done? Write in with your views.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Nuggets of Jain wisdom

Book review

Title: Rishabhayan: The Story of the First King
Author: Acharya Mahapragya
Translator: Sudhamahi Regunathan
Harper Element: An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Rishabhayan: The Story of the First King is a rare book of its kind.  Written by Acharaya Mahapragya, a respected Jain monk and scholar, it tells the story of Rishabha, the first King and its very first Tirthankara, and through it introduces the basic concepts of Jainism. The commentary provided by Sudhamahi Regunathan, former Vice Chancellor, of the Jain Vishwa Bharati University, who has also translated the work from Hindi to English, makes it an immensely readable book. Sudhamahi Regunathan puts the concepts into context to help the lay reader, or a student of religion and theology unravel the throes of the past and discover the gems Jainism has to offer.

How did the story of human life begin and progress? What was society like before what we term ‘civilisation’? How did punishment evolve? When did the concept of family take root? These are just some of the questions that the book answers, all in about 2000 very beautifully crafted verses.

Rishaba’s story is set almost 2500 years before Christ. Consider that Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara, was in the sixth century BC. A Tirthankara is a person who attains a state of enlightenment through meditation and conquers the cycle of death and rebirth. It is with the birth of Rishaba that society began to be organised, or put it in the Acharya’s words, it was the beginning of Indian civilisation.

The book is a mine of wisdom. You get introduced to the pillars of Jain thought --  non violence, non absolutism and non possession. You learn about anekanta or relativity that states truth is multi-dimensional, and forms the foundation of Jain philosophy.  

The verses deal with administration and governance of society. The Acharya writes that the underlying principle of governance is equality of all living beings.  A healthy society is one in which there is no shortage of wealth and materials, and yet their influence on people is also not overbearing.

Punishment was the first tool of administration. Initially remorse was enough to control people. Soon they grew thick skinned and direct admonishment had to be used. But crime could not be contained by admonishment for too long and then the third tool – reprimand came into effect, the Acharya explains.

Or sample this, in the Acharya’s elegant style: One should eat food as a bee draws nectar from a flower without harming it or as a cow grazes on the grass without uprooting it. It is only the donkey that uproots the entire plant!
Or this on longevity –

Lack of anger, lack of greed,
Mental peace, positive outlook, and
Balanced nutrition, these five potent
influences ensured longevity

The causes of a short lifespan are five:
Fear stress, passions high,
Imbalanced food and collective effect
Of all negative emotions and thoughts

The Acharya should know. He lived till 89 years and passed away recently.

Sudhamahi writes that translation has been challenging as she had to find synonyms for the philosophical terms and accommodate the adages and proverbs common in Hindi, Rajasthani and Sanskrit into a culturally different language. But she has done so with an elan matching the Acharya’s elegant style and the result is a treasure house capturing the journey of human society.

If you are fond of contemplating on life, or a poet, or a student of religion, the book is recommended for you.
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