Why the Delhi rapists should not be hanged

The shameless and cynical Manmohan Singh government has found an easy way out to appear strong, deflect attention from its failures and save itself from the opposition’s questioning. Just hang a death row convict before every Parliament session! It is very likely that if the 16 December Delhi rape-and-murder accused are placed on death row by this time next year, the UPA government will hang them just in time for the 2014 general elections.

I am opposed to death penalty in principle, and there are good reasons why so many democracies have abolished death penalty. But even if you do not agree that death penalty should be abolished, please consider why it should not be applied to the five accused in this case.

About a month ago I visited the Ravi Das “camp”, a slum colony near RK Puram where four of the six accused lived. I met the mother of one of them. Champa Devi’s son Vinay Sharma was the first to plead guilty and say he should be hanged; his father agreed on television.
I sat with Champa Devi and asked the neighbourhood boys to leave us alone. A group of women, young and old, surrounded Champa Devi and me.

Vinay was the light of the family. He was pursuing a B.Com degree, worked at a gym, and waited tables at parties to supplement his income. The first and most important thing Champa Devi wants me to know is that they are extremely poor. She didn’t have to say it, it’s visible. Her family arrived at this slum colony for a better life. Like most slums in Delhi this is hidden from the city’s middle class view.

They did get a better life as compared to their village. Her husband is a construction labourer who sells balloons on days when he has no work. At least they were able to give their son and two daughters an education. Vinay, the eldest child, was their big hope to lift them out of poverty, to help save the money needed to for the marriage of his two sisters. One of the sisters suffers from acute diabetes and takes insulin injections daily. You can look at the deformities on her face and tell.

The women of the neighbourhood start speaking, as Champa Devi looks down with shame and sorrow. The women want you to empathize with the mother of a man whom protesters in the city have wanted to be hanged at India Gate.

“Look, Ram Singh the driver and his brother Mukesh who also lived here, were bastards,” said one of the women. “They never did something like this before but they were always the bad guys. That evening they persuaded two more from here, Vinay and a fruit-seller, Pawan, to come along for a joy ride. They were unwilling but Ram and Mukesh persisted.”

“They did all kinds of scandals,” said Champa Devi about Ram and Mukesh, disagreeing that this was their first such. Of her son, she said, “He was a happy young man. Everything was going right for him. He had just returned from the village where we got him engaged.”

“He was such a sweet boy he distributed sweets to all of us,” said a neighbour. “He was so looking forward to getting married,” said another neighbour.

When the parents met Vinay in jail they said he was full of guilt and shame and wanted to be hanged. “He feels that guilt and admits it only because he was not that sort of a person. He wasn’t Ram Singh,” Champa Devi said.

“No woman, nobody, ever complained to me even in a dream that my son had harassed a woman. As a woman I was extremely saddened to hear what happened to that girl. I prayed for her to live. I can’t believe my son was part of this,” she said and started sobbing. “Even Ram Singh was very nice with all the women in the camp,” added a neighbor.

For all their insistence that the men of the area – including the four accused – were “always respectful towards women” – not one of the eight women gathered around said they had not faced domestic violence.  “Thora bohot aadmi log ka haath tou lag jaata hain,” said one. As if men’s hands were naturally made to beat women.

We were then joined by a young woman with books in her hand, preparing for her high school exam, wearing a pair of jeans rather than traditional clothes. “Men do pass lewd comments when I walk to school,” she said, “but I ignore them and have never faced a major problem.”

The other women now started to debate the issue. “It is not just about men but also about their parents who should give them the right values and control them,” said one.

“Have you seen how women in Delhi wear short skirts and sit so tight with their boyfriends on motorcycles as though they are going to devour them?” asked another. When pointed out that this was no reason why anyone should rape women, she said, “You should have seen what happened here after the incident. The news TV crews standing here just started staring at a girl with her boyfriend and trained their cameras at them. Men will be men, women should know how not to attract attention.”

“Women and men are equally responsible,” said one, “The street dog bites you only if you tease it.” When pointed out that this was not the case on 16 December – the bus was soliciting passengers with the intention of doing what the six men did – they said it was an aberration.

“Women are bound by brothers, husbands and fathers,” said another. By now we were into a full-fledged debate with everyone speaking together. The women who were blaming women were louder. They suggested that women who make it apparent that they make their own choices in life – such as wearing Western clothes or being seen with a man they are not married to, are ‘asking for it’. “There was a time when young women wouldn’t be out even with their brothers lest they be mistaken to be with boyfriends,” said one. “But these days…”

The young woman in jeans, now joined by another young woman student, politely disagreed. “Men have to do something about themselves,” she said. “Why should boys have all the freedom? Why should they pass lewd comments on the road at a woman who said nothing to them?”

A middle-aged woman, dressed in a traditional saree, supported the young student. “Nobody rapes a man who comes home at 2 am,” she said.

“That is how it is,” someone replied, “Even if a woman becomes a top bureaucrat in our society she is still seen as a woman.”

The middle-aged woman had a solution: all the men should be chained at home and women should go out to earn a wage. I endorsed the idea. Champa Devi broke her silence at this, taking the joke seriously and disagreeing vehemently. “There is a line between men and women and it should be respected like the India-Pakistan border,” she said, raising her eyes towards me, “If you think society should thus be re-ordered why don’t you take the lead and change roles with your wife?”

I laughed, and then we all went back to realising the tragedy that has befallen this slum of dreams. Champa Devi thinks about her son and the thought that his body will be brought dead one day to satisfy the ‘collective conscience of the nation’. She gave him birth and saw him grow like a tree, she said. And to think…

The woman that the six killed was similarly the hope of another set of migrant parents. She too deserved mercy. And she certainly deserves justice. As I returned home from the Ravi Das slum I kept wondering if death penalty for these men is really going to do justice to the woman they killed. That even the women of the Ravi Das Camp share patriarchal ideas about men and women pointed me towards the thought that the ‘collective conscience of society’ was what produced their barbarism.

Despite the huge public movement against the incident, gang-rapes have happened again in this city. Hanging the men will not deter rapists who know that this would be an exception, that the conviction in rape cases is going to remain low. Bus drivers will still be able to commit crimes inside the bus because hanging the five rapists is not going to end the sort of corruption in Delhi Traffic Police which lets private buses do what they like on the roads.

The public outcry we have seen against rape should not mean that while so many get away, these five men get hanged (the sixth is a minor). There are others who have committed rape and murder and whose death sentences have been commuted into life. Why should these five men not get similar mercy? Just because their act attracted public attention?

Hanging the rapists is going to end their lives, and with it their agony. Keeping them in jail is going to effectively end their lives, too, and Champa Devi will have to support her two daughters without Vinay’s earnings anyway. But at least she will not have to see her son dead. I wonder how we can reduce violence in society by answering it with violence. If instead we answer it with mercy, we will be a more humane society, earning mercy in return.

To reduce and prevent sexual crimes, India doesn’t need to hang rapists, strangulating them with the drop of a noose. India instead needs to get its cynical, manipulative and insensitive government implement the excellent Justice JS Verma report. That will also be the best tribute and the biggest act of justice to the brave woman who inspired the report.

(First published in Rediff)

68 thoughts on “Why the Delhi rapists should not be hanged”

  1. I agree with you. It’s time to implement the Verma Committee’s recommendations rather than fast-tracking death sentences with unadulterated political motives.


  2. this article gives the views of a mother about his son, almost all mothers say good things abt their sons… the other two being the villans of the colony, “Ram Singh the driver and his brother Mukesh who also lived here, were bastards”,but when these bastards called vinay sharma went with then and when they raped the girl, he also joined.. i cant understand what the author is trying to justify. when i was a small child, nad commit mistakes i used to out blame on my friends, is the rape something like a childhood prank, which easily can be blamed on friends..


  3. This is by far the worst, most incoherent set of arguments against capital punishment that I have ever had the misfortune to read. And I’ve long been an anti-death penalty proponent myself. Surely Mr. Vij could have cobbled together a more convincing affirmation by familiarising himself with well-established sociological and penological works.


  4. Totally disagree!!
    The kind of barbarism that was shown on the girl who got raped cannot be answered at all with mercy just because he was the “light of his family”. That girl too was an imp part of a family. Such psychos cannot understand and will definitely won’t value the clemency.
    They must be given as severe punishment as possible that it scares the shit out of people who even think of doing anything like this to anyone.


    1. Absolutely right, Anshika. I have never managed to understand this overwhelming sympathy wave for rapists-terrorists-dowry killers, the long newspaper columns dedicated to their ‘suffering last moments’. The sympathisers should take a moment to think about the ‘moments’ suffered by the victims. Attempts to hardsell a “no death penalty” line through this kind of soppy biased reporting should be dismissed out of hand.


  5. Death sentence to rapist can not be treated with such emotional stories. There are exception to each rape case & by and large criminal minded person take jail terms for few years if are caught, there is no deterrence. Mrs. Campa Devi can not expect that her son will be made free so that he can earn again for his family. If Mrs. Champa Devi’s son was such a good boy why he get lured with such criminal act & get associated with such devils?


  6. Absolutely disgusting !!! I think the people who think on similar lines as expressed above need to be hanged without even trial. This country neither need Justice verma’s report nor democracy. Why hanging only those rapists ?? Why not their family members ?? Specially their parents need to be hanged publicly for not being able to make them better citizens. Government has done better than expected, why give so much importance to justice verma ?? How could a rapist be juvenile ? Immediate hanging is the only answer for all. If a juvenile can have an organ erect enough to rape, he must be put to appropriate consequences.


  7. While I usually like whatever you write, Shivam, this is one your worst columns. And as Ronin very rightly says, you’ve given the most incoherent set of arguments against capital punishment.


      1. Are you serious about this? For real? Every criminal’s mother praises her son easily blaming everything and everyone around him. I read the full article thrice and even then no justification could be found. Just not expected!


      2. Of course I read the entire column! Why else do you think I said your arguments make no sense? The build up in humanising Vinay Sharma is quite fantastic and it has a certain flow. But your conclusion falls totally flat. I expected much better from you.


  8. Utter crap! Mercy to the hideously guilty is crime to the victim. Make an example ot of the four. Their cruelty was barbaric. Scare people into being civilized. This is the most effective short-term solution to ending rape.


  9. Shivam. I did read the full article. I have consistently campaigned agaqinst Death Penalty and have been called all sorts of names, plus being routinely asked what would I do if it was my daughter (I do have one, aged 22). But I have to agree that this was incoherent. Your conclusion, which I am also campaigning for, does not flow out of the rather incoherent narrative.


  10. While I am ambivalent towards capital punishment, I believe that where there is conclusive evidence against those charged in heinous crimes, they should be put down right away. I cannot abide spending my tax money keeping people alive in state run prisons who have caused such harm to society & are now completely lost to us.
    There are far quicker & by far more merciful ways to end the life of murderers & rapists than the way the 6 accused ended the life of the victim.

    If someone wants to set up a private fund & keep the rapists alive so that they can live out their miserable lives contemplating what they did *without ANY access to the rest of society*, go for it.

    Also, it’s interesting to note that you make no mention of the extremely poor, underprivileged men from conservative backgrounds who do NOT rape & continue to live within the law regardless of how severely “tempted” or “righteous” they may be. What a disastrous example we would be setting for them by letting the rapists get off with life!


  11. I recently read an article in the newspaper about a rape convict after being let off raped another girl. This was about a month back. I don’t agree/disagree with your arguments as you are taking a particular view, in this case of a mother whose son might be hanged, but I do know that if the convict had been hanged or life imprisoned, an innocent life could have been saved. I am not a proponent of Capital Punishment but if it helps save innocent lives, I would not think twice.


  12. Anne (not real name here) , a young Ammerican girl, a century ago was one of many. She took up a Job in one of the factories in order to resource furtherance of her education. One week-end she was called-in to work overtime. That day she was raped by the influenced and rich official. Upon reaching home , the occurrance was narrated to the people. The town elders tried their best to bring the perpetrator under till, but the influences worked better. the tying circumstances of the case, in the mean time, took toll of the young lady. The perpetrator bought the black security Agent of the factory to confess to the Act and it appeared whole thing had been swept under the Carpet and finished.

    In the end the Elders of the Town gathered and decided to perform People’s Justice, they set-up a peoples’ court and rounded up all in the Failed Justice loop. They asked the Security Agent the truth, who in turn made the solemn declared Confession, following which all of the story opened in its true version. The tribunal awarded the death sentence to real perpetrator in a make shift arranged Court in the open. The award of sentence was carried out with a rope hung on a near-by tree . the Justice was finally served. The system, since than is called peoples’ prosecution, people prosecutors, peoples’ Court and so on , with very little flaw. Peoples’ Jurists, peoples’ courts “Bravo ”

    “In hope of influences free Justice System”


  13. While death penalty may not deter rapists, I am not certain if implementing the Justice Verma recommendations into the Law would either. While I fully support these recommendations and remain agnostic on the question of death penalty, the benefit of hindsight that this column produces, urging us to consider the humanity of Vinay’s family, seems to be a form of emotional manipulation. Certainly, Vinay’s family circumstances are extenuating and his mother wouldn’t like to see his dead body. It’s a fairly sound, progressive argument in principle, to not respond to violence with more violence. But to defer this question to another absolute, to say, grant mercy is where this liberal imagination reaches its limit. How should mercy be shown? What form might it take? Is sparing the person’s life enough? This is a complex question that cannot be resolved by simply pointing us to the suffering of Vinay’s family or anyone else’s for that matter.


    1. I have some reservation on blanked ban on death penalty. There are 2 aspect in murder and/rape committed by a person. If murder is done by criminal, may be out of gratification either to earn money or by rape just to hide the evidence so that further crime can be committed, such people should not be spare from Gallo. Unless perpetuity of such could be established by proper investigation, a person should not be spare from death penalty. When one criminal can murder some one cold blood why society can’t enforce law to punish him with death?


  14. I don’t know who you are (I mean how big- saw many RTs in twit !!). Pardon my bluntness but let me just put it out bluntly. You talked about a mother of a convict who says “no hanging”?; agreed !
    Then you talk about the patriarchy prevailing by manifesting it in a society. Practically!! Well done
    But then; I can be sued if I imply the other way; you say about a rape and murder; Well its “the rape and murder”. You seem to be too weak to get so let me just emblamize. You killed with a cyanide is one and you killed with just fu**ing pulling each sensitive part of your body is other!


  15. Kafila is really losing its sense of rationalism in pursuit of its image as a liberal news site. Do you mean to say Vinay is a sweet boy who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time? To make it clear, he raped a girl. And then watched as an iron rod was inserted in her body by her friends. Then, was on-board to crush the girl under the bus. Spare us your pseudo-intellectual liberalism. Hang 10 rapists, and then observe how fear of death will deer future rapists.


  16. My hope from Justice Verma report, if implemented, would only be in its role as partly deterrent, partly remedial, but still primarily directing a more effective recourse after sexually violent crime. What we need to address are the more fundamental values of rights in homes, educational discourses and society so that crimes against half the human race do not happen – even in imaginations.


      1. You are free to oppose the death penalty, but pro-lifers like you should try to occasionally support their incessant carping with some logic. Tell us, exactly how have do these six rapists – and so many others like them violating children and women of all ages – retain their right to life? When you talk about “hanging human beings”, do you even understand what a human being is – it is not just a creature that walks on two legs. Rapists are not human, or even animals (that is an insult to animals); they are just toxic garbage that needs to be cleaned up immediately.


        1. Isn’t the point of all rights, Sanchita, that people continue to RETAIN these rights despite what they do? That these are fundamental rights? And ‘fundamental’, not in the sense of being constitutional, but essential to people’s understanding of humanity? You can’t call people toxic garbage– that’s just the point.


  17. I’m not sure I agree with the author myself but I find that the comments here seem to be missing the point largely. Shivam is not saying “Oh look, the mother is saying her son isn’t the type and therefore he shouldn’t be hanged.” or “Oh he comes from a poor background therefore he shouldn’t be hanged”. I think the point of this post is to show that the perpetrators are humans too. They too had stories, they too had people they interacted with, but for whatever reasons they chose to do what they did. If we appreciate the fact that for all their wrongs, they too had mothers, they too have a societal background, and that they too are part of this society and maybe even part of this “collective conscience”, it may be easier for us to see that the demand for death penalty is also an extreme position we are taking.

    That said, the demand for capital punishment in any case should always be seen as an extreme. In no case is it natural. In moments of shock, we might be pushed to think that death would be the only way to satisfy the needs of justice in a particular case. We need to pause and think in those moments to see if our decision to send a person to the gallows is not a whim or passing emotion.

    There is nothing about rape I know now that I didn’t know last December. If before the Delhi gangrape you had asked me if rape should be a capital offence, I would have said no. If you asked me if rape which leads to the death of victim should be a capital offence, I would probably have said that it depends upon the facts and circumstances. I am as shocked by this incident as the next person, but I see no reason to change my view on the magnitude of punishment that the perpetrators of such a crime deserve.


    1. Mr. Voyeur,
      We are fully equipped to interpret what the author is saying and no one is missing the point here. If you read the whole thing and then look at the conclusion, you might notice that it simply does not follow. What’s the point of humanizing those who’ve committed a really heinous crime? Please remember that these protests and their demands were not a “whim” or “passing emotion”. We are easily able to talk about this intellectually because this happened to someone else. Once an experience that brutal enters the realm of the personal, your or mine, let’s see how many of these liberal, intellectual arguments fly.


      1. You support what I say Mr. Jay. If it happened to me, I would look at it from a biased view point and demand death unthinkingly. Therefore, if it happened to me, the ultimate decision of punishment to the perpetrators would not be with me but with the judicial and legal system.


  18. I am totally against capital punishment. When I read the title of this article, I really expected something more relevant and convincing. But I was disappointed.

    You say they shouldn’t be hanged. Agreed.
    But why? Because others haven’t been hanged? Ridiculous. What he did is barbaric. His mom loves him and Jyoti’s loved her too. But that did not stop him from killing her.
    Why shouldn’t they be hanged? Because others who have committed the same crime are still alive. My dear friend, this analogy is same as ‘an eye for eye’, and it shall make the nation blind.

    The media has sensationalised the issue I agree, but it’s because of them many people have finally gathered the courage to voice against such inhumane acts.
    I am no expert in how the legal procedure works. I don’t even know what should be done with these 6 men but I know one thing, death penalty is not the solution neither are your suggestions,



  19. Oh God Shivam!!! What is up with you?? It looks like you are saddened at the thought of a mother losing her only son and because you met her in person and saw her plight for yourself, you wouldn’t be able to detach yourself from her loss and thus, you are trying to justify to yourself, more than anyone else, that they should not be hanged!! And, sorry to say, but this incoherent set of arguments was just not expected from you. Yes, I read the entire article thrice with increasing levels of bewilderment.. For a writer of your brilliance and clarity of thoughts, this incoherent and self-contradictory set of arguments is not acceptable!!

    I, myself, have had doubts about death penalty even though the anger I feel at their deeds is beyond words!! First of all, not hanging them does not have to be the equivalent of mercy. The only reason I would not want them to be hanged is because it would incentivise other such criminals to kill their victims and get rid of all evidence. I do not feel any mercy for them. I do feel sorry for the family who lost their source of income and I hope that his sister finds appropriate sources of funding for her treatment. But, let this be known that his sister is better off without a brother like that!!

    Secondly, like a lot of people have commented, no woman thinks of her son, and especially her son, as someone who is of a loose character. And when the entire nation is angry at that son of hers, she must feel an even more need to protect him… but we cannot feel sorry for that son who committed a crime as ghastly as this!! We cannot feel mercy for a man who played a part in torturing a woman for 45 minutes!! And so what if he has pleaded guilty?? Every mother is going to say that her son is not that kind of a man! Even if we believe for a moment that he is not “that kind of a man”, did he not realize even once in those 45 minutes of what he was doing??? And if the other guys were “bastards”, why did she let her son hang out with them??

    Like MK commented, there is one thing to kill a person with cyanide and totally another to kill them by inhuman torture like these rapists did!! I do not want them to be hanged because like you said, that will release them of the remorse, if they feel any, and agony.. hanging is too easy a punishment for them!

    And please tell me that you don;t believe that the sixth accused is a minor!! It was a mockery of an age-test and any self-respecting and justice-seeking individual should protest against it and ask the govt. to use bone-test instead!! Besides, even if he is under 18 years of age, he should be tried like any other adult. If he is capable of committing a crime like that, he should not be treated as a juvenile!!

    Really sorry for the super-long comment.


  20. “That even the women of the Ravi Das Camp share patriarchal ideas about men and women pointed me towards the thought that the ‘collective conscience of society’ was what produced their barbarism.”

    A poignant reality and one that goes amiss among all the media frenzy and public outrage.


  21. Eye for an eye tooth for a tooth.

    Does that make us more civilized ?

    Abolish death penalty in India now.

    Revenge politics are the politics of political goons and weak minds.


  22. In USA death penalty is legal. The population of USA is 5% of the world population yet the prisoner population of USA is 25% of the world prisoner population. Clearly it does not deter Americans from committing crime, all sorts of crime(s)


  23. Seriously Shivam Vij??? Seriously????
    I am against the death penalty and hope like you that the JVC recommendations will be taken seriously but this is BS!
    I mean I appreciate your empathy for the poor mother and all that. But really… you want to offer this as your “reasoned” argument against the death penalty.
    Not up to your usual standards.


  24. This is a courageous post by Shivam Vij — he should be applauded for it. Nobody — I mean NOBODY — is exempt from empathy and humanity. By denying the humanity of the rapist, we are trying to exonerate ourselves in a way — as if to say, WE, the SELF-RIGHTEOUS, are incapable of ever committing such an act — and it is only our Other who does such things. And this is how we define our sense of societal self, our ring of self-assurance, which enables us to continue to think and do what we have always done.
    If — to take a very non-controversial example — Narendra Modi’s humanity is not under question despite all the evidence available, and he clearly has so many who are ever so ‘understanding’ of his past actions, then this chap — whose criminal footprint is much smaller in comparison, surely deserves to live out his life at the very least — unlike Modi, he has at least admitted his guilt and expressed regret about what he has done. And hopefully he would be a better penitent than Modi ever will be.


    1. Well, first of all, humanity and empathy are nothing to romanticise. While on one hand you say that we must show some empathy to the rape accused because they, too, have stories and that they have spent their lives in extreme poverty, I would have to say that it is the saddestt excuse to do so. And we cannot put all crimes in one category. I understand when you say that we are not so self-righteous to say that we will never committ ANY act of crime.. but maybe you need to go through the details and the brutality of the crime again, if you have forgotten!! To take an example, let’s suppose I am a very poor person who hasn’t eaten in days… and if I resort to stealing for food, my crime would at least deserve some mercy. Yes, we must not steal but for a person who is starving, it is pardonable! But if the person in question is someone who has seen women meekly tolerating men’s unfair acts and following their orders without question, then that is not an excuse for their horrifying act!! The girl they raped made them feel displaced and powerless and infuriated them when she protested against their rudeness and their teasing BUT she cannot be held responsible for their sense of displacement!! She cannot be held responsible for what they did in a “fit of anger and now feel guilty about it”!!
      To elaborate it further, let’s say certain men do not like the way “modern girls in cities” behave and dress and conduct themselves, I would respect the difference in opinion as long as they choose to keep their opinion to themselves and not impose it on others. But I would never pardon their acts of raping a girl and mercilessly torturing her until her intestines came out!!! Just because the guy feels guilty now, it is not enough for the life which he took!!
      That he felt insecure about his own position (which has been glorified by his parents because he was born with a penis), is NOT an excuse for “losing his mind and sensitivity” for 45 minutes!! And no, I do not support death penalty either but only because I think it is too easy and quick a punishment!
      Also, I respectfully disagree with your use of Narendra Modi and other communal leaders like him as an example!! I, personally, hate what Modi did and believe that he should be put behind bars for the rest of his life. So, first of all, the opinion on that particular topic is too diverse to be used as an example in this case where everybody believes that what these rapists did was inhuman. Here, the only difference in opinion is of “what kind of punishment should be given”. Modi’s crime, on the other hand, is not even believed by a lot of people to be a crime!! There are some people who don’t even believe that Modi was responsible for the 2002 riots, even when they are shown all the damning evidence! And then, there are also some people who think that Modi’s violent and highly questionable manner of practicing “Hindutva” was right!! So, in that case, we need make people see what he did was a gross and unpardonable act of torture!!


    2. Well said Chris!

      I appreciate Shivam Vij has the courage to write such an article. It is not that I have any sympathy for the rapists but I am quite pissed off by the so called “women empowerment” particularly in Delhi which is only serving the unfair interests of feminist bitches.

      It is sad that the rape victim died but I see no reason to declare her as a martyr. It was ridiculous how America awarded her as if they don’t have brutal rapes in their own country. Shame on them. She overshadowed a lot of other rape victims. Now everybody is talking about her and seeking public attention. Some made a film, some staging a drama, some writing articles, some making pistols called Nirbhay gun., some making anti-rape jeans and what not…those who cannot do anything would just say rubbish and be quoted in a newspaper. They all have a common interest ..making money and grabbing attention. And these newspapers…are they suppose to quote every Tom, Dick and Harry. Not to forget religious preachers and political leaders. The whole society is gangraping this girl posthumously. Shame on them all. As for the police, they only take seriously the rape charges made by prostitutes because they get their share from them. A big heap of shit for them.

      I question the conscience of people of India who are so keen on hanging the rapists but forget Narendra Modi’s atrocities. It only depicts our opportunist behavior. Shame on us all!

      If people really want women empowerment, they should change the rituals rather than reserving women everywhere, in buses, in services, in schools , colleges etc. Why do women still want to go to their husband’s house after marriage, why don’t they persuade their husbands to stay in their home and their family to take care of them. That would give them enough freedom and make their parents realize what it is like to feed an extra belly.

      As of wearing clothes, I seriously doubt if clothes are responsible for rapes, they can have their role in eve teasing and unwanted attention but rape is a difficult thing to happen just because of clothes.


      1. Dear Mr Dushyant, In Sanskrit there is a saying – alpa vidya bhayankari, a little knowledge is dangerous. But all that – knowledge least of all – does not matter to a closed right-wing mind, does it? If you go through all the debates – but particularly in the period after the 16 December rapes, you will see my self-righteous friend, that ALL feminists across the board have been opposed death penalty. It is the right-winders like LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj who have demanded death penalty for the rapists NOT the feminists. And this not out of any opportunist electoral reason but because this understanding comes out of the essence of feminist politics. It is good to read sometimes and not assume that one already knows that one can possibly know. As for your comment of the “posthumous gang-raping” of the girl, interesting that you should use the same patriarchal metaphor – from where the demand for death penalty actually emanates.


      2. Dushyant, your comment is hilarious and reeks of, to a degree, the same mindset that plagues India and ultimately leads to the kind of thinking that justifies crimes like these. This is blatant in the fact that you use the term ‘feminist bitches’ in the very first paragraph of your comment – to be honest, it makes it really hard for me to take you seriously after that. I’m a woman and I’m a feminist – that means I want all genders to have equal rights. I don’t think you should be calling me names for that. I have lots of male friends who are feminists too, I’d love to know what you’d call them!

        I agree that Nirbhaya was only one of several thousands of women that have suffered like this. Whether they rape a woman or rape and murder her is inconsequential – the minute you lay a finger on my body without my consent, its not okay. But You need to understand that what they did to her is an extreme example of how men are so empowered by our society that they didn’t think twice before inserting rods INTO HER BODY. Its important to talk about it, its important to create awareness about the fact that this sort of behaviour is not acceptable – and before you say that this is understood and obvious, please read Shivam Vij’s article – the mother of this boy he’s feeling so much empathy towards is quick to say that the lines between women and men are divided and unfortunately the greater chunk of our society thinks this way.

        That’s one of the reasons why this article just made me laugh – whether or not he was providing for his family is completely immaterial. Whether or not his mother loved him is immaterial. To feel sorry and expect to show empathy just because he’s someone’s son is unintelligent and what’s more, so completely unfair to the victim. In this case, after reading your article, Shivam Vij, I’m even more unsympathetic towards men like these – his mother should be ashamed, because she raised him wrong. She’s clearly brought him up to believe that men and women have defined roles. She’s part of the problem.

        Dushyant. As far as your ideas of what women empowerment should be concerned with, please talk to female friends if you have some – although I doubt you do, if you go around calling them ‘feminist bitches’ if they want to be able to do all the things that you can without fear. A lot of people my age and older prefer to get their own houses after marriage, and a lot of people choose to stay with their parents to take care of them. I agree its not always the case, but things are changing and it is increasingly becoming a personal choice. Instead of worrying about where they live, you should be worrying about whether or not they have the option of CHOOSING where they live. Whether they can take buses alone. You should be worrying about how policemen go out of their way to berate women they see smoking – “Do you have no Indian values?” You should be worrying about stuff like this.

        Instead of complaining about how women just DEMAND reservation everywhere, take a minute to think about why its actually granted – obviously because it needs to be. And that’s what is messed up. I shouldn’t NEED a separate compartment on the metro. I should be able to use the General compartment, or general bus seats without fear of being stared at / touched inappropriately. But on a daily commute, its easier to just use the women’s compartment instead of fighting with stubborn, defensive men about personal space – “Madam mein kucch nahi kar raha hoon, jagah hi nahi hai.” Call me crazy, but I’m not very thrilled about being brushed against by multiple people and stared at no matter what I’m wearing.

        Anyway, like a lot of other people on this comment thread, I’m agnostic about the death penalty but I pay taxes and I’d rather my money was spent on making better roads or improving government schools than on the upkeep of these men, who are so obviously a waste of space.


  25. “The public outcry we have seen against rape should not mean that while so many get away, these five men get hanged (the sixth is a minor). There are others who have committed rape and murder and whose death sentences have been commuted into life. Why should these five men not get similar mercy? Just because their act attracted public attention?”

    The above lines made me very uncomfortable.That they shouldn’t be hanged because others haven’t been hanged is a strange argument. Are you trying to say that their crime was less heinous than the others committed? How can one even compare different instances of rape and sexual assaults? Can we rank them? Does it mean that one crime is less heinous than the other? How can we even determine it?

    I am totally against death penalty. It disturbs me to see such overwhelming social sanction to an act, that is basically about killing a human being for a so-called *justifiable* cause. However, this particular arguments you cite, doesn’t help the cause of anti-death penalty. They shouldn’t be hanged because nobody, least of all the state, has any right to take life of another human being and not because, others who have committed *far more* heinous sexual assault crimes are not facing the same fate.


  26. Please add to this article that you were emotionally moved after your interview with Vinay’s mother. This will help readers to take into account your view in an emotional light, far from logic and reasoning which people generally expect on sensitives issues like these.

    – similar mercy? public attraction?
    I hope the author is not saying that wrong or right is a matter being found out, or getting more attraction.

    “I wonder how we can reduce violence in society by answering it with violence.”

    Please correct the definition of violence. If two processes lead to same results, it doesn’t mean two processes are the same. There is a word “Justice”.

    Or, I would consider lines in this article as perfect symptoms of Arundati Roy Syndrome, so called going-against-the-flow-to-look-different disorder.


  27. This article is simply outrageous. Mr. Vij, i don’t even want to get into a discussion about this. This is apalling. I do not believe you understood the plight of the victim completely (or even partially).


  28. 1) It is inaccurate to say that the Manmohan Singh government is ‘imposing death penalty’ just to deflect attention from it’s failures. Why not go the whole way and say that the ‘rape itself was planned’ to deflect attention from Kejriwal’s disclosures ?
    2) To plead that the ‘five’ should not be executed on grounds of poverty is incomprehensible. What next? That as the women to men ratio deteriorates further all rape and murder of ‘middle class women’ should be viewed sympathetically since they are too poor to purchase ‘commercial sex’ ?
    3) You are wrong to assume that ‘Champa Devi’s poverty is not visible to the ‘Delhi’s middle class’ and that ‘they- the other, always an excuse to excuse’ are not aware of the migration. They are. Are you aware that some well meaning middle class actually offers aid to ‘Champa Devis’ who work as ‘domestic helps’? Yes, there is exploitation of the women by other women. But, once again, what has it to do with death penalty for a horrendous gang rape and murder? Do you mean to justify that, as the ‘poor’ women are being exploited by the ‘rich’ women, and as the ‘poor women’ have no control over their bodies and are likely to produce more children , ‘poor women’s children can settle scores by Rape and Murder of ‘middle class’ women?
    4) Of course the “women want you to empathize with the mother of a man whom protesters in the city have wanted to be hanged at India Gate”. The patriarchal society does not run on the single wheel of patriarchal males alone, women with vested interest (power through their sons) are equally responsible for such rape cum murders.
    5) To demand the lenient sentence for Vinay because his sister suffers from diabetes is to absolve the government for its short comings and punish the victims family. Such arguments are dangerous. Similar arguments were made for the Dhananjay case.
    6) “He was a happy young man. Everything was going right for him. He had just returned from the village where we got him engaged.” – Then why did he rape and join in the murder ? If everything was going right for him, why associate with persons ‘involved in all sorts of scandal’ ?.
    7) “He was such a sweet boy he distributed sweets to all of us,” said a neighbour. “He was so looking forward to getting married,” said another neighbour. – No doubt, sex is so important for every male’s psychological well being, whether forced or voluntarily from a female. Oh by the way, did you bother to ask ? Was he ‘sweet’ because he distributed ‘sweets’?
    8) “Even Ram Singh was very nice with all the women in the camp,” added a neighbor. What difference between the women from the Haryana village (remember the rape of a college student because she was doing unacceptable things with her boy friend in a car ‘?
    9) We were then joined by a young woman with books in her hand, preparing for her high school exam, wearing a pair of jeans rather than traditional clothes. “Men do pass lewd comments when I walk to school,” she said, “but I ignore them and have never faced a major problem.”- No my darling, you wouldn’t not in your Mohalla and not if your brother was Vinay, the friend of the fierce ‘Ram Singh’.
    10) “Women and men are equally responsible,” said one, “The street dog bites you only if you tease it.”- an old joke ? Does the Dog know that ? It has to bite only when it is teased ? What if it ‘thinks’ it is being teased ? Does it give it the right to ‘bite’?
    11) “That is how it is,” someone replied, “Even if a woman becomes a top bureaucrat in our society she is still seen as a woman.” “”I laughed, and then we all went back to realising the tragedy that has befallen this slum of dreams” Glad you feel this one hell of a humorous subject and are saddened by the ‘tragedy that befell the slum’. Cool. I suppose, we should release the culprits so that they now rape ‘a senior bureaucrat woman’. Then the women can claim ‘she asked for it’ because – she visted the gym Vinay worked in, in her jogging suits.
    12) “Pointed me towards the thought that the ‘collective conscience of society’ was what produced their barbarism”. Good! Which means as the collective conscience of consumerism has generated this amount of corruption, we should not take notice of scam or black money, bribery etc.
    13) To reduce and prevent sexual crimes, India doesn’t need to hang rapists, strangulating them with the drop of a noose. India instead needs to get its cynical, manipulative and insensitive government implement the excellent Justice JS Verma report. That will also be the best tribute and the biggest act of justice to the brave woman who inspired the report. ‘Strangulate?’. That is done by criminals. Something Vinay tried with Nirbhaya. What needs to be done is execution. Or ‘put to sleep’. Street dogs which bite because they ‘think they are teased and have right to the streets no stranger can enter except at their own peril’.


  29. If the perpetrators are not given death penalty, there has to be some smarter way to do justice in case of such a heinous crime wherein not only rape but brutal murder also took place. Who would suggest that? The women, the author spent time with, did nothing but mostly aired the typical patriarchal views on the situation and the mother with her story of poverty and a generally well-behaved son who had recently got engaged evoked an unusual empathy in the author. I wonder how the author may have reacted if he had to nurse the victim in her last days when I am sure she must be suffering from excruciating pain whenever she may be coming around not only due to her physical pain but also due to the haunting nightmarish memories of the ill-fated night in her fading consciousness? Her intestines were ruptured after being raped. It is too gruesome to allow any kind of mercy. What was the ‘good boy’ doing when such an act was being committed in front of his eyes. He was perhaps deterred by incest taboo in his behavior vis a vis his mother and sister, but he would’ve been a curse for his future wife. This is the way the ‘collective conscience’ of our society works; such ‘heroes’ are encouraged to honor their mothers by deifying them, see their sisters as repositories of their own honor and prey on any other woman who is neither of the two. I believe that a sane person should lose his mind if he happens to witness such a crime, which is to say, that the sense of guilt should be overwhelming enough for such convicts to go crazy and suicidal about, if they are the real ‘good boys’ of their mamas.


    1. Why do you the confinement in jail, away from family, friends and the world, for years and possibly a lifetime, is *not* punishment and does not amount to justice?


      1. Family, Friends, World ? The rapists will get ‘similar’ friends in the jail, so this is not valid punishment; Family ? A man who can assault a woman so brutally in front of other men, and get back to work as if nothing happened, can not be termed as ‘family’ man. World ? They were never in the real world. They were in a stupor of predation, hunting for prey – Robbery …how did you forget to question the mother and other woman on this aspect ? This crime was committed before the rape. This was the ‘funds’ gathered for the next day’s booze/drugs. The previous day’s ‘earnings’ was sufficient to hunt for one solitary woman, any woman…that is the only thing probably they are going to miss – women for sex. I am sure this ‘worldly aspect’ can be overcome too, by inflicting it on a vulnerable male, inside the jail. it is not all about ‘justice’ alone. Justice is to be seen to be done. For a honourable man, a rebuke is sufficient to make him repent. Where is the repentance ? Who will certify it ? Have psychiatrists examined the minds of these psychopaths ? Repentance should come before one is caught with his pants down.


  30. “If instead we answer it with mercy, we will be a more humane society, earning mercy in return.” If we will answer all the crimes with mercy, there will be flood of crimes. If you won’t be punished for raping someone first time, you will do it again. The condition of accused’s family won’t change in the second time. He will ask for mercy again. You will provide mercy as we should answer violence by affection only.

    Hanging these men will create at least fear in their heart. Allowing them mercy will be like giving ticket for whatever they want to do. If he was so nice in nature, why he did not defended the girl. If he would have tried to do that, he would have saved a life.

    The minor is some months short of 18. Why can’t we have law fro bringing down the age limit in such cases to 16. He won’t get a drastic change in his thinking or maturity after 3-4 months.
    Just because we were not able to make right decisions in previous cases, does not means they must not get their punishment. A change has to begin at some point of time so why not now. Why wait for some other girls to get raped and to left for death.

    I am sure you would not have written this letter to plea for mercy to rapists if any girl in your family has suffered for such act. The girl was also asking for mercy. After raping her, they had crossed the limit of barbarism. I must say they all must be “hanged till death” in such cases.


  31. I partially agree with the author. Death sentence is not an answer to crimes done in a rage like this especially in a country where death penalty is rare and even serious criminals including killers of Rajiv Gandhi and aides of Veerappan have been successfully avoiding it. Kasab and Guru’s cases were stretched for many years, and only expedited politically in last few months. Whatever said, these six people cannot be equated to likes of Kasab, Guru, Veerapan etc. Moreover what will death penalty do? Just cause a few moments of pain till they die. In India there is little value for human life in general. Innocent people get killed in large numbers in road accidents, in stampedes, collapse of a building or a bridge etc. Adding one more way by capital punishment is not going to make any impact, expect put the name of convict in history as one of the few people to be executed by state (media continues to remember Dhananjay as only person to be hanged in last decade). Better way to punish such people is make them serve a long term in prison so that they continue to realize every day the mistakes they have done in whatever state of mind. It will also serve as a deterrent for those who are watching them suffer.


    1. Mr Sanjiv, I second your observation that human life has little value in a country like ours, and we experience this yesterday when innocents were brutally eliminated in a bomb blast. In simple words they met the same end as Mr Guru or Mr Kasab and in a worse way. What good does it do to hang a convict in secrecy and then release the news of the execution an hour later? Effective punishment is by humiliating the person rather than eliminating him.


  32. Cannot believe I’m disagreeing with an article written on Kafila.org.
    I simply cannot understand the sympathy shown towards criminals, not petty crimes, but such heinous ones. Who’s willing to take up the responsibility of reforming these individuals? No, Seriously? Why not start with the millions of poor and destitute in the country, than show mercy to these individuals? Stop living in an Utopian world. Mercy! Bah Humbug! All 5 of them are pleading “Not guilty”. Show your mercy to the girl who died, and the ones who die everyday and their families!


  33. I NEVER vehemently protest or cry out loud on a public space – but this has definitely made me do so! When the nation was going wild with the protest – I too had my share of thinking that there should be a limit to the publicity people are giving to the whole thing and in effect feeding ideas to the the vulnerable if I may call them so!
    BUT – im sorry – Me being the mother of a boy – I’m unable to sympathize with Vinay’s mother. I still empathize with the girl he RAPED and KILLED on a “JOY RIDE”. Tomorrow if my son was going to come back and tell me the same – no doubts i might sit and cry, but I dont think I’ll have the guts to plead mercy and YES i respect the guy to have admitted his mistake but that ends there. He had partaken in taking a rod, hitting the guy, raping the girl, hurting her, watched and probably laughed at her intestine being pulled off and then been there supporting his friends drop them on the road sans a piece of cloth and ride the bus over them.
    He dint regret post hitting the guy on the head..if he dint hit…he dint stop his friends hit it and get disgusted and get off the bus..did he?
    He dint stop himself from getting erotically excited seing the devastating plight of a girl who had done nothing to him..he dint for a second think of his own MOM and his kids and their plight before a monster or even before these very friends of his…DID HE?
    He dint watch the “JUVENILE” take out the intestine of the girl and cry “mar saali mar” and regret that and jump out of the bus..in disgust..DID HE?
    He Dint throw a piece of cloth to the guy and girl when they were dumped naked on the road right??
    He dint try veering the steering of the BUS when they tried to run over them..did he???

    So with all due feelings to the mother who brought up her son with hopes and dreams, understanding the limitations a mother has on her “sons” ‘sense of morality and righteousness’ and being the patron of harmony myself..sorry – I dont wish he be given mercy. YES and despite a thousand other instances – for this alone cries my heart that he be hanged till death..or be castrated the first day and killed on the 13th day to live the shame for a while.
    Will it do justice to the girl? will it bring her back for her parents? probably no..but if u have a kid and he falls on the road..and atleast once were u tempted to slap on the tarred floor and console the kid that…u got hurt dear? come now i have slapped the floor for hurting you…for one who has lost her everything for “nothing” who in her last days..and devastating health had forced herself sit up and fight for the injustice done to her..for that girl i want to give her atleast this..be it my son..be it Champa Devis!


    1. I am pasting an excerpt from TOI’s news of yesterday (all the five majors have pleaded not guilty, so has the minor):TOI “Nirbhaya’s friend cross-examined” – The male friend of the December 16 gang rape victim was cross-examined on Monday by the defence before the fast-track court trying the case.The youth, the sole eyewitness in the case, had earlier testified for the prosecution during in-camera proceedings against the five accused who have pleaded not guilty to the charges of rape and murder framed against them. The victim’s friend arrived before additional sessions judge Yogesh Khanna in a wheelchair because of the injuries inflicted on him during the heinous attack of December 16, 2012.
      Mercy to Rapists who ‘plead not guilty’ after having accepted the crime and publicly cried ‘hang me’ ? Really ? So which is the real Vinay ? The one who accepted his crime and ‘begged to be hanged’ when the public took to the streets in protest or the one who has pleaded not guilty once eminent ‘humanitarian intellectuals’ took to net and media for ‘abolishing of the death penalty’ ?


  34. I think the author is not rhetoric in his words. He is just giving what he had experienced on that day. He too has his ‘right to freedom of expression’ which he is exercising, whether it is true or not, we should defend it till the end!
    And Shivam, Please do not get moved by the words of people!!


  35. I am against the death penalty for a number of reasons. But sparing the feelings of a mother is NOT one of them. Nor is the argument that the perpetrator has a family to support!


  36. While I entirely stand against death penalty, it does not come from a place of sympathy for rapists. This article sounds dangerously close to rape apologist arguments. Who cares about what a “sweet boy” he used to be, There was nothing to reflect that in the monstrous crime that he committed. I do not claim to be as politically nuanced as the writers on Kafila but this article makes me extremely uncomfortable, Mr Vij. I am probably reading it all wrong, though.


  37. You can’t be serious, Shivam. Are you? This is the most bizarre and weird theory I have read about “why we should abolish capital punishment”. These five adults, if they will be hanged, will not be the first ones to get death for rape and murder. Ranga and billa got death. Compassion can be shown, even to the culprit of the most heanious crime, but then even compassion has limits. We cannot forgive everyone in the name of compassion. And it is not about satisfying the collective conscience of a society. It is about learning a lesson from such horrors and taking a proactive steps in order to avoid repetition of such ghastly acts. May be the protests didn’t stop rapes, given the patriarch mindset of our society, but it is important to instill fear of law or else such acts will become a daily routine.


  38. Totally disagree..!! Emotions and hatredness are on both sides.. One realizes it when ‘she’ is your daughter/mother/sister/loved one.


  39. Four men have been sentenced, not five, first. Humanising the accused is a great technique to use while making this point, but I don’t get how you can say that implementing Verma’s report, is somehow going to act as a deterrent in this situation. And isn’t a deterrent all we need right now? Or are we still hoping to rehabilitate rapists and send them right back into civil society with no proof that they won’t attempt it again?

    Vinay’s mother is obviously not going to say my son deserved to die. That way the court is also justified in sending the most brutal juvenile accused to a remand home for all of 3 years? Even if corruption is dealt with and criminals are brought to jail, India will soon run out of space to keep them. In a country a major part of whose population is frustrated, uneducated and poor as ours, big talk about death penalty being considered as a means of ‘reducing violence using violence’ and not a solid way of instilling fear of the law, I think is quite baseless and utopian.


  40. Totally disagree with the author of the article. there is no need to present the story from the side of the perpetrators. And the brutality of the act makes one shiver and therefore even death is too less for them..


  41. I disagree Shivam, even if your argument is more liberal, humanizing and more Gandhian and all that. There should be speedy trials and quick retribution.

    It’s all Ok to have ideas about how to prevent rape. We have a long way to go. Ask the victim’s family members. The juvenile who escaped noose may pass past their home and smile after being released from his 3-star remedial home. Ask the victim’s family or remember what the victim wanted to happen to the rapist-killers.

    Ask them and listen to them. Justice is retributive, too. Its deterrent value lies in it too.


  42. While I have read quite some anti death penalty cases, many of them really though provoking, this unfortunately is sub standard. Just some of the things that are the basis for the argument – that others are getting mercy so why shouldn’t these 4 – seriously? It’s really pathetic. I agree that death penalty does not do justice. But then again, as a “humane” society for the last 60 odd years I don’t see any empathy that this society has got back. Further more, women who have been at the receiving end of this Society, don’t need empathy they deserve justice. I highly doubt they share this journalists biased views. They need to be treated with respect, and such criminals deserve the harshest punishment. As the Judge rightfully said, this is a Rarest of Rare case of the highest brutality. It’s not just rape, its cold blooded murder.

    I also do not subscribe to your idea of the Government politicizing this issue. They Politicize every issue. Rather I’d look at the non implementation of the Justice J S Verma report as a major sign of lack of responsibility.


  43. that was not just a rape.
    It was completely INSANE.
    BRUTALITY, and leaving them like that will encourage thousands of such cruel people.
    Change in society is required.
    MODERN dresses does not give an invitation to rape.
    What about aspirations , goals of that girl and her family, they all were ruthlessly destroyed.

    Criminal has to be judged not her family and past.
    what is big that he committed crime, not what made him so.
    They were not kid, cruel and shame to society


  44. We live in extraordinary times; what was uncommon has now become an everyday occurrence.Imprisonment for ‘long terms’ ? Commutation for ‘good behavior’ ? Let me quote from two sources (1) ‘Abnormal sex ratios in human populations: Causes and consequences’, by Therese Hesketh (Institute of Child Health, University College London) and Zhu Wei Xing ( Department of Public Health, Zhejiang Normal University) – source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA – ” In the absence of manipulation, both the sex ratio at birth and the population sex ratio are remarkably constant in human populations. Small alterations do occur naturally; for example, a small excess of male births has been reported to occur during and after war. The tradition of son preference, however, has distorted these natural sex ratios in large parts of Asia and North Africa”. An estimated 67–92 million females were missing in 2001 in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Iran. in many communities today there are growing numbers of young men in the lower echelons of society who are marginalized because of lack of family prospects and who have little outlet for sexual energy. A number of commentators predict that this situation will lead to increased levels of antisocial behaviour and violence and will ultimately present a threat to the stability and security of society. There is some empirical evidence to fear such a scenario. Gender is a well-established individual-level correlate of crime, and especially violent crime. It is a consistent finding across cultures that an overwhelming percentage of violent crime is perpetrated by young, unmarried, low-status males. There is also evidence that, when single young men congregate, the potential for more organized aggression is likely to increase substantially . Hudson and Den Boer, in their provocative writings on this subject , go further, predicting that these men are likely to be attracted to military or military-type organizations, with the potential to be a trigger for large-scale domestic and international violence. With 40% of the world’s population living in China and India, the authors argue that the sex imbalance could impact regional and global security, especially because the surrounding countries of Pakistan, Taiwan, Nepal, and Bangladesh also have high sex ratios. AND
    It would be interesting this post at http://gangrey.com/?p=1151 and also surprising Gandhiji’s views on ‘self protection in case of sexual attacks’ (http://gandhiking.ning.com/profiles/blogs/sumangal-prakash-and-mahatma-gandhi-1): Your argument with regard to rape seems convincing. In circumstances similar to those in which you believe it right for a woman to take her life, it may be right for a trustee to take his life when somebody tries to rob the property under his care. But the woman and the trustee themselves should think that it is their dharma to do so. You or I have no right to accuse a woman of failing in her dharma if she does not kill herself to prevent herself from being raped. If, unlike her, the trustee dies while defending the property under his care, we cannot assume, either, that he has done the right thing. We can judge in either case only if we know the mental condition of the person concerned at the time. Though I say this from the point of view of justice, personally I believe that a woman, if she has courage, would be ready to die to save her honour. In discussing this matter with women, I would, therefore, certainly advise them to kill themselves in such circumstances and explain to them that it was easy to take one’s life if one wished to do so. I would do this because many women believe that, if there is no man present to protect them or if they have not learnt to use a dagger or a gun, they have no choice but to submit to the evil-doer. I would certainly tell a woman who believes so, that she need not depend upon anybody’s weapons to protect her and that her own virtue will protect her. Even if that does not happen, instead of using a dagger or any other weapon she can kill herself. She need not consider herself weak or helpless and now concerning hypothetical questions.


We look forward to your comments. Comments are subject to moderation as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s