So Kasab will hang.
Many have rejoiced on TV. I suppose many more are rejoicing in the real world too. Leads one to tricky interpretations, doesn't it? Is it ethical to dance at the prospect of a body swinging in mid-air? Can such a desire be termed gruesome, even bloodthirsty? I won't attempt to answer those questions. The Hawk versus Dove debate will perish only when we do. So let that be.
Instead, let me puff my chest with pride today. Because today, I learnt that only two people have been hanged in India since 1995. Many more have been sentenced to death, but their fates hang in limbo at the moment. And, believe it or not, a city like Mumbai does not even employ a hangman anymore.
Now, why should I feel pride at this statistic? Because we, as a society, could so easily have swung to the other extreme and hung people around every corner. After all, we're being attacked from all sides, even as we accumulate internal enemies by the thousands. There's every temptation to resort to violent measures. Restraint is a huge luxury right now. And we've chosen this luxury. Against all odds.
Of course, this doesn't translate to the generic conclusion that our laws are humane and progressive. They're not. Many of our laws are shocking and atrocious. Also, a lot of our affirmative actions do not take recent social developments into account (the misuse of 498a is a strong case in point). Add to this the telling fact that the powerful and rich can use unscrupulous but brilliant lawyers to go scot free even as the underprivileged spend eternities behind bars for lesser crimes, we get a true picture of what's wrong with our judicial system. We have a long way to go before we can state, with greater pride, that every human in India is deemed equal by the law. Crusades - long-drawn and impassioned - are required to bring about this change.
But today, I want to say with pride that we theoretically believe in nonviolence. We've instinctively learnt that societies that dole out capital punishment by the tons host more crime and hatred, not less. We will not become Texas.
And, therefore, we can yet aspire to become a "rarest of rare" society. :)