Wednesday, October 25, 2006

To Sorrow

I am grateful to the sorrows
Like the green grass after rain,
They spring up from nowhere
And add colour to my life.

I am grateful to the sorrows
Which bunch up like old friends,
Uninvited, uncalled
And thoroughly help themselves...

I am grateful to the sorrows
Which complete the jigsaw of my life
By placing themselves piece by piece
Exactly wherein they fit.

I am grateful to my sorrows
For when they are gone
My happiness is sweeter;
And smile, a wise smile.

I am grateful to the sorrows,
To their benevolent teachings
For without them, how would I appreciate
The good offered by life?

Gauri G

Death Sentence for Santosh Kumar Singh

The news is enough for a lot of emotional brooding over. A reason to rejoice, even for strangers like me sitting miles away.

Some news spread like wildfire. Some gain momentum slowly. This case, throughout its proceedings, perhaps witnessed a mixture of both the phenomena...

While the aquittal on December 3, 1999 was met with dismay and shock, nothing much ensued immediately. It took time to wake up the citizens of India from their indulging luxuries, their safe coccoons of existence and peep into the system which had gotten stinking rotten.

But wake up, they did. One whisper to another, then muffled discussions, then furious debates, slowly people found a voice whose existence they had forgotten. They shouted, not caring if they were heard or not. Shouted their shouts of frustration. It was necessary to spit out the years of meek tolerance and mute witnessing of injustice...

Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Mattoo, or Nitish Katara. On the face of it, these are just three names, of the innumerable number of people who are murdered or raped in India. But they are different because the victims' relatives did not give up. These cases have managed to wake up a nation and compel it to seek justice.

I want to pay tribute to the families of all the three deceased above. Had it not been for their committment, had it not been for their perseverance, their sorrow which they resolved to turn to their strength, I would not have been able to see today the Judiciary bending down to a public outrage. I would not have seen the retrial. I would not have gotten elated hearing the news. I would not have been touched.

I have learnt one of the most important lessons of my life through Priyadarshini's father. If you want something, you don't get it merely by wishing it. You'll have to slog for it and be prepared to stumble upon all the unseen, but almost certain obstacles on the way. But most importantly, if you want something dearly and are certain it's right, the most conscientious thing to do is to go ahead and try.

It's a moving paragraph when Atticus tells Jem and Scout in 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' :

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."

It is because of such courage of Chaman Lal Mattoo that we can manage to see a brighter side of the judiciary.

Gauri Gharpure

Life or Death for Santosh Kumar Singh...October 30 The Red Letter Day...

It's October 29, 2006. It's a stale, redundant, selfexplanatory lead.
But I repeat: it's October 29, 2006. So what...

I'll tell you what.

A family somewhere is huddled up in anxiety. Remnants of sorrow are mingled with flakes of hope. They would love to be optimistic. But they might have learned to fear the feeling. Being optimistic is risky these days. It can also be devastating. It was, on December 3, 1999, when Santosh Kumar Singh, a rape and murder accused was acquitted. The conscience of a nation was rocked.

The Priyadarshini Mattoo case might have limped up to the courtroom, fought a galant battle and finally glimpsed at justice. From December 3, 1999 to October 17, 2006. That's the journey of justice. A haggard, effortsome, unrelenting journey.

There's a strange anticipation in me when I write this blog. I fear this anticipation, for I hate not getting the anticipated. I anticipate, with all my willforce, that Santosh Kumar Singh is ordered to be hung to death.

I assume that the reader knows about the case. Priyadarshini Mattoo was raped and murdered on January 23, 1996 in New Delhi. Evidences pointed to Santosh Kumar Singh, but these were smothered by power and influence. Period. The Delhi high Court, on October 17, 2006 pronounced him guilty of murder and rape, and is expected to read out the sentence on October 30.

I have a few questions to ask.

Have you wondered how Santosh Kumar Singh managed to go on to become a practising lawyer? (Who were the people who trusted him with their cases)

How did he manage to get married? (!!!)

How his friends had the gumption to rough up the media after the October 17, 2006 conviction?

Having pondered over the above questions, it seems there are a large majority of people to whom 'right' or 'wrong' and 'conscience' do not exist. And the rest, perhaps a minority, have to be preprared to struggle against this gamut of negativity.

When such attitude and arrogance survives in our country, I cannot dare to call it a 'civilised' nation or attempt to bask in an illusion of security. We, as a people, are in an urgent need to be more sensitive. Sensitive to corruption, senstive to rapes, murders, political scams and all the innumerable news which we assume unaccountable and irrevocable. Sensitive, because the bad things in life are not always benign.

Cynicism has, sadly, become a fashion statement for many. People may not be satisfied by 'one' such stray verdict against powerful and rich accused. They are granted their intellectual brooding over.

October 30, 2006, for one, might prove instrumental to fuel up strength in some more weak, haggard bodies to stirr up another long battle, just to get a glimpse of justice. The battle has begun...

Gauri V. Gharpure