Wednesday, May 05, 2010

1113 : Retribution vs. correction

I was having this long-winded debate with Prashant yesterday….got triggered by the TV in the cafeteria which was beaming Kasab’s mugshot.

My view on this is….

Hundreds of years ago – whoever inducted the judiciary and “social intervention” process – surely had “individual reform” and “correction” at heart. Retribution would surely have not even remotely featured in the list.

That means, if A committed something “socially wrong” (say he steals) – as a society we were more interested in correcting him than punishing him(and rightly so!!). If that involved “solitary confinement” – then it was worth it – but instead, if it involved, a “walk in the park” – that would have been the prescription.

Versus today…where…..

Correction is no longer within the agenda (even in arial 8pt!!) – only retribution features there (in arial 48 pt)– almost as if, while no one was watching,  the scales had silently tilted to the other side – to the other extreme.

That IMO,  is a sad mental outlook for a society as a whole to carry – baying for each other’s blood – dog eating dog – “you take my left eye out, I will strive to have your right one poked out” – I see no end to this mad endless circle.

I like (and admire) examples like Priyanka Gandhi – having lunch with Nalini (who carried the bomb that killed her father) – and publicly voicing that “if it was upto her, then Nalini should return back to her daughter” – which means she should be released off her life imprisonment. (Priyanka, I have no opinions on politico types – but you are right up there in my view – just by this token gesture).

If I were ever “wronged” – and if I somehow figured that – the agenda against me was “personal” – as in the guy wanted to get back to me – rather than he being a serial criminal – I am inclined to believe, that similar to Priyanka, I would like to let the guy “get off”.

There is immense closure in “forgiveness” and letting go. Retribution is an idiotic mechanism which never really allows “your (own) wounds” to heal – in addition it inflicts wounds on 50 others (remember a person like Kasab has at least 50 others involved in his 6 degrees of seperation list….his mom, sister, daughter, grandfather and the likes….)

Final summary – If I had to prescribe myself, I would happily ape a Dalai Lama, versus participate in a “Sikh cleansing” or a “green flag  hate” excercise – the selfish imp in me – wants to hear only one song - “Heal thyself” :-)

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Anonymous said...

If it was you daughter/wife/niece/mother/sister killed by someone , would you still be inclined to forgive them? Just curious to know what you think when the wounds are personal and it is your innocent loved ones who were caught.

Amitabh said...

Am inclined to believe so, though I am not sure what I would end up doing when it finally hits. I am just as weak, if not more...but in my sane state, I crave for "closure" over "punishment" anyday.