31 C
New Delhi
Saturday 19 October 2019
Views Editorial Lessons Aruna Left Us With

Lessons Aruna Left Us With


- Advertisment -

They deal with the definition of ‘right to life’ as much as the scourge of sexual assault on women

Aruna_ShanbaugIt is painful. Very painful. The trauma of a victim of rape, aggravated by irreparable physical damage, cannot be fathomed by a sympathizer. All we can do is shed a tear for the late Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug, and strengthen our resolve to fight the scourge of rape and other forms of assault on women in India, notwithstanding international statistics of the crimes. Shanbaug’s case will also be remembered forever for the plea for euthanasia by journalist-activist Pinki Virani, which was eventually turned down by the Supreme Court and yet that led to permission for passive mercy ‘killing’ for patients in a vegetative state. This means that ending the life of a patient in this condition by means of a lethal injection is still not allowed, but the medical support systems that sustain the patient can be withdrawn when there is no hope of her recovery. In absence of this permission, Shanbaug lived a traumatic 42 years lying in a bed of the King Edward Memorial Hospital where she was attacked by ward boy Sohanlal Bharatha Walmiki in the night of 27 November 1973. The case, unlike few others, exposed psychological and systemic flaws of our society and justice delivery system respectively. If rape had not been associated with end of one’s honour, Dean Dr Deshpande might not have suppressed the fact that the victim was sexually assaulted as well. The charges of robbery and attempt to murder that the perpetrator was convicted for, making him serve two concurrent — not separate and consecutive — jail terms of seven years each, sparing him another 10 years in prison for rape, sexual assault and unnatural sexual offence, were not merely inadequate. It exposed potential victims, as it was suspected that Walmiki had disappeared in thin air after serving the jail term and was working in some hospital in Delhi. Condemning the callousness of the KEM Hospital management and the court that tried the culprit but did not take or retain his photograph, while necessary, does not secure the lives of women he could target. The insensitivity of administrators who are responsible for governing the people was, in the meantime, betrayed when the Bombay Municipal Corporation made two attempts to vacate the bed Shanbaug was lying in. Thanks to the nurses who went on strike protesting the decision, the municipality relented.

It is time our society looked for an end to the blight of rape. If it has not been possible anywhere in the world, it does not make a solution impossible. Sick and depraved minds exist everywhere; educating the males about the dignity and rights of their female counterparts would only lead to marginal improvements in the ghastly statistics. Better policing by the state, constant vigil by society and utmost precaution by every individual are, hence, unexceptionable.

As for euthanasia, there are several philosophical issues the modern Indian society and nation-state have not deliberated upon enough. Why the right to one’s life should not include the right to end it is one such question. While foul play (for usurping property, exacting revenge etc) is a dangerous possibility, we are not dealing with patients in a vegetative state alone. The matter is linked to attempts to suicide being considered a crime in the country. An already beleaguered person is harassed further by law if the attempt to bring an end to his life’s agony fails. This cannot be ethically acceptable even though medical, psychological and spiritual attempts must be made to extricate a depressed individual from despondency. Finally, the legislature must address critical issues raised by experts of a subject with expediency without politicking endlessly over them in Parliament, especially when things are less complicated because they deal with rights of individual citizens and not dynamics of society as a whole.

Subscribe to our newsletter

You will get all our latest news and articles via email when you subscribe

The email despatches will be non-commercial in nature
Disputes, if any, subject to jurisdiction in New Delhi
Sirf News Editorial Board
Sirf News Editorial Boardhttps://www.sirfnews.com
Voicing the collective stand of Sirf News' (सिर्फ़ News') editors on a given issue

Leave a Reply


Karva Chauth: Faith, legend behind viewing the moon through a sieve

The legend and Karva Chauth rituals vary across Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and, in south India, Andhra Pradesh

Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, Here We Come!

Study Wuhan and Mamallapuram in the backdrop of the fact that things are not quite working out in China-Pakistan economic relations, notwithstanding the urge of the communist state to contain India and that of the Islamic state to challenge it

Slowdown Has Reasons Other Than GST, Demonetisation

When all economic sectors decline, the mood of the market turns sombre, turning investors all the more reluctant to pump in money; the interdependence of industries means that the slowdown suffered by one would affect many

Where China & India, Resisting & Improving Democracy, Meet

What you see in Hong Kong is China resisting democracy; what you see in Kashmir is India promoting it; a reasonably capitalist China does not offer freedom politically but India, held back at times by the choice of the people, is still opening up; there could be a point of convergence as the two nations move in opposite directions

Omega-3: Study published in BMJ claiming no benefit for type 2 diabetes has myopic vision

Most respondents in the omega-3 study published in the BMJ are from Europe and North America; such results can hardly be applied worldwide
- Advertisement -


Pakistan under Indian pressure freezes terrorists’ accounts

The global community is crediting Indian diplomacy at the FATF via Asia Pacific Group with forcing Pakistan to take this action under the 4th Schedule of its Anti-Terrorism Act

Delhi police stations may come under Islamist suicide attack

Tight security arrangements have been made in about 200 police stations of Delhi; people visiting police stations are being closely monitored

Mexico deports 311 Indians trying to infiltrate into US

One of those deported from Mexico narrated how dead bodies of others who had tried to sneak into the US were strewn around in a Panama forest

CCTV camera catches killers of Kamlesh Tiwari

Police began scrutiny of footage from CCTV cameras in the neighbourhood soon after the murder of Kamlesh Tiwari; the killers have been traced but not yet identified

ISIS emerges as most probable killer of Kamlesh Tiwari

The assailants who came to kill Kamlesh Tiwari were carrying two kinds of weapons, a knife and a gun, but they did not shoot and kill him

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

%d bloggers like this: