Ajmal Kasab: Finding a real sense of closure

Closure. Completeness. A release from all inner sorrows. The end of mourning and beginning of healing.

I wonder what it feels like. Whether it truly exists or do people pretend? Pretend it doesn’t hurt anymore, that they won’t be brought to tears again while seeing a ragged picture or reliving a happier memory, that a distant sound of crackers or a gun being fired won’t remind them of buried horrors or send them into spasms of fright, that God won’t do it to them again, that prayer and counseling will help.

What about the scars those wounds leave behind, do they ever fade?

Ajmal Kasab Death Sentence UpheldHow do people get closure? Does revenge do it or forgiveness? Do they lose their minds, go insane or succumb to the pain of their losses and give up on life? Or maybe they do just the opposite and unknowingly, or on purpose, block out everything, not knowing or realizing what really happened to them. Do they ever really live, get to be normal?

What about the new mother who never got to see her baby grow up or the doctor who couldn’t wash away the blood of countless victims from his hands no matter how hard he tried?

These questions have been popping up in my mind all day. But I know these questions appeared for a reason. Ever since I heard Kasab was hanged this morning in a strange hushed up manner without so much as a whisper to his family or the families of his victims, ever since I heard people cheering, ecstatic, relieved that finally, even if late, this episode was finally over.

Who was he, will we ever really know?

All we know is he was Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab whom everyone hated because the people I mentioned earlier, they’re real and what happened to them, it was real. And who did that to them, they were real too. And one of them was Kasab.

After spending Crores of Rupees for the past four years for keeping him safe from the angry public or from himself while in custody, giving into his whims-and-fancies from what we’ve got to hear from media reports, it’s hardly anyone’s fault – especially the common man paying his taxes just to see it spent on keeping a lowlife life Kasab safe and alive – for feeling relieved.

I can’t even begin to imagine how the survivors, the families of the victims and the ones Law and Repsonisbility - Ajmal Kasab who came so near to death that day feel today. I start wondering if this will give them some solace, a little comfort? Are they rejoicing like everyone else? Then I just challenge my last sentiments by thinking how can anyone feel happy taking someone’s – even someone as evil as Kasab – life. Didn’t Kasab have a right? Didn’t he have a mother too-for whom he’d always be her little boy, no matter what – who had the right to know that it would be her son’s last day on earth?

I struggle again with those questions as another voice in my head retaliates with a whole new one. Didn’t all of Kasab’s victims have the same rights? And there it is; the confusion again. I don’t have an answer but I wonder if someone being sent to the gallows is the only answer, the only solution and the only justice that can be offered.

We all know how the legal system works, I know we are a pro death-penalty nation, but my mind still can’t grasp the fact that killing someone will help us heal, help us mourn for the ones we lost. Are we not doing the same thing too?

Is the law bigger than a person’s life? Are we really sure, we aren’t creating monsters of our own?

Most people will say, “You’re not a victim. You’ll never understand their stand, their feelings, their anger and grief”. I know that and they’re right, but I still wonder whether these people who lost everything, really understand too, whether this was really their stand or did it just get lost somewhere in the sea of angry protesters, and if anyone till now has ever even begin to comprehend the extent of outrageous actions human beings are capable of inflicting upon each other, and when they do so, what really is the right thing to do?

I guess we’ll never know the difference between morally right and legally right. So in the end, there’s nowhere to go to but to the notion of closure and all that it implies.

Morally, no one has the right to judge anyone else. But legally, it’s not a right-it’s a responsibility.” ~ Jodi Picoult in Nineteen Minutes

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  1. The message the post tries to send is loud and clear. I am very happy at last to go through a post on this critical issue that, presents a very rational judgement. We humans have been on a killing spree from the day we realized that, we stand at the top of the ecosystem. A simple and a single question has always disturbed me that, who has given us the right to take the decision of someone’s life or death. Do we owe more on the decisions of his survival than, the person himself? I see this event more as an act of, ‘revenge over evil’. I really doubt how many of the victim’s kin would have really relished this event. However, there are many blood-hungry people who would go to extreme lengths to claim the justification of this event. These people should search for their souls and ask themselves honestly how are they different from others, the culprits? We are using a currency of blood and have forgot the intrinsic bondage of love, brotherhood and humanity.. And, lastly everything that happens in India are mostly politically fueled. Politics has surely played a pivotal role here also.

    1. @Atanu: I agree with your views to a certain extent and appreciate your unbiased opinions. I know there are many unanswered questions here, beginning with whether this really is justice? Maybe politics does have a role here…I don’t know what’s right or wrong, but I do know what the popular vote is, and I was just saying I wasn’t really sure about it, through this article….But I don’t think, everyone is blood-thirsty or revengeful as you suggest, I think people overall are scared and confused and just maybe allow themselves to go with the flow…the one society has told them to swim through…hurt, angry, yes. Revengeful, maybe, and maybe they had a right too, given the circumstances. These things make people question their beliefs and thoughts on certain things. It’s tough and there are so many different angles, so many things we don’t know about. It’s just a thought here, as I said to Shruthee, I just hope this confusion, the chaos in the minds of these vulnerable people isn’t being taken advantage of.

      Thanks a lot for your comments. I really appreciate your views.

  2. says: Mohansh Kulkarni

    I strongly object the views of Mr.Atanu here.

    @Atanu : What rights does anybody to have to condemn the pain of the victims of 26/11 and their sense of justice. Would the same sentence be spoken if your sister/mother/father/brother’s blood was spilt in the the same way ? If someone had brutally killed them and the only shot at justice is to make sure one of the persons behind the heinous crimes pays with his life ?
    The same brotherhood,humanity,love that you talk of has never been exhibited by the bloodthirsty scoundrel while he pulled his triggers into the heads of hapless victims. Who gave him the right to take someone else’s right ? And who gave you the right to judge if the victims’ survivors had right to decide the fate of someone who altered their fates. Should they have just sat and accepted everything without even quelling their angst against Kasab ?

    @Catherine : This article has not provided any new views nor has it thrown any light on how closure is achieved, the way you started off the column. No matter what columnists like you write, no matter how much you talk about humanity, you don’t have an inkling of how the very foundation of the surivor’s belief in humanity has shattered. If you have ever known or been in their shoes you would understand. My friend’s cousin, the only working member in the family was a victim – killed brutally. What if he was your head of the family ?
    You are entitled to only questions that a third person untouched by tragedy can wonder loudly about and not opinions ! Kindly do not write something that caters to your fancy just for the sake of filling up a column.
    Kasab’s death wont serve justice to the tragedy or the pain but nonetheless it can serve as a first step in easing out their pain, in gathering their strengths to finally start out on a new journey with the weight of their loss weighing heavily in their hearts.

    1. Mr. Kulkarni, your words speak only revenge. I can understand that you are in pain and may have seen this fate-changing experience right infront of your eyes but, still I stand where I was earlier. Going back to your question, “Would the same sentence be spoken if your sister/mother/father/brother’s blood was spilt in the the same way ? If someone had brutally killed them and the only shot at justice is to make sure one of the persons behind the heinous crimes pays with his life ?” . How do you think I would have reacted or how can you judge what I have had experienced?

      Anger is a man’s enemy and no war can won through it. The best a man can do is to develop self-realization in himself and in his peers. Once, man feels guilty of his act from within, he looses his soul. You don’t need to kill him any further as he has already died.

      Remember, taking one’s life is not justice even for the sake of it.

      Thanks for your comments anyways!

      1. says: Mohansh Kulkarni

        How can you ascertain that the party in question here was ever truly guilty ? If they ever had a guilty conscience they would never have performed this crime in the first place.
        Yes, I might seem angry but what other option do we have when our hands are tied and such people are protected by sympathies of people . It definitely angers me that there are people who expect the victims to come to terms with their situations without even getting a shot at payback.

        The crime do-ers are protected in our country always. Starting from politicians to actors to businessmen to any other influential people and why so ? Because they know they can get away with the crime by just faking a guilty conscience.

        People who actually feel guilty for their deeds do not defend, do not beg, do not retaliate but silently accept the punishment because a guilty soul understands the need of a punishment ! And as for your naive statement that once a person is guilty, he loses his soul it definitely is not true in this world, in this era and definitely not in his case !

    2. @Mr Kulkarni: I know the article didn’t give any news, nor did it answer how one gets closure and it didn’t intend to do so. It was about the questions and notions people have when they deal with the subject of closure…I may not have an inkling about how anyone really feels, as you say, even you don’t know me, but I do understand the sensitivity of the issue here and I never claimed to understand anyone’s feelings, Sir. I can see you’re angry and grieving too and I respect your opinions and views, but I think I still have the right to have questions that don’t have easy answers.

  3. says: Srinath Sridevan

    These are interesting questions, you are raising. In jurisprudence, there are three reasons that the State arrogates to itself the power to punish a human being. To use the words of Justice Terrell (used in a case of a forced ‘Sati’, where he delivered one of the strongest judgments to have ever been pronounced in India), “First, that such evildoers may be punished. Second, that we may avenge the death of an innocent girl, so far as we may avenge her. And third, that those who will not learn by reason, must be taught by fear.”. These are the punitive, the retributive, and the deterrent theories of punishment.
    There is also the reformative theory of punishment.
    The State and Society must decide what punishment best fits a specific crime.
    For instance, what punishment would you support for the perpetrators of the gang rape in Delhi ? Or for that instance, for the Nithari murderers (child rape, murder and necrophilia) ?
    All of these people undoubtedly had/have mothers and fathers, and possibly siblings also. Does that mitigate their position ?
    The Society has to take a hard call between: (a) Its belief in its ability to reform people such as these, (b) Its desire to vent the communal anger as a kind of pressure release valve, and (c) Sending a message out to the world at large that such crimes must not be repeated, and if they are repeated, they will be dealt with just like this.
    I noted with interest your response to Ms Srinivasan that you believed the trial was unfair. How did you arrive at this conclusion ?

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