Thursday, April 9, 2009

Slum justice

Today, a friend posted about the "Free hugs campaign" on facebook.

Also today, I saw this:
The rise of the Taliban, the fall of Karachi

Hug a Taliban? Err..

I am reading Shantaram right now. It's a book about this Australian criminal who ran away from prison and settled in a Bombay slum and I just finished a chapter describing slum justice. The story goes like this:

A man called Joseph regularly got drunk and beat up his wife. All the neighbors and most people in the slum knew about this but had kept silent, until one day when they heard the screams and the shouts and the beating and it got to be too much. The woman's blood stained naked body fell out of their (the man and his wife's) slum quarters and the women in the neighborhood wrapped her up in a yellow sari and carried her off. At this point the slum head had decided intervention was necessary. And it went as follows.

The man while still drunk was offered a drink for his troubles, which he tentatively accepted.
Then another
and another until he started refusing it, but they kept forcing it down his throat until he passed out.
After a while they woke him up and he started asking for water, which he was refused and instead offered another bottle of daru. Every time he asked for water, more and more of the alcohol was thrust down his throat, until he fainted again.
Then after five minutes he was woken up yet again and then they started beating him and asking him if he knew what he had done.

In any case, to cut a long and painful story short, they tortured him, made him believe he had killed his wife, kept depriving him of water only offering him more and more alcohol until he felt true remorse, they almost literally beat the devil out him, until "All the spite and defiance in him was defeated. He sobbed the name of his wife over and over again."

And then they bathed him and gave him water, he got hugs and kind words and a chance to redeem himself and he found out that his wife was not dead although it was up to her if she wanted to come back to him or not.

The leader of the slum then said "In this way is justice done, because justice is a judgment that is both fair and forgiving. Justice is not done until everyone is satisfied, even those who offend us and must be punished by us. You can see, by the way we have done...., that justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong. it is also the way we try to save them."

The point of this story... I guess.. is that I want to beat the shit out of the Taliban and other morality police equivalents until they feel remorse and are begging for mercy. And then some more till they realize that Allah is not on their side, and they have no power no agency nothing left and then some more until they realize they deserve it and accept the punishment and then when there is nothing left Juan Mann can go hug them all he wants.

On a side note, this was basically a more shaped out, intense version of typical abusive relationships (abuse and then offer love and then abuse again) + the good cop bad cop routine (punish and then offer redemption - maybe).

In any case, a lot of people need hugs in this world but I think a lot of people also need and in fact want punishment, because punishment is a precursor to forgiveness and redemption.


gaycaviar said...

wow, very well said about punishment being a precursor to forgiveness and redemption.

truer words were not spoken.

Thakki Patang said...

shukria shukria, you should read the book if you haven't already, its really good!