Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oh the Humanity!

A few people have expressed interest in hearing more Hinglish. This isn't exactly the legendary prose of Avee's Oats, but it's a bunch of articles culled from the Times of India. The paper is essentially full of death and mayhem, and the variety of ways that people kill and are killed in the course of a day is truly astonishing. I often find myself laughing at the absurdity of all of these deaths, until I realize that people actually died, and then it isn't so funny. Life seems to have less value here, and I'm not sure of the reasons why.

I suspect part of it is the sheer number of poor people who have to struggle constantly, every day of their lives. Death is common, so it's not as big a deal. I read an article last week saying that half of the deaths in three or four Indian provinces were of people under the age of 18. Hinduism also incorporates endless rebirth into the religion. People here are quite devout, with most quite certain of their impending return to the world once this life has ended. People commit suicide in droves, and the reason most often cited is poverty, or hopelessness. Of course, they usually also kill their families as well, because...well, I'm not sure why. Another huge element seems to be the concept of "citizen justice". I don't think that ANYONE has much faith in the police or the judicial system, so as the saying goes, "if you want something done right..."

Anyways, enjoy the death and destruction that follows. It truly is astonishing.

Story One
"As doctors fought with chairs, scissors and scalpels, a minor girl died at the Gokarna health centre in Kandi on Monday. The fight broke out because none of the doctors was swilling tio treat the seven-year-old girl - they each wanted to get out of the health centre quickly. When the block medical officer of health was informed, he allegedly grew furious hta his sleep had been spoioled and attacked a doctor. The fight lasted over an hour and the child died without being treated."

Story Two
"An agreement on stamp paper where the vicitim's family promises the kidnappers that they won't go to the cops after the hostage's release, and even if he is kidnapped again in future. The bizarre sequence of events dates back to August 19 when 14-year-old Saddam went missing from outside his house in Ratupura village near Moradabad in the heart of UP's badlands. After a frantic search in the neighbourhood, the boy's father went to the police to lodge a kidnapping case. With their usual nonchalance, the cops told the desperate father to hunt for the boy himself. Left to his own devices, Bhure made inquiries but drew a blank. Then, on September 2, he was told that his son was spotted moving around with some eunuchs in a vehicle in a locality about 80 km from Ratupura village. Bhure rushed there to meet the eunuchs and miraculously found his son lying unconscious in a house. 'When I asked them to give me my son, they started abusing me. Thigns came to a point where they even tried to assault me. But I kept begging them for mercy. I told them Saddam was my only hope for the future,' Bhure told TOI on phone from Moradabad. Before the gang of eunuchs agreed to free Saddam, the father said, they made him sign an agreement on a stamp paper that next time if they manage to kidnap the boy, Bhure would beither try to claim him back nor go to the cops or initiate legal action. The eunuchs told Bhure that they had bought Saddam from a woman in Ratupura village for Rs 2,000. Bhure denied he had paid a ransom to secure his son's release, but sources in the village said RS 5,000 changed hands.

'Woh log ne mere larke ko hijra banane ja rahe thhey. Woh log waheen, apne ghar par hi operation kar dete hain (They were planning to turn Saddam into a eunuch. They conduct such surgeries at their home),' Bhure said. If kidnapping has become a business, then methods have taken on modern business practices. In Bihar, where abductions are common, kidnappers have been sympathetic in claiming ransoms - they've allowed to stagger payments in equated monthly installments, just like people paying off housing loans."

Story Three

"In yet another instance of police laxity, two professional killers shot dead a liquor businessman in his hospital bed inside the intensive care unit of a private nursing home in Meerut on Friday. Businessman Shrinivas had earlier been shot at on August 19 and was undergoing treatment in the hospital. Even on Friday, police reached the spot only after an hour of the incident. This despite the fact that Tejgari police outpost is barely 50 yards from the nursing home. This was the third such incident in Meerut in the past month. Earlier on August 7, two contract killers shot dead the deputy jailor of Meerut outside a mall. On August 12, a busuinessman of Kankar Khera area, too, was shot dead."

Story Four
"A man killed his wife and injured two sons with a sickle at village Panjyali in the district on Saturday. Rakesh Kumar, the man responsible for the crime, has been taken into custody and booked under sections 302 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code. An official spokesman told TOI that Rakesh Kumar, 38, was living in utter frustration due to poverty and that led him to commit this crime."

Story Five

"Expressing shock over the mishap, Kataria termed it as the biggest-ever road accident witnessed by the state in three decades. 'I have not seen such a big road mishap in which 86 persons were killed,' he told reporters here. Asked about the truck which was overloaded with 150 pilgrims, he said:'I think there is some negligence on the part of the administration. But at the same time, when people are going on a pilgrimage and if someone stops them, it hurts their feeling,' he said. 'People should also think and behave responsibly,' he said. Stern action would be taken against those found guilty. According to police, the truck carrying some 150 pilgrims from various villages to the annual fair of Babaramdeo in Jaiselmer district fell into a 60-foot-deep gorge at Desuri-ka-Nall village on Friday night."

Story Six

"Times have changed and so have sexual mores but in prosperous Haryana, there's one regressive institution that refuses to embrace modernity. Passing by a gathering of one such band of men - women are never part of this all-male club - you'd think this was an innocuous gathering of village elders. But these are the all-powerful khap panchyats - village elders grouped along caste or community lines and motivated by the need to perpetuate a feudal and patriarchal order. Usually upper caste with land as well as muscle power, these self-styled guardians of a medieval morality dole out "justice" at will. They issue fatwas to ostracise families, declare marriages void, make man and wife brother and sister and order abortions. The guilty can be ostracised, banished from the village, made to drink urine, paraded naked, beaten up or killed. So strong is the influence of these panchyats among villagers and educated class alike that the state machinery fails to react in time to their diktats. Even politicians in Haryana tread carefully for fear of losing their votebanks.

The marriage of Renu and Sunil Malik of Ahulana village in Gohana district was pronounced invalid as they belonged to the same gotra (a system oif lineage). The couple fled to Gujarat with their child. They were tracked down by police (italics mine) and brought back. Renu and her child were sent to a nari niketan and Sunil was put behind bars.

Manoj and Babli of Karora village in Kaithal district were murdered for a same gotra marriage. Their bodies were recovered from a canal in Hisar district."

So far in Delhi this year, Blue Line, a private bus comapny contracted by the municiplaity to service public bus routes, has killed almost 100 people. Pedestrians, bikers, rickshaw drivers, motorists: none are safe from the wandering wheels of the Blue Line.

And in today's article about a mob that lynched ten "suspected" thieves in Calcutta. A "community patrol" saw two boys suspected of being responsible for some recent thefts, and when the boys ran, they chased them. They found them in a house along with 11 others, and proceeded to beat ten of them to death. Two escaped, one was found still alive, barely. The police promised to deal with those who were found guilty. I presume they mean the boy who wasn't quite killed.

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