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Should capital punishment stay?

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and
conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. - Article 1 of the United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

MEN ARE born free of all crimes and errors, but in due course of time they adopt what their surroundings
teach them. It is the society and the environment from which human beings acquire all the evils. Men
practise what society and family teach them. What is taught to him has a bearing on his ethics and morals.
So is it better to punish him? Or is it better to reform him?

An infant is free of all the sentiments and inclinations, much like a blank slate. Whatever is written is written
either by his family or the people surrounding him. He does not write anything himself. He adapts to the life
that the society has gifted him. Although the concept of evil-free men is not accepted by all, reforming
human action is being carried out for ages. Jeremy Bentham, while advocating the natural rights of human
race, suggested many reforms. His jail reforms were considered as the Magna Carta of prisoner’s rights and
reforms. Along with him, many social scientists have regularly opposed the concept of capital punishment.
Gautam Buddha once advocated the dignity of human life while talking to Angulimaal, who was reformed
into becoming a saint by Buddha.

Many who believe in strict punitive action against any breach of law never accept the dignity of human life.
For them, a culprit should enjoy no human rights. Almost 1,252 people around the world faced death-penalty
through various methods in the year 2007, with China topping the list with 470 estimated capital
punishments.

India is no exception, although the country lags far behind its neighbourChina. There is a hue and cry being
raised over the death penalty. A majority suggests that the criminals be hanged for the crimes committed
under section 302 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). But the question that still remains unanswered is
whether capital punishment is the final solution. It may be although I don’t think so. Leave apart the human
issues. Politically, is it right to allow the culprit to get away with all his crimes without allowing him to repent
of his sins before he dies? Yes, let the criminal live either to reform himself or to face life with some
constructive pursuits. ‘Hate the crime and not the criminal’ is what one should believe in.

If man is not eternal and his actions are the reflections of what he has learnt from the society, how can the
society punish him for the actions gifted by it in the first place? Society should reform itself first and then it
should reform the individuals. Most of the crimes committed are either a reaction to the atrocities
perpetrated in the past or the abusive childhood a criminal has gone through. Punishment is not the
solution. The crimes in our society can only be prevented by providing just and equal opportunities to all.
The root cause of crime can also be found in the famous ‘Theory of Revolution’, enunciated some 2,300
years back by Aristotle. Also the mother of crime can be located in the studies of Rousseau, who said, “The
first crime was committed on the day when someone fenced a piece of land and said, ‘This is mine’.” So
mine and thine are the mother of all crimes in this world.

So let us make a just world where equality, dignity and equity rule. Let us say no to inhuman practices and
make this world a better place to live in.