Thursday, January 10, 2013

Heal the World, Read Times of India..


If you want to know all that is wrong in India, all you need to do is pay the newspaper vendor 2 bucks and get a copy of the Times of India.

Like the other day, as part of its new found aura of social responsibility it had a wonderfully long article on the front page of the Pune Times on the evils of ragging. Needless to say, since Pune Times is an “Advertorial and Promotional feature” and the article was bloody long (at least longer than what I normally get the chance to read”, there was no way for me to know whether it wanted to advertise & promote ragging in colleges or dissuade people from ragging in colleges.

This article had all the standard Pune Times “glamour”. It had some Bollywood photo depicting ragging (3 Idiots, but of course). It had some two-pence celebrities telling their experiences of ragging in colleges. One smart ass actually told the story of how his cousin was ragged in college, and how that was an emotionally traumatic experience for him. For some reason he also mentioned in the same quote that his cousin has forgotten that incident, but this dude was traumatised enough to make a movie about it. 

I skipped through most of it, (I mean, who reads Pune Times for its journalistic excellence?) till I came to very the end, in a bright red box with bold white font was my absolute favourite TOI section.

Times View.

In case you have not heard about it, Times View is where the editors of ToI decide that they should show off their vast and superior knowledge of all that is just and fair in this world, and you know, for the benefit of the reader guide him through what is an absolute horror that this world has now become. This applies to politics, sports, civics and everything else where the ToI believes that the nation has a right to know. (It is another matter that with a circulation of approx. 7.65 million in a country of 1.2 billion, TOI has the eyes of roughly 0.58% of India’s population, or as a wise Parsi man once told me – “A dimple on the arse of an ant that sits on the arse of an elephant”)

Anyway, such insignificant details should not bother us.

This beautiful piece of socially relevant journalism had this fabulous insight.
Those found ragging should be punished severely, so it acts as a deterrent. We need stricter laws, applicable nationwide. Institutions should be vigilant and take immediate disciplinary action against senior students who rag.
Now, raise your hands all those who think that what we need in India is stricter laws.

Seriously?? We waste 7 million trees every day on tripe like this??

We have laws made from the 1860’s still in place.

We have laws where you can face serious jail time for a speech.

We have laws where a Facebook post can cause you to be booked for sedition (it’s never been done 
before, but it’s possible. Look it up).

We have laws which still allow the death penalty.

That’s how strict our laws are.  

Our problem is not that we don’t have enough strict laws. Our problem is that we have too many strict laws.

In case you haven’t figured out yet, I have serious issues with this state of affairs. Two serious issues, at least.

One, given the strictness of the laws, the system always has to decide whether a. a crime was committed and if it was, then b. whether the crime merits the strictest possible punishment. This takes up a lot of time, (especially since we have 1.2 billion people, so the possible permutations are beyond the standard excel sheet). This, delays the entire judicial process and the justice is served at times when it is completely irrelevant.

And that is not taking into account frivolous charges, for which there is no penalty on someone placing frivolous charges.

Two, when someone is caught for the crime, everyone involved (investigator, investigated, support resources) takes all this into account and then individually determines whether it is worth going through this rigmarole or negotiate a suitable punishment among all concerned instead of going through the entire judicial system. Some people call this corruption, but in essence it is a bargaining tool for not having to go through years of litigation.  

All this nonsense about the government needing to be a stricter school principal is hogwash and cynical.

School principals need to be better at being school principals.

The world will then be a better place.. 
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