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Sunday, July 24, 2005

into the jaws of death

When we hear of encounter deaths and deaths perpetrated by upholders of the law we find it difficult to come to terms with reality.

How fragile is our safety? If the goons don’t get us, someone else will. I refer to the gruesome incident in London’s tube rail where as many as five bullets are pumped by the police into the body of an innocent person, on the mere suspicion that he is not what he looks like.

It is an accepted fact of life that man is not immortal, life carries with it the tag of death. They are inseparable, he who lives must die. All of us desire normal deaths which creep slowly upon us as we shed one year after another. With the passage of time, our faculties keep surrendering one by one to the inevitable, they gradually lose their effectiveness, they start to malfunction and members of the medical fraternity rub their hands in glee and pounce on us to extract as much as possible from him who is on the last lap of his journey on the road to meet his Maker.

These are deaths one expects, the aged and the infirm have to make way for the young. Once such a death occurs, the members of the immediate family go into mourning, they perform the necessary rituals and life goes on – the death causes minor, practically unnoticeable, ripples.

But when the departure is sudden, everyone is caught unawares. It becomes difficult to console those who are affected; the reason may be an accident, or a disease. At times, the person who dies takes it upon himself to leave this world on his own. Because he is unable to bear the torture that nature heaps upon them, he takes the easy way out. He is selfish; he does not bother about how those he leaves behind and how they will continue in his absence. It is true as much for a teenager as for one who is older.

And, the worst is when death is a result of snuffing out a life intentionally – on one side of this coin is an act that has the sanction of Society, the other side where there is no such sanction. Those who are responsible for the former are usually personnel of the armed forces and those who are entrusted with maintaining the law and order situation viz. the police and paramilitary forces. Those who make the latter happen are murderers.


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