Can you Kill?

— Dipankar Nath


Let me define what I mean by “kill” in the question.

By “Kill” I do not mean in anger or in rage.

By “Kill” I do not mean killing an enemy in battle.

By “Kill” I do not mean when you do it in self defence.

When I mean kill, then I mean that it has to be in cold blood. You need to plan it meticulously. You should be ready to see to it that every bit of life is snuffed out of that person. You have to see the light go out of the person’s eyes.

For the record, I am not posing this question to a professional hitman, and I am hopeful no professional hitman is reading this.

I am posing this question to you. Yes you, dear reader. You who are like me. You, who like me is full of life and blood. You, who can think, read, write, paint and do what not. You, can you kill someone like you? Do you have it in you?

I was forced into pondering this question when the Supreme Court upheld the capital punishment of Ajmal Kasab. Let me spell it out to you clearly. I wanted him dead too. Likewise I am sure that some part of you wanted him dead too. Of course the relatives of the people who had perished on that horrible day definitely wanted him dead, but I am not posing this question to them. I wanted him dead, you wanted him dead, and I am posing this question to us.

But then could you kill him? (Or as I asked myself could I kill him?)

The question resonated more in my mind when I read that there are few hangmen to be found in India. It must have been hard to find one for Kasab. It could have happened that our dreams would not have been fulfilled unless of course one of us volunteered to be the hangman.

It’s not a tough job you see, except for the fact that you are not paid except for the fact that you won’t be paid (sounds familiar eh!). What you just need to do is, I quote from Wikipedia “the person’s height and weight” are to be “used to determine how much slack would be provided in the rope so that the distance dropped would be enough to ensure that the neck was broken, but not so much that the person was decapitated”.

Given that we have all the know-how to hang someone would you do it?

I knew the answer myself of course. No, I am not taking a moralistic high ground of “it is below me to kill someone” and such nonsense. Believe me, killing anything that shows signs of intellegence is not a pleasant experience. I definitely do not have it in me to snuff out someone’s life. I simply cannot tighten the deathly noose myself.

But then I am so tired of people giving out judgments on their own. “He should have been hanged ages go”, “Why did they take so long?” I felt like screaming “Could you hang him?”. Of course I didn’t scream then, I didn’t know how to respond, and I still don’t. May be some one is stronger than me and have it in them, but I am sure most of us don’t. It is sad, that as people full of life we are forced to think about such things. I don’t know how the world should have turned out but I definitely wouldn’t want the one we have now. But that is all we have. And we have to live in it. We have to want someone dead whether we like it or not. Someone else wants us dead, whether it is our fault or not. The melancholy in the air seems so overwhelming.

But alas he had to die! Yes, Kasab had to die. I feel respect for those police officers who brought him alive even though he had murdered their colleagues, but maybe they should have shot him then, when they could have.

I feel sorry for the hangman who carried out his death sentence. But of course he would’ve be the one who comes out with a definite answer to this article. He is the one who had the courage to do it.

As for us! Most of us are the hangmen/women we will never be!


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