Out of Depth
- LIVE: ISI supports LeT, JeM and Hizbul, David Headley tells court
- J&K govt formation: Ram Madhav to hold talks with Mehbooba Mufti to break impasse
- Soldier, who survived Siachen avalanche, being flown to Delhi hospital
- DDCA row: Delhi HC dismisses Kirti Azad's plea seeking court-monitored probe
- Net bad assets of govt banks a third of their net worth
Television news was the digital equivalent of Chinese water torture this week. The Modi sweep in Gujarat was a non-story. It had been predicted weeks in advance, but was reported breathlessly, blow by dramatic blow. It was as fake as freestyle wrestling, since the outcome had always been fairly clear.
So it was a relief on Friday when Narendra Caesar's triumph had run its scripted course and more airtime could go to an event that was shockingly unexpected, yet utterly predictable. The gangrape in Delhi is proving to be a turning point in the perception of gender crime in India, like the latest US school shooting urges a long-deferred reappraisal of attitudes to lethal weapons. Gender and weapons are powerfully emotive issues in the two biggest democracies, with essentialists regarding them as core values, even founding values.
TV is staying with the story of the woman who wants to live despite the horror visited upon her. NDTV and a few other channels have been delivering health updates with the diligence reserved for former presidents and film stars. Her story is a moral tale which reminds us of the power of the human will, even in a subhuman society.
The debate over the story questions our easy tolerance of gender crime. But oddly enough, one did not see the debate on the death penalty reopened. It was endlessly discussed in TV fora when Ajmal Kasab was hanged and the fate of Afzal Guru appeared to hang in the balance. The Delhi gangrape resulted in no fatalities, but that was not for lack of trying. The brutality displayed makes it the rarest of rare crimes. I am completely opposed to the death penalty on the grounds of ethics and efficacy, but for a moment I found myself wondering if a subhuman society like ours can readily understand law which is not barbarically retributive. A point that Manish Tewari made quite forcefully in the days after Kasab's hanging.
- Government must resolve growing burden of non-performing assets
- Outrage over police assault on students is meaningless
- Right to a toilet: For the health, dignity and safety of women in slums
- Raja-Mandala: Maritime India versus Continental Delhi
- The Akhilesh-Mulayam duet
- We have turned our back to the intense food and drinking water distress