If I ask you to fill in the above blank, and you say, ‘India is the best’ then yeah we are on the same page or else we’ll definitely be after reading this.
Today I have got two stories for you from this great land of India, and I am pretty sure you all have posted/tweeted or debated or at the very least heard about one of them.
My roommate and a very good friend of mine told me this first one around 3-4 years ago when I was out there staying in some P.G. preparing for JEE, when it actually meant something and not every geek who just got 99% in secondary exams was able to get into a decent college. I think it was around October and we were filling up online applications for these exams, when I got to know that my friend belonged to the OBC category. I wasn’t surprised because I am racist or something it’s just that I had stayed with him for almost two whole years then and we three(there was one more guy) had literally discussed what shape our shit was making today in the toilet, but we didn’t knew about the OBC thing.
So, he began telling his story that how his maternal grandfather was head of panchayat of their village and how he had arranged fake OBC certificates, for everyone in their family, to be used if required. In the midst of all my yelling that this isn’t this wrong and all; he shut me up by quoting the same thing I said one fine day, when we were discussing the same topic of reservation in India, that, ‘Okay, this system isn’t great and all but if I had the chance to take some advantage in this bizarre system of bullshit, I would be more than happy to exploit it.’
You know when something very unexpected happens and you keep on checking that again and again just to make sure if it really is happening and still have a teeny-tiny hope that one of those times it will change, that is what I was doing that night with his registration form when I noticed that this is not the day we beat him with belts and rub cake all over his face. His birthday was also not right in the official documents.
But, we couldn’t blame him for that, this was just how things worked in his village generally because while making birth certificates they mention the date-of-birth 6 months or 1 year younger than the actual age. The logic behind this is somewhat like this, that they want their children to appear a little younger and more mature than real for marriage or whatever. Now you may think that birth certificates are issued right after birth, then how the hell do they do this. That’s why I told you the OBC thing first to give you the idea that if making OBC certificate is not big deal here then how difficult is making a false birth certificate.
Okay, you may not have heard about that one but here comes the famous one.
Second story is not a personal one and if I start at the beginning this will be longer than Ramayana. So let me try to put it in a single line:
“A juvenile who brutally raped and murdered a 23- year old medical college girl, is being released after 3-years of imprisonment because ‘according to his date-of-birth’ he was 6 months away from being 18 at that time.”
You wanna know a coincidence. My friend’s original date-of-birth was 26-10-1992 and the fake one was 12-04-1993. And he got in one of those old time trouble where some college dudes tried to flirt with his girl and asked him to back-off in a not-so-polite way. Of how much I know him and the amount he had told me about this, he wasn’t the one to just do nothing. Let’s just say that things got a little out of hand and my friends’ hand was fractured; how it was fractured was because one of those dudes hit so hard, on his hand, with his nose; or maybe it was other way around. His uncle who was also his lawyer got him out of the police trouble on the basis that he was a juvenile and 6 months away from being 18. Thanks to false birth certificate huh.
Okay enough with the coincidences, now coming to the moral questions everyone is asking today i.e. is convicting him right or wrong? And more importantly, should the law be changed and under 16 should be considered juvenile? Because even if the law is changed now, he will be judged according to the previous laws.
Now while answering this, I am no expert in this area, but I did some research and here’s what I have come to understand about there thinking.
v Children are the future if the country, so killing them should be avoided as much as possible. Yeah, completely agree with that.
v Some children may come under bad habits like lying, thefts or raping etc. but with proper effort they can changed back to ‘normal’ so that they can contribute to the development of nation. Couldn’t agree more, Change is the only thing I completely trust these days.
Fact: 20% of released juvenile victims in India are homeless or been abandoned by their families.
Now the solution they some are providing is that age of deciding juvenile should be dropped to 16.
Now let’s say that this law transformation happens and here is the headline of 2020:
15 years 7 months boy brutally raped and killed his step sister.
And here is the headline of 2023:
People demand age of juvenile to be decreased to 14 want the boy to be executed.
Okay, what now? We will again be standing exactly where we are right now, which clearly means that reducing the juvenile age is not a great idea.
Now I don’t have the perfect solution but I just see a flaw and here’s something to think about for you:
How can you say for sure that a child/person after proper therapy can be changed back to normal or not, taking into consideration everyone else’s safety? Because there are many examples where people change even in their 90s and there are even some Hannibal Lectors who take advantage of these loopholes.
Now here is what we do whenever we couldn’t find the solution to some problem: Look what other countries are doing especially The Unites States.
I wish, I really-really wish, I could say that one of the 50 US state system or the French or the UK juvenile system of supervised schooling is amazing. Even there, it has always been a topic of discussion and is still going on…