The village of Bhawankheri, Uttar Pradesh was not known by many as it is just another part of the rural India until one incident made it the center of many news discussions. Shabnam Ali, a simple looking woman, with a double MA in English and Geography, is going to be the first woman to be hanged till death in the history of independent India.
Reason? Love they say, delusion it seems. The woman conspired with her partner Saleem, who too got the capital punishment, the murder of her own family. She gave them sedatives and axed all the seven relatives, who included her mother and father too, in their sleep. The family had objected to her decision of marrying Saleem who comes from a different caste, she being a Saifi and the guy being a Pathan, and background as the guy was 6th fail. Shabnam gave birth to a child named Taj in jail itself who now lives with his adoptive parents Usmani Saifi and Vandana. Gruesome is a small word to denote this act. Nevertheless, it also gives us a revelation of some harsh truths about how an emotion like love could be twisted to stain lives with blood.
Firstly, people who are trying to use the facts that Shabnam is a woman, has a son, is double MA, was misguided in love etc. to create sympathy for her must stop. Can any amount of victimization really balance such a heinous crime? As for her child, parenting is an important part of one’s life and how can we demand a young boy to be raised by a mother who didn’t think twice before throttling her 10 months old nephew? Thus, instead of engaging him in these tiring judicial processes, shouldn’t we care more about him leading a life shielded from the hatred the society might throw at him even though he has no role to play in all this. Shouldn’t we care more about his education, his safe childhood, his mental health etc.?
A crime mostly has two reasons behind it. Either the circumstances in one’s life and some birth defect leading to mental illness or an inbuilt lust towards crime which remains suppressed until the time, place and situation come in sync. Thus, rather than either looking for the reason to dilute the gravity of this act or targeting the convict, focus must be on how to stop such incidences all together. Here, we see how education or family background couldn’t play a role from stopping someone from brutality, thus, techniques like mental mapping must be brought into play. Also, awareness campaigns, counselling session must be made as common as other health camps by public hospitals and other institutions.
As for love, many now-a-days are getting this weird idea of destruction be it of self or otherwise when it comes to such emotions. Our life guides, that is, our parents and teachers can hold the responsibility at this front. From a young age people must be guided to not destroy their present for some imaginary future. Loving oneself first could filter a lot of wrong people as well as intentions, even if they are our own, from our lives and for that value system must be strengthened.
Shabnam Ali and Saleem wrote their death by their own hands. Unfortunately, a child also got dragged in this unknowingly. But leaving this to the justice system and focusing more on the responsibility we have for the society which is out of those gallows must be a priority. After all, no one traces that path is an aim every sane mind would strive to achieve.