Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Case of Mistaken Identity!
(aka) Policeman and not a Gentleman?

If you are a resident of Chennai, you surely would have heard about the recent case of mistaken identity leaving a young man in tatters, psychologically and physically. It so happened, that the young man picked up by the police and the suspect were namesakes resulting to the arrest of the wrong man.

And he allegedly suffered the worst night of his life. It seems that he was bodily harmed by the policemen on duty at the station, in the name of interrogation. He was released the next morning, when the police found out their blunder (where the poor man was picked up due to mistaken identity because the wanted man was his namesake), and he was let off with a fifty rupee note in his hand. At that time he was barely able to walk. The incident made the news in the local channels.

This incident of mistaken identity, is another blot on the policing system. I wonder if there aren't any modern methods to interrogation. Who is at fault? What kind of training do they give the policemen for their job? And, what would be the psychological makeup of a man who can wantonly inflict harm on another human, whether by law or otherwise? How can the policing of the society be given to such irresponsible individuals? I would be interested to see a psychological assessment of all the policemen in the country done and a report released.

It is probably not the fault of the policemen. They have been trained to do things in a certain manner. They have not been trained to be sensitive to the fellow human. They are just following protocol.

This may be making the headlines since the person affected is innocent. Now, after this incident, we do know how the accused are inexplicably treated in police stations throughout the country. If the person is treated thus, before he is let back into society, how can we expect him to reform? The law is not just supposed to convict people who commit crime. Isn't it more important to reform people and help them get back into the system.

The law should not just be to catch them and put them in prison. It should be to produce less criminals with every generation.

My argument is simple. If what you have been doing has not been producing results, you are doing it the wrong way [no pun intended]. It is time you changed your approach.

It is interesting to note here that we live in a society where a policeman's presence is essential to make the public obey even an automatic traffic signal. Does it make a serious statement on the values that are imbibed since childhood?

By the way, have we been producing less criminals and less crime happening in the past years after independence? If not, isn't it time for a serious thought to change the system?

Note:This is an article originally published in Jan 2005, when there was an incident of an innocent civilian falling prey to a case of mistaken identity, in the southern Indian city of Madras, re-christened Chennai. And, that case is forgotten. Another thought that occurred to me about this case of mistaken identity, is that it could be happening every day in different places. The results could probably be hilarious, unlike in this case, where sadly an individual is probably scarred for life.

KISSing and the art of doing things right!

Gotcha! I made you click there, didn't I? Now, I have to worry about making you read through this entire piece. Actually, this piece is all about the principle of KISSing. You were not tricked into clicking on the link. But, speaking the language of a lawyer, I merely presented the truth differently.

In everyday life, there are a lot of things happening that should not be. But what brings some to the limelight is the prominence of those involved. Or the scandalous nature of it vis a vis the present day scenario.

Well, I believe every one of us has holiness inside. To attribute holiness only to a few select individuals is probably the reason that we see the kind of ruckus created when a head of a religious organisation or institute or a person high in the power hierarchy allegedly does an unholy thing [Holy and unholy is again a relative thing. What is right in one culture and one part of the world is wrong in another. What is punishable by death in one gets only a few years in prison in another. Who is a martyr in one is a terrorist in another]

While a similar incident elsewhere will probably give the offender a punishment, a teenaged girl who was allegedly exploited by her own people is being given the death penalty in Iran.

We are not talking about any specific incident, but about how an individual's understanding of right and wrong can change the largest democracy in the world most positively.

From my experience, if one gets a chance to flout rules, one will certainly do. Unless somebody is watching, or he/she fears being caught. That probably is a result of how we have been brought up. A simple example would be to watch an unmanned traffic signal from a hidden position. Probably, nine out of 10 vehicles would jump the signal. How do you prevent that from happening? Install a gadget at the top of the signal and tell people that it is a camera [never mind the box is empty]. Make sure that the people are aware that the instrument is watching them. Publicise in the leading papers that so many people (some cooked up figure, with photos of people in court) have been fined in the past week for flouting unmanned traffic signals. Keep doing it regularly and you will see a marked improvement in people following traffic rules.

Coming to the point, if you do something, you do it out of your interest in it. You do it because you like it. It may be wrong from a different point of view, but still you do it because you like it.

I think all the world's problems would be solved if we kept to the KISS principle (Keeping it simple).

Let us start (and end) with an individual's right and wrong. Don't do a thing that can probably hurt another, in any which way. It can be a small thing as watching both ways before crossing the road, not crossing the roads in junctions to serious things such as not resorting to hartals, bandhs etc, where for the benefit of a certain section of the people, a majority of the populace are put into tribulations.

We are all victims of our emotions. I believe we are all trying to come into terms with it in our lifetime.

My KISS theory is,

Do whatever you like to do, intensely.
But do not do whatever you like to do, if what you do will adversely affect another.

Let us start teaching this rule to our children at school.
So, the next generation will live life happier.

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