death penalty and hinduism
July 15, 2016 - single portrait
our reliable driver who always kept an eye on our safety and joy on the roadtrip through rajasthan and uttar pradesh, in bikaner arranged for a guide at junagarh fort. the guide’s name was shailhindra calling himself jitu (which means hero or the one who always wins). He was around his late thirties or maybe 40, approximately a bit older than my age. he at the first glance directly appeared like very confident but not self-absorbed, just convinced of his valuable service. indeed, all indian guides tell their customers they only have to pay when they get away completely satisfied, but jitu i believed more than others (even though not fully which is part of the game). he just had it. his english was fluent, he was highly educated with a good sense of humor. jitu told us that he actually was a tailor but became a tourist guide for better salary. as he turned out exgotiating and interested with no reservation towards an inspired and serious discussion with a woman we talked about the recent suicide attacks in pakistan and ended up in considering the difficult option of death penalty for terrorist murderers. he was torn because he was a devout Hindu, he wore the tik as a sign that he had offered his morning prayers in the temple. and i was torn because i am a pacifist by natural firm conviction, not for religious reasons. therefore we both refuse violence against any living creature, death penalty is completely unacceptable. but how to deal with indivuals who not only respect the life of others but don’t give a sh** for their own lives? paradoxically (and for those being torn like jitu and myself, fortunately) it remains a plain theoretical question when it comes to suicide assassins. hinduism doesn’t provide any answers on this. even though a religion that is based on the idea of karma, resurrection and repetition is way more indulgent than a monotheism, it doesn’t include practical instructions for modern world complexity. we didn’t get to any results, and while the subject was life and death we both enjoyed the talk very much, though.
in fact this was the only actual talk that happened accidently on the street in india. not that we or people hadn’t been willing but language can be a huge obstacle when it comes to serious talking, while hands and feet and smile might be more than enough to communicate in everyday situations. though a tourist still remains just a tourist in a rather save and damped bubble not very much entangled by the real life and attitudes of real people who have no need to pretend to be somebody or something different. they somehow remain flat and pale in a strange way, i am sure it’s alike the other way around. but that’s how it is when a stranger meets a stranger. get your chance and don’t settle for what you get served, don’t judge a book by its cover, don’t give up early and dive as deep as you can in your life experience. you probably have only one turn.