DailyOh! The quickest death sentence in India to why wear yellow on Basant Panchami
You are celebrating Basant Panchami in yellow, but Egypt doesn’t like the colour.
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Isn’t the month appearing a rather long one to you? Feels like we exchanged those New Year greetings months back. (It also doesn't help that our wallets are groaning and empty bank accounts are waiting for the salary to hit.) Yet, when the year would end, it would feel like the year went by rather quick. It’s the same feeling every year. But here we were talking about this month — not the year. The month of January. Not that the month was extra long, it just felt like it was. Maybe you don’t feel that. Maybe it went by rather quick for you.
Time and its passage are relative for us.
For some of us, the journey from 2012 to now has been as quick as the blink of an eye. For others, it has been a never-ending ordeal. Asha Devi, the mother of the Delhi gang-rape victim, has been fighting a battle to ensure the rapists and murderers of her daughter be hanged till death since 2012. Today, the Supreme Court rejected the review of the presidential order that rejected Mukesh Singh’s mercy petition.
Nirbhaya's rapist and murderer Mukesh Singh. (Source: India Today)
A convict, who has been sentenced to death, can appeal for mercy. The President of India can reject that mercy plea. Now, the convict can challenge the ground on which the mercy plea has been rejected. Some may think the process is too long. But then, since we can’t return to life a person who has been given the death sentence, it is only fair to give that person all opportunities to appeal.
One of the grounds on which Singh had wanted his mercy plea be reconsidered was that his was the fastest rejection of a mercy petition ever. You can read about the other grounds mentioned in Singh's plea here.
There is, however, no timeframe within which a mercy petition needs to be decided upon — no upper or lower limits exist. Singh’s petition was rejected in four days flat.
But this back and forth of petitions and pleas has ensured that death sentences take a very long time to be carried out. Let us tell you that death sentences can be cancelled if there is a long gap between the sentencing and the actual hanging. Why, you may ask. The Supreme Court thinks it is a violation of a person's human rights to have to deal with this uncertainity for too long.
In India, however, things do take time. Even the quickest execution took three years. No, it wasn’t the death sentence awarded to terrorist Ajmal Kasab. Kasab’s was the second fastest. The fastest was the one given to Ramchandra alias Raoji. Now, Raoji was a native of Banswara in Rajasthan.
So what did he do? Why the death sentence?
Well, the man killed his family, including his pregnant wife and their three children. The fifth person Raoji killed was his neighbour. Raoji suspected that his wife had an extra-marital affair and that the three boys he killed were born out of his wife’s physical relations with other men. After killing four of his own family, Raoji went to his neighbour's house and tried to kill a woman who was deep in sleep. As the woman’s father-in-law woke up and came to her rescue, Raoji attacked him with the same axe he had used to kill his family. The father-in-law died. All this happened on May 6, 1993.
Raoji was executed on May 4, 1996, three years after the killing.
His mercy petition had gone to the then-President Shankar Dayal Sharma. It got rejected within six days.
While Raoji suspected his children were not actually his children, former Belgian king, Albert II, refused to accept that his daughter, Delphine Boel, was his daughter. Boel then made Albert II undergo a paternity test, forcing him to accept that he indeed was the father. Read the full details of the case here.
Did you think only former chief minister and Congress leader ND Tiwari did that to his son Rohit Shekhar Sharma?
Both Delphine and Rohit were born out of wedlock, so it was easy for Tiwari and Albert II, respectively, to refuse to acknowledge them as their children. However, both sets of parents and child had to go through long legal battles to prove the truth.
Rohit, however, didn’t live long after that. In 2019, he was killed by his own wife. What a terrible murder it was. If you want to know about that murder in detail — which we are sure you do — read this.
But we were talking about paternity tests. Do you know how the world’s first paternity test was conducted?
Legend has it that in the 12th century, a distraught woman approached priest St Anthony. The woman had just delivered a child but her husband refused to acknowledge the child as his own.
After the woman’s persuasion, Anthony agreed to visit the woman’s home. Once he reached there, he turned to the infant and asked, “Tell me child, who is your father?” The baby pointed to husband. What next?
They lived happily ever after.
Do you find that hard to believe? We do as well.
Anyway, paternity tests today aren't as simple (thankfully).
Through much of the 19th and 20th centuries, paternity remained an answerless riddle. The first advancements, however, came around 1930s. Now, blood groups were discovered a little before that, but in 1930s, scientists found out that blood groupings were hereditary. This, for sure, wasn’t really a test that could give you THE answer. It was better at predicting who is not a child’s father, than who is.
The modern DNA testing, which Tiwari and Albert II had to undergo, came around 1980s.
From Belgium’s Boel, let’s get you back to India and what is preoccupying India at the moment — the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC) protests. The protesters of Shaheen Bagh have now decided to move their agitation to Jantar Mantar. You might be wondering why they are moving. We thought so too.
The thing about protests is that it needs to constantly keep experimenting and trying new things, else it gets boring. Pretty much like every other thing in life.
The Shaheen Bagh protests got famous and all, but then it is so possible for many even in Delhi to dismiss it as a protest limited to a certain area of the city.
The National Capital Territory of Delhi covers an area of 1,484 square kilometres. Shaheen Bagh is just a tiny speck in that 1,484 sq-km area. To reach out to a larger audience and to keep the government on the edge, the protesters moved.
The Dadis of Shaheen Bagh, as the women have come to be called since a lot of elderly women participated in the protests and spoke out against NRC and CAA, were joined by students from JNU and Jamia.
Let us take a moment to take you back to the beginning of all this. You might recall that the first major clash with regards to CAA and NRC happened in Jamia Millia Islamia. That happened over a month ago, on December 15, 2019.
And somehow, as we were thinking about Jamia, the word caught our fancy. And you have guessed it right, Jamia, is indeed our Word Of The Day.
In Arabic, Jamia means gathering. This gathering could be a mosque, or more generally, a university. In the latter sense, it refers to a modern university as opposed to the medieval madrasa.
Have you ever been corrected for writing or saying Jamia Millia Islamia University?
Since Jamia itself means university, adding university at the end of Jamia Millia Islamia is simply useless.
And now since you know it, you can correct people who say Jamia Millia Islamia University. You can also add that Millia means ‘national’ and Islamia comes from Islam, which essentially means peace.
Oh! But we forgot to mention today happens to be Basant Panchami. Some celebrate the day as Saraswati Puja, to pay their tributes and say their thanks to the Hindu Goddess of Learning and Wisdom. Hope you found the time to celebrate, in case you do like celebrating this one, that is.
Some are celebrating it tomorrow too. And we have no clue as to which one is the right day. We suggest celebrate both days. Nothing better than celebrations in these anyway-dreary times.
But whether you celebrate Basant Panchami or Saraswati Puja, you might know that wearing yellow is important. Some even like to eat dishes that are yellow in colour. Want to know how to cook a meal, which is all yellow in colour? Read this. (Noooo! Yellow dal is not on the menu.)
While we can’t help you decide whether Basant Panchami is today or tomorrow or on both the days, we can help you know why yellow is the colour of the festival.
Yellow is basically the colour of sunshine. It’s related to vibrancy and considered to bring health and happiness (in these coronavirus-affected, gloomy days, a bit of both would be very welcome). But before everything else yellow is the colour of spring.
Basant Panchami is also the time when mustard crops flower and entire fields turn yellow. Such a done-to-death background for photos and yet so lovely. Do you even have a count as to how many times you watched that song 'Tujhe Dekha To Ye Jaana Sanam' from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge, shot in that mustard field? Here, watch again if you want to:
Bright yellow is an attention-snatching colour, and when used with black, it creates one of the easiest colour combinations to read and see from long distances. Reason why those milestones by the road are a combination of black and yellow.
Did you notice that the Aam Aadmi Party too has most of its advertisement material painted or written in yellow this election season?
So, yellow is all about happiness and warm sunshine?
Not if you are in Egypt. In Egypt, it is the colour of mourning.
But you stay happy and healthy.
Meet you tomorrow!