Punishment

When I was growing up suicide was very uncommon, almost unheard of.

 

I had seen one suicide, committed by a very poor man, who once possessed vast amount of agricultural land, which was stolen from him and as a result he was left with nothing. He lost every single member of his family. He became very old and was unable to work and probably he had no other choice.

 

Another young man in our village, I heard from my mother because I was not even born at that time, tried to commit suicide because his parents did not give him any food for seven days and did not let him stay at home. His fault was that he drank water from the house of a lower caste family. After starving for seven days at a stretch when he could not withstand hunger anymore he tried to hang himself from the branch of a tree, the branch broke and he fell on the ground but he did not suffer from any severe injury. Eventually he was purified, thanks to a Brahmin priest, who made him eat a spoon full of cow dung and he was taken back in his family.

 

However it would be appropriate to mention that when I grew up the caste barrier was not there in our village but since a barrier has to be there, it was there between rich and poor.

 

Our lives were no better than the lives of present day boys; in fact it was worse, much-much worse. We used to receive so much punishment and withstood so much humiliation at home and at school that we used to think that if we could survive that episode of assault we would become better person. Of course it never happened and we repeated our mistakes and our teachers and parents ‘made no mistake’ to fulfill their part of the obligation.

 

However with 20-20 hindsight I can realize that the severe punishment which we withstood without loss of our lives only made us realize the value of life.

 

We understand how important life is only when our lives are in danger and our existence is threatened.

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