Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Aruna Shanbaug and Supreme Court

On 2/3/2011 Aruna Shanbaug’s case came up in the Supreme Court.  Pinki Virani wanted Aruna Shanbaug dead.  Attorney General Vahanvati wanted Aruna Shanbaug to live.

I have some questions.

Who authorized Pinki Virani to file a petition on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug?  Aruna Shanbaug did not authorize her.  She is not a member of Aruna Shanbaug’s family.

Pinki Virani is not Aruna Shanbaug’s caretaker.  Why does she want to become her undertaker?

What is right to live with dignity?

Why is right to die is presented as right to live with dignity?

What should be the punishment for someone who wants to kill someone through starvation?

I have my answers.

Pinki Virani had no business to file a petition on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug, more so when it sought to end her life.

KEM Hospital has taken care of Aruna Shanbaug.  The nurses of hospital have no problem.  Pinki Virani is not losing any money if Aruna Shanbaug continues to live.  Pinki Virani made money by writing a book about Aruna Shanbaug’s suffering.  It seems Pinki Virani wants Aruna Shanbaug dead because she can write another book about her death and make more money.  Pinki Virani is a vulture waiting for Aruna Shanbaug to die and then feed on her corpse.

Right to live is inalienable and not absolute.  The state can hang murderers to death.  However right to live is unqualified and it can be with or without dignity because dignity is subjective.  What is life with dignity for someone can be life without dignity for someone else.    If being blind, deaf, dumb or lame means life without dignity than all such people need to be put to death.  According to some, 80% of Indians do not live a life of dignity.  That means 80% of Indians do not deserve to live.

Pinki Virani is asking for right to die, not for herself but for Aruna Shanbaug, as right to live with dignity.  The law does not provide for right to die.  Suicide is an offence.  So right to die is presented as right to live with dignity.  It is asking for euthanasia to be legalized.

What Pinki Virani wants is death of Aruna Shanbaug through starvation.  Aruna Shanbaug is not brain dead.  She is not on life support system.  If food is not given to her she will starve for several days before death, a cruel way to die and not death with dignity.  To kill someone through starvation is murder.  Punishment for attempted murder should be the punishment for someone who wants to kill someone through starvation.  Someone should file a case against Pinki Virani for attempted murder of Aruna Shanbaug.

It is perverse to punish victims.  Criminals should be punished.  It would have been right if Pinki Virani had campaigned for change of law and death to the criminal responsible for Aruna Shanbaug’s state.  There is something wrong with people who want murderers and high criminals to live and oppose death penalty but want innocent people and victims to die, often without their knowledge and consent.

Irom Sharmila who is on hunger strike against AFSPA in Manipur is force fed.  Sometimes people on hunger strike are force fed.

It is not for the society to decide who should live and who should die because there is no society, only individuals and families.

Mercy killing is an oxymoron.  When you show mercy you don’t kill.

It seems a lobby that wants to legalise euthanasia is at work

Doctors’ report that there is no chance of recovery of Aruna Shanbaug is immaterial and may be wrong.  There are several cases where doctors have certified people dead and those people have woken up during funeral processions.

Aruna Shanbaug should live.  If the Supreme Court decides in favour of Aruna Shanbaug continuing to live, well and good.  If not it means the Supreme Court had sentenced Aruna Shanbaug to death by starvation and Attorney General or someone else should file a review petition and if that does not succeed.  After that there should be mercy petition to President to save Aruna Shanbaug’s life.  Whatever be the case the nurses should not stop feeding Aruna Shanbaug.

Aruna Shanbaug and Right to live

5 Comments

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  1. I am so relieved to see this post. Thank you!

    Over these last few weeks I have been sickened to see all the misreporting over Aruna, used strong words like “brain dead” which bias readers to favor “mercy” killing. As you say, Aruna is NOT brain dead. “Brain dead” is a well-defined medico-legal term that requires multiple examinations and certification by a team of doctors, not a term to be typed out by a staff reporter in a hurry to make a sensational headline. Amazingly her “friend” Ms. Virani has not bothered to correct such a severe and widespread inaccuracy, possibly because it supports what she is trying to do. I just don’t understand what locus standi Ms. Virani has in all this…

    I am always dismayed at how people assume that their definition of dignity should be imposed on others. I am very upset at how easily people are dismissing off the true stakeholders here, the nurses who are serving Aruna with obvious affection and exemplary care. And if there is any truth to the hypothesis that people can understand emotions and words even if they are unable to communicate, I can only hope that 36 years of such love would have served to heal the trauma Aruna underwent that awful night.

    How can anyone suggest starving someone who is still capable of enjoying food, and call it “natural death” is very strange indeed. Anyone would die if starved…and is that “mercy”?

    There are many persons in the world who suffer from irreversible health conditions, and there are enough persons who cannot see or hear or communicate. Many persons spend years being bed-ridden. Would Ms. Virani file a case for each and every one of these because they do not fit her definition of dignity and “life”?

    What really frightens me, however, is how so many people are supporting her…

    Again, thank you for this post…

  2. Well said. I salute you.

  3. In between all this debate about who has rights on voicing someone else’ voice, the focus is moving away from where it should be.
    All i ask of you is to imagine yourself getting a little burn on one side of your body and being advised strict bed rest by the doctor such that the burnt area does not touch the sheet .. in other words, you cannot flip to the other side. Moreover, all those around you have no language in common with you (you are out of context about what they talk) .. though they are all talking about what best can be done for you, you hardly understand any bit of it .. You are provided with anything and everything you need at regular intervals, just that you cannot ask for it, you have to scream .. Assume such a situation for a week .. and then lets discuss about what is right or wrong .. of course, being starved to death is no mercy killing .. being allowed to pass out in one’s sleep through active euthanasia is a more appropriate and respectful goodbye. Someone who is brain dead would hardly require euthanasia .. its the ones not being brain dead but in a vegetable like state, who require it the most

  4. Hats off!

    You too have ‘muscles on tongue’

    Miracles do happen.

    Search for Aruna-shanbaug in blogspot dot com

  5. I saw Ms. Swapna Kishore’s post & want to ask her, ma’am do you even understand what 37 years means?? Aruna is bed ridden from last 37 years, now you should spare her from all these agonies & i guess Ms.Virani is just trying to do that. Moreover what do you think, Aruna’s death would bring any benefit for her. Oh, c’mon, if you think so, then i should say that’s pretty absurd.

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