Monday, May 3, 2010

Kasab, that I don't know

Who is Ajamal Kasab?
Let me introduce you Kasab, the man I don't know. Ajamal Kasab, is a 22 year, supposedly Pakistani national.Kasab along with other nine Pakistani nationals, entered Mumbai on 26/11/2009 and killed 166 people of Indian and foreign orgin. He was the lone surviving terrorists that was captured by Indian forces. Today after 13 long months( and surprising by a speedy court trial) the lower courts in India declared him guilty on 66 various counts. in couple of days times sentence for his crime will be declared which is either life term in jail or death sentence.

What every Indian and probably every Mumbaiker will never forget about Kasab, was the day when the news paper flashed the photo of this young man in Ak 47, dressed in smart casuals, with carry backpack of a college kid hung on his shoulder, had killed 56 innocent people at CST railway station. What was shocking for millions of people like me was for the first time, they were actually watching the face of the terrorist who had ruthlessly killed people and brought the whole nations in the grips of fear. And that face did not match our idea of a terrorist.

My own understanding of this boy/terrorists is through very few images (4/5 pictures) that are released through the print /electronic media. And few news reports filed about him through the course of trial. yet every time I saw his image I have always wondered who is real Kasab? what is his mind like?

I have gone through various emotions after seeing his images over a period of time, from sheer terror,fear, anger ,rage, helplessness, to apathy and kindness. At 22, Kasab has experienced life which few human beings can imagine. He is now knocking on the door of death to complete the final experience his life. The wait which will kill him more than the death itself.

Today, as the news broke of the verdict, a TV News desk reporter asked his correspondent how was Kasab reacting to this verdict, this is how he etched the picture of Kasab. "I have been watching Kasab in the court for more than year. Kasab when first brought to court, after his capture was young defiant smart, confident, young man. He would look at the judge, or the reporters straight into their eyes, sometimes would smile, talk to his lawyers and sit upright in his white pajamas. He even followed the court hearings. In the early days he would even wish the judge with a Good morning.. and when judge asked him how did he learn this he would try and talk to judge how he is learning Hindi and Marathi words from the prison guards who were overseeing him. But as the proceeding began to drag he began to lose patience, and even confessed of his crime and begged for death sentence, thinking the trial would wind soon. And that did not happen he began to loose hope, his body began to collapse( he had developed medial conditions) which was very evident from his body language. He would no longer look at the reporters, or the judge or even converse to his own lawyer. he would slouch on the chair, and stare at the ground with no emotions. Even today kasab who was unshaven and in white pajamas, did not react to the verdict given by the court."

There are lot of stories floating in media, about Kasab's background in Pakistan . One never knows what is the truth. What I gather from the reports is he was the youngest member of the 10 men squad that attacked Mumbai on 26/11, and one of the best shooters in squad which made him qualify for this mission at such an young age. Kasab may not have been as innocent as he looked, but one thing about kasab is he was certainly not a dumb foot soldier. He is an intelligent man , who just did not get opportunities to channelize his intelligence( learning Marathi or english words shows he was a quick learner). He was looking for avenues that would allow him to express his intelligence and the only opportunities which came his way were not utilized for his best interest. He could have be an excellent Olympic grade sports person,or a language translator if he had talent to learn languages from many other options he could have had. But he became a terrorist. Simply because those opportunities did not come his way.

I don't sympathies with Kasab for the crimes that he committed cannot be condoned. But every time I see his image in the press, will make me wonder will I ever know real Kasab? or will he remain another Unabomber.


  1. I would like to clarify that at no point I want to justify Kasab's acts and suggest that he should not be given capital punishment.As I said I have no sympathies for him for the crimes he has committed cannot be forgiven or forgotten. I have no doubt in my mind that he would get only capital punishment, which i believe is the the only sentence he should get to bring closure to grief and pain that nation suffered.

    But that is besides point, in the blog I wonder what is kasab's mind made of? In what circumstances he turned into a cold blooded murderer? Is there any way to understand his mind so that we don't make our own homegrown kasab's?

    Hanging kasab may be the only solution in this case but will that stop others being manufactured? Kasab came here to die so hanging him is hardly going to hurt him any longer.(once again i am not advocating not hanging him) Keeping him alive will, and that's what I pointed that more the time the trial took more frustrated he got. The real battle is when you win over the minds like kasab's and not their bodies.

  2. Now this is really a different point of view, and I like it!

    He's just 2 years younger than I, and if I try to put myself in his position, and if I too had no other opportunities to explore life and use my intelligence , probably I could have gone down the same road! In fact, Anybody averagely intelligent, with no scope to use it, will do the same thing Kasab did!

    It would only require a highly brilliant soul to fight against that sort of system and do something different!

    But having said all this, I don't know- even if he is given life imprisonment, and an opportunity by the court to try and live life differently- will he use it?

    And Can India give Kasab an opportunity, that Pakistan couldn't?

    If Kasab does live, he can make a good experimental example, to see if a terrorist's mind, can at all be changed?

  3. Kiran Bedi's work at Tihar jail is an example to this. She introduced various experiments with the hardcore convicts which gave them an opportunity to look at life differently. I think her work needs to be analyzed further.

    If you get an opportunity to see the documentary "Doing time" please watch it. You will know what I am saying.