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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where Is Relegan Siddhi?

The above question is asked by Big B at the stunningly successful fifth season of KBC. And the options are: A – Iran, B – Pakistan, C – Malaysia, D – India.

The contestant on the Hot Seat weighs all the above options, one by one, keeping in mind the recently revealed remedy for alcohol addiction – public flogging – in Relegan Siddhi:


Alcohol consumption, under Islamic law, is automatically punishable by lashing. Carried out frequently in the tumultuous early days of the 1979 Islamic revolution, floggings have once more become a popular form of punishment, usually meted out on young people for consumption of drugs or alcohol. The following episode has been reported in Iranian and foreign media.

His face covered by a balaclava, an official brandishing a cane repeatedly lashes the back of a man found guilty of breaking Iran's morality laws. Two police officers hold the legs of 25-year-old Saeed Ghanbari and another his arms to ensure there is no escape from the punishment of 80 lashes handed down by a religious court. Traffic was brought to a halt in Qazvin, 90 miles west of the capital Tehran, as more than 1,000 men gathered behind barricades to watch the public flogging. Saeed Ghanbari receives 80 lashes for abusing alcohol. Some took pictures on mobile telephones, others climbed traffic lights for a better vantage point as Ghanbari was marched to the centre of the square under the watch of blue-uniformed guards carrying machine guns. A four foot long metal bench was taken from a police van and the convicted man was made to lie on it on his stomach, his fawn checked shirt pulled-up to his shoulders to expose his back and waist. One police officer held his hands together beneath the bench, two others gripped his legs to ensure there was little movement. Two police officers stood-by, their faces covered with balaclavas - each to administer 40 lashes. Both men then lashed Ghanbari, taking the cane back behind their heads to guarantee maximum impact, each stroke leaving a distinctive red mark and bruising on his back. Several wounds began to bleed. He had been convicted of abusing alcohol.

B – Pakistan

Soon after he took over, General Zia ul-Haq, who came to power in a military coup in 1977, arranged a big public flogging-show. The victims, who were charged for consuming alcohol, were all men, most of them middle-aged. They looked pale, and they shook with fear when the flogging began, but it had little effect on their captors.

The stage was built in a big open space where normally, children played football, cricket and hockey. It was an open platform, about fifteen feet high, and could be viewed from every corner of the huge ground. A wooden frame was fixed in the middle of the platform where every victim was to be tied, his hands and feet separately as on a cross. His face would be turned towards the stage where the policemen, the magistrate, and other important people were sitting; the press had special seats so that they could watch the flogging closely and report every detail. His hips, which would receive the whip, were to face the audience. A microphone was fixed on the frame, near where the victim's mouth was to be, so that everybody could hear him scream. The whipper was now ready to flog, all his muscles tightened and bulged. As those on the stage prepared for the flogging, thousands of people had already gathered to watch it. Some might have committed the same sin for which the fifteen victims were to be flogged: drinking alcohol. But they did not seem bothered. They were safe in doing whatever they did because they belonged to the so-called 'VIP' class where no law, religious or secular, applies.

Now the flogging was to start. The man with the stick indicated that he was ready. Two constables brought the convict on to the stage. He looked utterly helpless. He was not trembling. He did not even look afraid. He looked more like an animal about to be slaughtered and unable to understand what was happening to him. By now the crowd was completely silent. The constables lifted the man up on to the frame, and tied his hands and feet to the scaffolding: his face was turned towards the stage and his buttocks exposed to the crowd. Now all eyes were fixed on the whip-man who was fiercely slashing the air with his whip. The crowd was so quiet that the microphone picked up the slashing of the whip and carried it everywhere. The man on the scaffolding also heard the sound. He started trembling and then cried, very loudly. The loudspeakers carried his voice to the crowd and beyond, but nobody spoke a word.

Now a magistrate, also sitting on the stage, asked the whip-man to begin. He tested the whip for the last time, slowly hitting his left palm, and then came running, stopped a foot or two from the scaffolding and hit the victim with full force. The whip touched his skin, went into his flesh and came out again. The man shrieked in agony. Those sitting on the stage could see blood oozing from the wound. One, said the official counting the whips. The man was sobbing now which could be heard on the loudspeakers. The constable untied the man after the fifteenth lash and he fell on to the stage. They removed him on a stretcher and brought the next man.

C - Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — An Islamic court in Malaysia has sentenced a Muslim woman to be flogged with a rattan cane for having a beer in a nightclub, a court official said. Rattan canes used in the punishment are made from palm plants common in tropical parts of Asia. They have been used for decades for corporal punishments in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. The caning sentence is generally carried out by specially trained officials at prisons.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was sentenced to six lashes and a fine of 5,000 ringgit ($1,400) for consuming alcohol, said a Shariah High Court official who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to make public statements. Shukarno, a 32-year-old model, pleaded guilty in the court in eastern Pahang state to a charge of drinking beer when Islamic authorities raided a hotel nightclub in August 2008. Consuming alcohol is a religious offense in Malaysia only for Muslims, who make up nearly two-thirds of the population. Offenders are prosecuted in Shariah courts, which handle cases mainly related to family and moral issues for Muslims. The law provides for a three-year prison term and caning. Shukarno was the only Muslim caught in the raid at the Pahang nightclub. Malaysian clubs and lounges typically serve alcohol but are not legally required to check if customers are Muslim before serving them, so the hotel nightclub operators were not charged with any offense. The punishment "is aimed at making the accused repent and serves as a lesson to Muslims," the newspaper quoted Judge Abdul Rahman Yunus as saying.

D – India

Anna Hazare in a recent interview has said that people who drink alcohol should be served with three warnings and if they do not quit drinking habits then they should be beaten up and humiliated in public. Anna, a prominent leader in India's anti-corruption movement, practices nonviolent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Such a statement from Anna has lead to strong reactions from various sections of the society. While Anna Hazare had been working upon Prohibition of Alcohol earlier too, this time people have strongly reacted against his opinion. Questions are being raised whether he can act as a moral police within the democratic framework of India. People have also questioned whether a non-violent movement enthusiast like Anna can talk about beating up people.

Hazare's remark came in an interview with NDTV. Hazare recounted his way of going after drunkards when he spoke of how he got people in his native village in Maharashtra to give up drinking. If after drinking anybody creates trouble he would be simply warned thrice because he is "our man," Hazare said. "But even after warning him thrice if he again drinks then we will take him to a temple and he has to swear by god that he won't drink in future. And even after all this he drinks then we will tie him up to the electric pole in front of the temple and then beat him up so that he gets scared," Hazare said. Hazare justified his method, saying it would help drinkers get rid of a bad habit.

The 74-year-old Gandhian, known for his abhorrence to intoxicating substances, had earlier also kicked up a debate when he had issued a diktat in his native village in late 80s and early 90s to “flog people who consume alcohol.” Remembering this piece of knowledge worked as a cue to the contestant on the Hot Seat and he came up with the correct answer – D India.


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