The Hari Putar Dialogues - 26
(The Tribune, Oct 6: Jammu. (PTI) A woman today chopped off the ear of her husband after a family feud. The incident occurred in the outskirts of Jammu city, police sources said. They said Mohinder Singh and Jasvinder Kaur clashed over some family matters and in a fit of rage the woman took out a dagger and chopped off the ear of her husband. Neighbors after hearing cries rushed injured Singh to Government Medical College (GMC) hospital, they said adding that a case has been registered against the woman who fled the scene.)
Putar:: According to a report in the Tribune today a woman today chopped off the ear of her husband after a family feud.
Hari: That's an unusual report. It's normally the husbands who are reported in the news for having assaulted their wives.
Putar:: That's true. I guess the times are changing. Now woman are not willing to take things lying down any more.
Hari: On the other hand such violence cannot be justified.
Putar:: Perhaps there was grave and sudden provocation by the husband.
Hari: Whatever the husband might have said, nothing justifies a violent act of this nature, by the wife or by the husband.
Putar:: Under criminal law judges are more lenient if they are convinced that a person acted suddenly under strong provocation. The law is harsher in the case of violent crimes that have been committed in a premeditated manner.
Hari: That may be true. However she did not react completely without premeditation. She targeted his ear, so she had sense enough not to aim the dagger at a more vital spot. Would not that involve some element of premeditation?
Putar:: Maybe the ear was chopped off by mistake.
Hari: But having chopped off his ear, she did not immediately repent and think of taking him to hospital.
Putar:: Perhaps she did, but the husband was in a rage and having chopped off his ear she may have feared for her own safety.
Hari: It is understandable if the husband was in a rage. Also, he was in great pain. It was his screams that brought the neighbors to his house, and it was they who took him to the government hospital.
Putar:: That is true. It's odd though how the ear is a special target for both love and hate.
Hari: What do you mean?
Putar:: There is a story about the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh. He was once with a woman who said she loved his ears and wanted to have them, and so he took out a knife and cut off an ear. The woman ran away screaming.
Hari: Creative geniuses are sometimes a bit crazy, I guess.
Putar:: Although some historians say that he did not cut off his entire ear but only a part of his ear lobe.
Hari: That's bad enough.
Putar:: Well, this is a lesson for husbands not to fight with their wives in the vicinity of the kitchen.
Hari: In this case though the report quotes her as having used a dagger.
Putar:: She may have used her husband's ceremonial dagger, or even his kirpan. But for other wives, it is the kitchen knives that they will think of. Do you think that she will be arrested?
Hari: That will probably happen, Putar:
Putar:: What is the husband decides to forgive her?
Hari: I think that if it's a case of simple hurt, like a slap or a simple hit, the victim can forgive the person who inflicted the hurt, but in the case of grievous hurt, it will be a police case even if the husband does not want to press charges. She knows she may be arrested and that's why she's run away.
Putar:: This would certainly fall within the category of grievous hurt.
Hari: And it is an assault for which she should certainly receive a sentence in jail, as the judge thinks appropriate.
Putar:: I don't disagree with you, but I have a question, Papaji.
Hari: Bol, Putar?
Putar:: I don't think this was a consciously premeditated act, but I accept that there may have been some premeditation at a subconscious level.
Hari: I'm not sure that I understand you, Putar:
Putar:: Instead of chopping of an ear, if she just wanted to punish him, the wife could have chopped off one of his fingers.
Hari: How would that have been any different?
Putar:: It would possibly have been less painful and also less harmful in the long run.
Hari: That is true, Putar:
Putar:: But it was his ears that really angered her ' and so she wanted to punish them.
Hari: Why is that?
Putar:: They were having an argument remember, and she was angry with her husband because he was not listening to what she was saying.
HARI; And so?
Putar:: And so she said to herself, well if you're not going to listen to me, of what use are your stupid ears? Let me chop off your ear to teach you a lesson to hear what I'm saying the next time.
Hari: But if she chops off his ears how will he listen to her?
Putar:: She chopped off only one as a warning for him to remember to use the other ear to listen with the next time they had an argument.
Hari: A fine warning indeed! This is not really a laughing matter.
Putar:: I agree, Papaji. What I'm saying is that she wasn't thinking rationally in that state of anger, and these may have been her crazed, subconscious thoughts. Do you think that's possible?
Hari: I don't know, Putar