A fortnight back a lady died of Pneumonia in India. Is that a big deal? Probably not, thousands of people die every day in the world. Besides, how difficult our survival will become if we come to know about each of the deceased person, feel their pain and be subfusc all the time.

Let us just bury ourselves into the memoir of this particular life for a little while. A twenty five year old cheerful girl was happily working as a junior nurse in a hospital. At the same time, she was engaged to get married to a doctor, working in the same hospital.

On one such usual working day, she scolded a ward boy named ‘Sohanlal Walmiki’ for stealing food meant for the stray animals adopted by the hospital. In a fit of rage, Walmiki sexually assaulted the nurse while she was changing her clothes in the basement of the hospital before leaving for home.

He strapped her neck with a dog chain and squeezed the life out of her. This stifling led to the cutting of oxygen supply to her brain resulting in brain stem contusion injury, cervical cord injury and cortical blindness. She was discovered eleven hours later, blind and blood spread all over.

Post this incident, Sohanlal was convicted for robbery and assault, and he served two concomitant seven year sentences. He was not convicted of rape as it was not mentioned in the complaint made to the police.

The aspect of this story that can definitely give one Goosebumps is, when you imagine the nurse christened “Aruna Shanbaug” lying in the vegetative state Walmiki had left her in for forty years.

As per my perspective, capital punishment is better than this, at least it ends one’s life in one go. On the contrary, Aruna served a punishment for almost a lifetime, during which she was blind, crippled and comatose in hospital.

The intensity of the suffering she had gone through can be seen from the fact that after being in the hospital for thirty seven years, she filed a petition for euthanasia which was turned down by the court. Later on, the court allowed passive euthanasia in India, which allows withdrawing of treatment or food that would allow the patient to continue living.

After years of suffering, Aruna Shanbaug died of Pneumonia on 18th May, 2015 and her funeral was performed by the hospital nurses who took care of her for decades, at a stretch.

Pinki Virani, who wrote a biography of Aruna and helped her with the petition claims that, Walmiki after serving his term in jail, moved to Delhi, changed his identity and went on to work in a hospital there. However, Walmiki denies it as per the Indian Express Report. Some people also said that AIDS had got him.

As of now, Sohanlal works as a laborer in a village in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. He also asked the reporter, why are people calling it as a rape? According to him, he did not rape her and somebody else might have done it. (http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/mumbai-nurse-aruna-shanbaugs-attacker-lives-in-a-up-village-report-767172)


He also says that he wishes to die now. There are a few aspects that seem bizarre to me : According to an article, Sohanlal’s younger son was told about the case by his mother and she also asked him to forgive his father. (http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/kem-nurse-aruna-shanbaugs-assailant-is-alive-tired-of-memories-i-want-to-die/99/).

Apart from being a woman, why did the mother said so? Many would guess that probably the story was projected by Sohanlal in such a way. But then if he thinks his deed is worth the forgiveness, why does he wish to die? Why does he pray so much? Why has he given up so much in life?

Other than this, the laws existing in India is another subject into which we need to dig deeper. Even if we, for once take it as a given, that Walmiki did not rape Aruna, is choking somebody with a dog chain, leaving that person blind and in coma for years, not big enough a crime to be taken a stricter action against?