October 10 is an important day, for it has three observances that make for intense societal debates – World Day Against the Death Penalty – World Mental Health Day – World Homeless Day – the scourges of our organized societies – the results of our organized societies.

Abolishing death sentence is a raging debate the world over including India. According to Amnesty International, 2015, with 1634 executions, was the deadliest year on gallows since 1989. In its report, Amnesty says the figure is from some 25 countries and it could go up to 2000.

What does it say?

Do crimes and criminals have increased in our societies or societies are becoming more tough and hardened on criminals?

There will always be proponents and opponents and mere statistics cannot define it. If a victim demands death penalty for the perpetrator, we cannot go and tell him that he is wrong. It will be immoral. Similarly, an activist who demands that death penalty be abolished, is also correct in his approach. A wrong can never be answered by another wrong. So, even if someone has taken away someone’s life, we do not have any right to do the same to him.

This dichotomy will last till human civilization is here.

To continue..



‘Europe’s Fascination with Fences’ is an interesting title for an article on refugee crisis spilling over in Europe now. The article especially pulled my attention by its title, like of many others, when I saw it in the list of chosen articles on Magzter.

Irrespective of ‘what, why and how’ in the article, the world, yes the world now, is looking at the crisis in a different light after the image of the body of a Syrian toddler washed out on a beach in Turkey went viral. The boy was from a family of four from Syria trying to migrate to Europe through Greece – the second most popular route as the article says.

Barack Obama just declared that the US will accept 10,000 Syrian refugees this year. Germany is leading the access in Europe and the toddler’s image has forced countries so far reluctant like the United Kingdom to come forward. The day the image got out David Cameron said Britain would accept 20,000 more refugees.

Before it, Britain was in a state of ‘xenophobia’ on intensifying refugee crisis.

The image has drawn global attention and outrage over the way European countries have been handling the biggest refugee crisis since the World War II.

Because the world ‘rightly’ doesn’t expect anything of that sort from rich Arab and Middle-East monarchies.

People from the war torn countries of Middle-East and Africa are increasingly joining the way out to save their lives. Somehow escaping the guns in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria and other countries, people are heading to the countries in Europe or other nearby countries in ever increasing numbers as the war in Syria rages and as the Islamic State continues with its barbarity in Iraq and Syria – finding allies in Boko Haram in Nigeria or Al-Shabab in Somalia and so on.

It is true that there would be some economic migrants but the majority is from the lot displaced from their homes, localities, cities and countries and it is the responsibility of the humanity to open its doors for the them. After all, some one million (or even two million) cannot put strain on the wealthiest continent on Earth with around 750 million people.

They, in fact, can prove quite useful for the European countries which are facing crisis of manpower to serve their populace. Migrants (or refugees in this case), by the their ‘disconnectedness from the roots’ have noting more to lose and they, in fact, prove out to be industrious and better managed when given opportunities. Prosperous Jews are its most common example.

Fences may be a practical requirement to check illegal crossings but the European population and countries need to remove the fences that xenophobic sentiments can create/are creating in this humanitarian crisis. And as, the refugees, are responsibility of all of us, we all must reach out to them with helping hands – as the US has decided to do.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/


Image Courtesy: Reuters

Yes, this one is a photograph that ‘humanity’ or the human-beings left with the conscience of ‘being human’ would desperately wish would not be there – with the reason behind it.

Yes, this one is a photograph that left me in great dilemma before I decided to share it on my website – trying to find the one with a frame composition that would look less offensive to our identities but I can say I failed in doing so.

Photographs like this deafen our souls, incinerate our whole existences and devastate the whole civilizational journey of humanity – just with a mere look at them.

We live in a world that has always been plagued with ‘humanity killing developments’ like wars, crusades, religious wars, ethnic cleansings and the Holocaust, yet this image, once again, has left us thoughtless, speechless, soulless and lifeless.

The photograph says all. Its backdrop becomes hauntingly clear just by a look at it. The photograph makes our lives beyond redemption. It puts us all, the combined human masses of the world, in the dock over a crime, once again, that humanity can never get rid of.

It rightly negates our claims of being the citizens of a civilized world.

I faced extremely troubled moments while looking at this photograph. I had to make serious efforts with my soul to draw some courage to look at it. But I knew I had to look at it. In fact, all of us need to look at it, and other images that remind us of human depravity – that how debased we have become.

European leaders say the ongoing refugee crisis is threatening the ‘idea of Europe’ but can they deflect the questions that this photograph raises?

The photograph, or the different frames of it or the video of it, is so shocking and depressing that it takes the courage of a lifetime to compose yourself to look at it – and compose yourself again after you have looked at it.

I am sharing it here because it would remind me – again and again – that it spite of all our civilized claims, multitudes of us still reek of raw animal instincts – when it comes to treating people who are not from our family – from our locality – from our community – from our region – or from our country.

I am crying and I want to cry. It is not that humanity died its first death today – but the horror that this image forces us to face cannot be explained in words.

Yes, the world, unfortunately, has layers of refugee crisis problems – in North Korea, in Syria, in Iraq, in Libya, in Myanmar – in many other countries scattered across the different continents. People from these crisis hotbeds are forced to risk their lives to buy a safe life for their families.

The image sums up the horrifying situation tens of thousands of human-beings are forced to be in, seeking the shore to fix their lives, a shore that is increasingly becoming elusive.

Reports say ‘Turkish coastguards have rescued some 50000 people in Aegean Sea’, the asylum seekers in Europe, this year alone. Reports say ‘Europe is facing the biggest migrant crisis since the World War II’.

Here is an image of the three year old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi with his elder brother Ghalip shared by their aunt, Tima Kurdi, on her Facebook page. Tima is settled in Canada for long and Aylan’s family, too, was trying to move there. Aylan, Ghalip and their mother, a family from the strife-torn town Kobane in Syria, were among the 12 people who lost their lives while trying to migrate to Greece through sea-route. Later, Aylan Kurdi’s was found lifeless, lying face down, on a Turkish beach. Migrants arriving in Turkey from countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria and many others try to cross the Mediterranean to reach Greece that serves as the gateway for them to the European Union countries.

Image Courtesy: Tima Kurdi’s Facebook Page



The girls – they were raped five times a day or at will of their rapists – just one among other countless and unexplainable atrocities being perpetrated day after day. Some of them could not take it anymore. One of them cut her wrist while in the bathroom. When she didn’t die from it, she slit her throat. The perpetrators and their unmoved guards wrapped the girl’s body in a blanket and threw outside in the garbage heap.

Mankind has always been brutal – in every age since the dawn of human civilization – since the age of recorded history of it – a person killing a person – people killing people – societies that have been saviors for some have uprooted others – societies that have been civilized for some have been savages for others – and yet, when we get a relatively free life in a relatively free society – we don’t appreciate it.

In place of making better of what we have, we let the moments slip in silly considerations.

We need to be thankful that we have the option to work on the life given to us.

We need to be thankful that we can fight to raise our voices against any wrongdoing.

I need to be thankful because I live in a society where I can write this write-up, expressing my thoughts which came while watching a BBC show.

Because there are millions, across the world, in countries and territories, run by dictators or dictatorial regimes or terror outfits like the Islamic State – in countries and territories plagued by sectarian and civil wars – who are living a life, that is not ‘life at all – in a ‘civilized’ sense – in a democratic society. People in such areas cannot speak, cannot react. They cannot voice what they think. Concepts like individual freedom and political freedom are alien to them – irrespective of what they think of – if at all they think of such things.

They are forced to remain silent as happens in China. They are allured to remain silent as happens in China and as recently happened in some countries during the Arab Spring. They are killed in public, in increasingly brutal ways, to set examples for others to remain silent, as is happening in the areas controlled by the Islamic States or in areas where terror warlords run amok.

I can write about them, about atrocities being perpetrated. I can write because there are societies and there are people from those societies who feel duty-bound to report such crimes against humanity.

There is nothing called absolute freedom. But we are free to the extent to decide what we are to do with our lives – we are free to the extent that we can voice our opinion against a move that we feel ‘is wrong and unjust’ – we are free to the extent to protest against such wrongs.

We have this life, in this society that allows us to do all that. And we need to appreciate that – and not waste it in silly deliberations.

Only then we can preserve and strengthen it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/


Featured Image Courtesy: Collage Prepared from Images Sourced from Wikipedia


Inhuman Humanity was the first article that posted on my first blog, ‘Beyond This Life’. Dr. Binayak Sen, the noted human rights and civil liberties activist was recently released on bail after a protracted court battle where he was pitted against the might of the state machinery of the Chhattisgarh government who did all to prove him an active Naxalite leader.

The battle was fought nationally and internationally, with noted people and social activists from India and across the world running campaigns to put pressure on the Indian government to do justice in Dr. Sen’s case. The short-lived respite finally came with the Supreme Court decision on May 25, 2009. Dr. Sen was jailed again in 2010 when he was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Raipur court.

The Supreme Court again came to the rescue when it granted him bail on April 15, 2011, with an eye-opening remark:

“We are a democratic country. He may be a sympathiser. That does not make him guilty of sedition. If Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography is found in somebody’s place, is he a Gandhian? No case of sedition is made out on the basis of materials in possession unless you show that he was actively helping or harbouring them [Maoists].” – The Hindu, quoting the Supreme Court Justice C.K. Prasad

After five years now, the satisfactory things is Dr. Sen is still out of the jail and his appeal against the local court’s ruling convicting him of sedition is pending in the high court.

The other issue that I wrote about in the article was themed on human rights violations in Asian countries in India’s neighbourhood – Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, and Afghanistan – and in India – and focused primarily on the miserable conditions of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) – due to internal and external factors.

Through the reasons of displacements were different then, at least in Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, the aftermath of the factors forcing the people to be displaced internally continue to put their life in tough conditions where surviving every day is all that matters for them.

Here is the article that I wrote on July 1, on my Personal Blogging Day, in 2009:

Continue reading


Today, the United Nations released a report on Human Rights violation in North Korea (the killing machines of humanity I say) recommending strong action against one of the living laboratories of the Holocaust. The report says ‘the world must act’, yet it has been a long, dead spell of geopolitical games allowing people to be butchered, by the idiots like Kim Jong-un or his predecessors.

I am sharing here, today, my book review of ‘Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West’ that I had written last may after reading the book, a book (a rare, authenticated, firsthand account – there have been very few cases of prison-camp survivors of North Korea) that reflects on what the report says, on what is happening in North Korea.

It’s straight. No colours. Single-point concentration and just one message!

And it hits sharply.

Family, father, mother, brother, sister, friends – all these words were just faceless, nameless heaps of flesh, devoid of any philosophical meaning of the term ‘soul’, competing for that ‘always’ meager amount of the foodstuff given twice a day (and that, too, irregularly). The survival of every nameless was mortgaged to the pervert decadence of the savage indoctrination.

He knew no emotions. Getting somehow the daily dose of that meal, which we, in the ‘civilized’ world can never think of even touching, was the only motive to live the next day. The best survival instinct was betrayal – betray everyone, no trust – get your share of the rotten meal anyhow – midst abuses, whippings, isolations, rapes, sodomy, and killings.

All for no reason – or something that your ancestors or relatives had done!

He was not alone. There were tens of thousands of them – the book puts it 150,000 to 200,000 prisoners – in the labour camps of North Korea.

Blaine Harden’s ‘Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West’ is a strongly worded, emotive book, running high on the zero-emotion quotient of the central character, written in a provocative language, detailing out the life history and escape from the labour camp 14 of Shin Dong Hyuk who was born and brought up there.

escape-from-camp-14-fc2Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West

The biographical memoir makes you squirm; breaks you into thoughts; kills you by the absence of the thoughtlessness; pins you on the inaction of ‘thinking civilizations’ across the world.

Unlike the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, North Korean camps have survived for over five decades now. Content of the book is indicative of thousands of murders in these camps every year and yet the prisoner count remains the same. It directly tells us the reign of state terror in North Korea has fed on killing millions of its famished population.

But like the Nazi camps, the ‘Selection’ process of the Nazi mentality is very well alive in the North Korean labour camps. In these camps, only two categories exist – prisoners and guards. Most of the prisoners don’t know why they are here. Guards treat them as animals – killing them, for reasons like stealing some grains of corn to getting pregnant after being raped by the guards.

Rooms for inmates are worse than prison cellars. Schools extend just one focused training – indoctrination of limited feelings, extreme fear and utmost devotion to the jokers Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il (and now the next crook on the block – Kim Jong Un); schools where teachers kill small girls and boys by beating with blackboard pointer to release their anger.

The only skill imparted is learning to work in the labour intensive prison factories. The etiquettes manual tell never to look into the eyes of the guards and teachers and never question them.

‘Snitching’ is a word that dominates this narration; defines the underlying theme of this book. Every camp inmate is indoctrinated to snitch on others, even the family members that led Shin pass the information of escape plan of his mother and brother to the guards resulting in their public execution. He hated them. He hated his father.

And Shin was not alone. Almost of the camp inmates who had never seen the outside world were the same creatures as Shin was – animals with pervert survival instincts.

The way they had been raised, nothing could change their destiny until they found a way out of the hell – an impossible prospect.

And that is why ‘Escape from Camp 14’ is an extraordinary tale of escape of an animal Shin from the invisible North Korean concentration camps on the journey to become the human Shin.

He feels guilty for his act now that led to the execution of his mother and brother. He regrets that he didn’t say any word to his father on the eve of his escape in 2005. He now knows the feeling behind emotive words like ‘family’. One way to begin life afresh is probably changing your name, that is what Shin In Geun, the North Korean refugee thinks. So he is now Shin Dong Hyuk.

Yet he is still a broken persona living layered lives. It will take a long time for him to lead a totally normal life, if he can, in leaving behind the 23 years of his life in the land of the ‘Great and Dear’ leaders.

The multiple layers of secrecy and an insensitive international community have allowed the North Korean government to continue with the camps. These camps exist nowhere in official records of any country. There has been significant amount of work done by activists and journalists like David Hawk and Blaine Harden but why the international community is not acting is frustrating when tens of thousands are being killed every year.

The book is not about Shin; it is about life in the North Korean gulags; it is about the absolute cruel run of the North Korean regime; and it is about demeaning everything that is human.

Horror of the North Korean regime flows effectively, from one page to the other, from one chapter to the next – keeping you hooked to book, thinking, is there a limit to all this!

Try it to feel it.

May 16, 2012

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/