Saturday, March 17, 2007

Provoked: Domestic Abuse

Provoked , a movie which discusses the topic of domestic abuse, is based upon the life of Kiranjit Ahluwalia. Kiranjit had an arranged marriage which turned into a marriage defined by violence and humiliation. After suffering his brutality for 10 years, she set fire to her husband one night and he died. She was charged with murder and imprisoned for life.

The trial judge declared that the violence she had suffered was "not serious" and the prosecution claimed that she had merely been "knocked about'. Because of her shame about the incidents of sexual abuse, Kiranjit could not face her family hearing about them at the trial and gave no evidence in her defence. Her plea of manslaughter due to provocation was overturned and the jury found her guilty of murder.

A key reason for the failure of Kiranjit's plea of provocation was the bias towards male behaviour in such cases. the time that had elapsed between Deepak's last attack on her and her retaliation (a few hours) was deemed to be a "cooling down" period and not a "boiling over" period as her defence suggested. Men tend to react instantaneously when provoked, whereas women cannot do so because of men's greater physical strength and size.

An appeal was granted in 1992 on the grounds that expert evidence and psychiatric reports had not been presented at the original trial. A re-trial was ordered and on September 25, 1992 Kiranjit was found guilty of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility and sentenced to three years and four months (the time she had already served). Kiranjit was released immediately.

Provoked will be released in April 2007 in the UK, and at a later date in the US.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

An excerpt from Sikhism, by Eleanor Nesbitt

I just read this "short introduction" on Sikhism and found it to be very informative and well written. Here is an excerpt from the book, about Bhagat Puran Singh.

"Bhagat Puran Singh (1904-92) dedicated his life to caring for the destitute and disabled and the Pingalwara (home for the 'handicapped'), a complex situated near Amritsar's bus terminus, carries on his mission of compassionate seva, under its Patron President, Dr Indarjit Kaur. The All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society, employing over 400 people, resulted from Bhagat Puran Singh's decades of tirless effort for the abandoned, terminally ill, and mentally challenged. This began with his devotion to the helpless Piara Singh, whom he found as abandoned, dumb four-year-old, physicially deformed and mentally impaired. Puran Singh washed and tended him, gave him the name 'Piara', meaning beloved, and for years carried him on his back as a 'garland round my neck'." - page 83