Thursday, July 12, 2007

Resituating the context of Death-2

The moment we talk about death, the existence of many concepts suffers seismic shivering. The first tragedy happens with the right to life. The introductory portion of this study rests upon the interface between death and this fundamental natural right. It can be safely presumed that all other rights, civil, political, economic or cultural ones are actually offshoots of this right. While constructing the constitutions of the newly independent nation-states, these offshoots became the basic building blocks of emerging and establishing political thinking and in the course of development, they have concretized so much that the root of these rights has almost been forgotten. But the present times are questioning times. The saviour of rights i.e. the nation-state is itself a questionable category today. The concept of ‘ideology’ which formulated the notion of ‘rights’ is nearing the state of formatting. With the end of a millennium, many concepts are facing death. Perhaps, it is time to go back to the roots not in a traditional sense rather in an existential and theoretical sense.
The right to life is a very plastic kind of right. It is not subject to the vast genre of legal footnotes and exceptions rather it is such an endnote that surpasses all the mainstream legal forms and formalities. The right to remain alive or the right to survive in all the circumstances within or outside a nation-state is well-defensible. In all the wars, the rights of POWs are well guarded by international conventions. Although, in some countries, the provision of capital punishment presents itself as an aberration but this too is fast losing its strength against this right. Besides, the plasticity of this right is easily vulnerable to the creation of an anthropocentric view of the world. The right to life of a human being is regarded as superior to that of any non-human individual. To be fair, this right has enabled the selfishness of humans to find democratic (from demos or humans-only) validity sufficient enough to create a world owned & controlled by human beings. All other species and ecologies have a secondary importance in the scheme of things. A close scrutiny of the subject can easily highlight that the right to life should not have carried itself as a right beyond a permissible extent but this limit has remained stretchable, particularly, in modern times. The notion of ‘right to live’ is so entrenched and acceptable today at even archetypal level that this particular right needs to be encountered by its complete anti-dote i.e. the presence of death.
Death is a complete leveler. It destroys all machinations of human beings to save themselves. It does not allow human individuals to prolong their life beyond a particular age. They have been allowed to live as a species only till date but all the other human-made categories like civilizations, kingdoms, cities have fallen prey to death. Despite this great history of futility, death is the most prominent reason of generating fear in the minds of human beings. In almost all the critical junctures, the mass of humanity has been found to stick to the survival as the most relevant value. Instead of living, not-dying becomes the fundamental logic supported by the right to life. Here becomes the notion of ‘right to life’ a problematic one which needs to be replaced by a concept less selfish and more realistic in terms of self-learning provided by history.

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