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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do away with capital punishment

Last updated on: March 12, 2013 09:41 IST

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do away with capital punishment

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'Things are going to change. I know they are going to change, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar tells Rediff.com's Savera R Someshwar.

SSri Sri Ravi Shankar believes the only way to curb terrorism is a strong deterrent, but does not favour capital punishment.

He also believes ancient Indian knowledge streams like Ayurveda and Yoga should be commercialised, and tells Rediff.com's Savera R Someshwar why in the final segment of an unusual interview.

If you missed Part I of the interview, you can read it here.

What would you say to the families who suffer the consequences of terrorism?

I know it is a terrible, terrible, thing for them. But we can't remain stuck in the past; we need to move on. And we pray that justice is given to those families.

You know, there are people in Jammu and Kashmir who have killed so many people -- 20, 30 cases sometimes. They are still out there in the JKLF (the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front) and in so many other such organisations.

These people have not been punished; they have not been made accountable for the heinous crimes they have committed.

There needs to be the political willingness to correct these elements.

That is important.

Without a strong political will to wipe out terrorism, nothing will happen. Just a few people talking and shouting will not lead to justice.

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Image: Justice must be given to the families who are the biggest victims of terror attacks, says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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'If Kasab or Afzal Guru's executions were politically motivated, I don't care'

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In this scenario, how do you look at the execution of Kasab and Afzal Guru?

Was it the right action or do you believe these executions are politically motivated?

I don't think it is politically motivated or, if it is, I don't know. I don't even care.

The most severe punishment should be given to these people (terrorists).

At the same time, I am not for capital punishment for anybody.

Like many other civilisations and societies, I feel we should do away with capital punishment.

We should definitely give them life imprisonment.

We should use different means and ways and see if they can be reformed.

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Image: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, seen here with the Dalai Lama.
Photographs: Vijay Mathur/Reuters
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'Just brace up and work for the future'

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If you look at the life of the average ordinary Indian today -- inflation has skyrocketed, violence has increased, violence against women in particular has increased and you have politicians whom you can't trust...

Yes, absolutely.

What advice would you give the ordinary Indian today?

I would say: Don't lose hope.

The world is yours. All possibilities are there for you.

Just brace up and work for the future.

Your answers are more practical than spiritual....

I have made a policy in my life. Whatever is in my purview of experience, I only speak about that.

If it is not in the purview of my experience, I don't even talk about it.

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Image: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, seen here with Kisan Baburao 'Anna' Hazare.
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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'Yoga and meditation should be commercialised'

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Do you believe that ancient Indian knowledge streams like Yoga and Ayurveda are being commercialised today?

It should be commercialised.

And why is that?

Only then they can reach every nook and corner of the world.

A cellphone reaches everywhere. It is useful, and it is a commercial product, so everybody gets it all over the place.

In the same way, yoga and meditation -- if they are useful to people, and they are -- should be made available.

What is commercialisation? It is just making it available to people. That should be done.

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Image: Inmates at the Evaristo de Moraes prison in Rio de Janeiro participate in the Art of Living's Prison Smart programme.
Photographs: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters
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'People are able to do things which are normally considered impossible'

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If I were to approach you as a parent, asking how I could be a better parent to my child and keep him happy...

For you to be a good parent, first you have to be a good uncle or aunt to other people's children, to the friends of your children because the friends of your children listen to you more than your own kids.

So you can influence your children through the friends of your children.

How does one hold on a sense of hope you know when you see everything going haywire around you and nothing seems to be in your control?

(interrupts) Volunteer for Better India (laughs).

You will see how people are finding hope and are able to do things which are normally considered impossible.

What gives you, personally, a sense of hope for India's future?

It's going to change. Things are going to change. I know they are going to change.


Image: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is confident things are going to change for the better.
Photographs: Sondeep Shankar/Saab Pictures
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