Thursday, March 31, 2005

What Gandhiji thought about mercy-killing

While the Terri Schiavo controversy rages,I was reminded of an incident in the Sabarmati ashram about which I had read many years ago.A maimed calf lay in the ashram and despite the best medical attention,the doctors and surgeon threw in the towel.The suffering of the calf was severe and Gandhiji after dicussions with fellow ashramites decided to end the acute pain and agony which the calf was going through by ending its life.He got the doctor to inject the calf with with a quietus(a poison injection) and in a few minutes it was all over.
Now,the question that arose in Gandhiji's mind was would he apply the same principle in the case of human beings?.And what about himself?.His answer was in the affirmative.Just like a surgeon who commits himsa when he uses his knife to cut a patient's body,under exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to go a step further and disconnect life from the body and relieve the sufferer of the most acutest pain he was experiencing.

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