Article No. 2034

Written by London swaminathan


Date : 1st August  2015

Time uploaded in London : – 14-44

“It is very hard, my lord”, said a convicted person at the bar to judge Barnet, “to hang a poor man for stealing a horse.”

“You are not to be hanged, sir” answered the judge, “for stealing a horse; but you are to be hanged that horses may not be stolen.”


Allen, the Quaker, waited upon the Duke of Sussex to remind him of his promise to present a petition to abolish capital punishment. The Duke did not seem to like the job, and observed that the scripture has declared,

“Whoso, sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.”

“But please note,” replied the Quaker, “that when Cain killed Abel he was not hung for it.”

“That is true,” rejoined the Duke, “but remember Allen, there were not twelve men in the world then to make a jury”.


When Lord Bacon was chancellor of England, a witty criminal was brought before him. “Your Honour should let me go,” he observed. “We are kin. My name is Hogg, and Hogg is kin to bacon.

“Not until it’s hung,” said Bacon.



Jokes apart, ancient Sanskrit and Tamil literatures are full of death sentences by different methods. Chopping the head was the most used method by the kings. Sanskrit dramas describe the scene of criminals dragged or paraded along the streets in coloured attire, mostly red or black, to the place of execution.

Famous Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar says it is the duty of the king to weed out the criminals:-

“When the king imposes the severest penalty on a cruel murderer, it is like weeding the field to protect the crops” – Tirukkural 550

Rajaji, the First Governor General of Independent India, said that capital punishment for grievous offences is like the weeding of fields, necessary for protecting the food crops.

Indians knew that hundreds of freedom fighters were hanged by the British for being patriotic. They did it in all the places they colonised. During French revolution over 1000 people were guillotined and at the end, the person who invented the Guillotine was also guillotined. In the United States after a long discussion they came to the conclusion that the most humane method of execution is by lethal injection.  Electrical chairs are also used.


The British burnt alive thousands of women dubbing them as witches. Whoever did not believe in Christianity and practising pagan religions were called witches throughout Europe. Joan of Arc was the most famous woman who was burnt alive in France. The English clergy burnt her body three times to make sure that she is charred to ashes.