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沉重的真相:美国记者调查印度杀妻案

更新时间:2017-8-23 11:32:02 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How to Get Away With Murder in Small-Town India
沉重的真相:美国记者调查印度杀妻案

PEEPLI KHERA, India — On my last week in India, I went to say goodbye to Jahiruddin Mewati, the chief of a small village where I had made a dozen or so reporting trips.

印度皮普利凯拉——在印度的最后一周,我去和贾希尔丁·梅瓦蒂(Jahiruddin Mewati)道别。他是一个小村子的村长,我因为报道去过那个村子十多次。

Jahiruddin and I were not precisely friends, but we had spent many hours talking over the years, mostly about local politics. I found him entirely without scruples but candid. He suspected my motives but found me entertaining, in the way that a talking dog might be entertaining, without regard for the particulars of what I said.

我和贾希尔丁其实不算朋友,但那些年里,我们聊天的时候不少,主要是关于当地的政治。我发现他毫无顾忌,颇为坦诚。他怀疑我的动机,但又觉得我有趣,可能就像一只会说话的小狗那种有趣,不在乎我说的具体内容。

Jahiruddin, though uneducated, was an adept politician, fresh from winning a hard-fought local election. During our conversations, he would often break into rousing, patriotic speeches about truth and justice, thumping the plastic table in emphasis and making it jump.

尽管没受过教育,但贾希尔丁是一名老练的政客,刚刚赢得当地一场竞争激烈的选举。交谈期间,他常常会突然开始发表一通有关真理和正义的言论,情绪激动,充满爱国主义色彩,同时重重地拍打塑料桌以示强调,导致桌子弹起来。

He was frank about the dirty aspects of his job. He occupied a post reserved for women from lower castes, but no one pretended this was any more than a sham; his wife’s name appeared on the ballot, but the face on the poster was his.

他对自己工作的阴暗面很坦率。他占据的职位本是留给来自低种姓的女性的,但没人假装这不仅仅是一场骗局。选票上是他妻子的名字,出现在海报上的人却是他。

Nearly everything he did in local government was transactional, driven by the desire to secure the votes of minuscule family and caste groups. The funny thing was, it seemed to be working pretty well.

他在当地政府内部所做的几乎一切都是交易性的,都是为了获得小的家族和种姓团体的选票。滑稽的是,这种做法似乎相当有效。

Among his pet constituencies was a community of former beggars, some of the poorest people I had met in India. I had visited these people regularly over the past two years, and their lives had improved in striking ways — in some cases through Jahiruddin’s intervention.

在他宠爱的选民中,有一个群体是曾经的乞丐。他们属于我在印度看到的最穷的人。过去两年,我定期去看望他们。他们的生活得到了惊人的改善——有些情况下是通过贾希尔丁的干预实现的。

He had persuaded — and by this I mean bribed — caste leaders to allow their women to work as day laborers, and their rising incomes were apparent in new brick houses and well-nourished children. A new subsidy had provided women with gas stoves, freeing them from the grinding task of scavenging for firewood. That shift struck me as quietly revolutionary, like the arrival of the contraceptive pill in the West.

他说服——我的意思是贿赂——种姓领袖允许女性做零工,她们的收入不断增加,这可以通过新修的砖房和营养良好的孩子明显看出来。新出台的一项补贴让女性用上了煤气灶,把她们从难熬的捡拾柴火工作中解放了出来。这种转变让我觉得低调却有着革命性的意义,好比避孕药在西方的问世。

I wanted to compliment Jahiruddin on his advocacy for these people, and also to say goodbye. Everything I owned had already been loaded onto a container ship that had left the port of Mumbai and headed past the Horn of Africa.

我想称赞他对这些人的支持,同时和他告别。我的所有行李都已经装上一艘集装箱船了。船已经离开孟买港,越过非洲之角了。

Jahiruddin seemed unsettled by the news of my departure and, perhaps assuming that he would not have another opportunity, peppered me with questions for the next 45 minutes.

得知我要离开的消息,贾希尔丁似乎有些不安。或许是因为觉得再也没有机会了,他在接下来的45分钟里不断问我问题。

Why did the British leave India? If the British left, why are you still here? What do you people like to eat the most? Do you think I am asking stupid questions? In America, if I like you and take you away, will your father kill me? What is the benefit to you of writing stories from here? How much money do you have in the bank? What is your salary? If you do not tell me your salary, how will I know how much money you have? Is it true that white people are not honest? When your replacement arrives, would he like to lease a car from me?

英国人为什么离开印度?如果英国人离开了,你为什么还在这里?你们最喜欢吃什么?你是不是觉得我问的问题很愚蠢?在美国,如果我喜欢你并把你带走,你父亲会杀了我吗?在这里采写新闻对你有什么好处?你银行里有多少钱?你工资多少?如果你不告诉我你的工资,我怎么知道你有多少钱?白人不诚实是不是真的?接替你的人来了后,他愿意租我的车吗?

It went on like that. I promised to keep in touch, and he saved my telephone number under the name “Angrezi,” which translates, more or less, as “white lady.” We parted on good terms.

时间就这样过去了。我承诺保持联系,他把我的电话号码存在了“Angrezi”的名下。这个词翻译过来大概是“白人女士”的意思。最后,我们友好作别。

A short while later, someone told me about a murder in Peepli Khera, and I realized I had to visit him one more time.

不久后,有人和我说了皮普利凯拉发生的一起谋杀案。我意识到我要再去找他一次了。

Thursday: A Grim Rumor

周四:可怕的传言

While reporting in Peepli Khera, I often set myself up at the home of a woman named Anjum, who lived next to a hand pump for water and therefore served as a clearinghouse for gossip.

在皮普利凯拉报道期间,我常在一个名叫安于姆(Anjum)的女子家里落脚。她家旁边有一个手摇式水泵,她因此发挥了收集传言的作用。

I was lounging there when I heard that a woman had been killed last year, bludgeoned to death by her husband in front of at least a dozen people.

懒洋洋地在那里休息时,我听说去年一名女子被她丈夫当着至少十几人的面打死了。

Anjum said the woman’s screams had woken her from a deep sleep, and she stumbled through the dark to the neighbor’s house, some 20 feet away. The woman, Geeta, was cowering in a neighbor’s bathroom, a U-shaped enclosure used for showering, while her husband brought a bamboo stick down on her, again and again, she told my colleague Suhasini, who was translating.

安于姆说,那名女子的尖叫声让她从沉睡中醒来,她抹黑走到20英尺(约合6米)外的邻居家。那个名叫吉塔(Geeta)的女子蜷缩在邻居家的浴室里,那是一个围起来的U淋浴间。她对替我翻译的同事苏哈西尼(Suhasini)说,那名女子丈夫手中的竹竿一下接一下地落在她身上。

“I dragged her out to protect her,” Anjum said. “No one was protecting her. Everyone was just watching.”

“为了保护她,我把她拖了出来,”安于姆说。“没人保护她。所有人都只是看着。”

But when Anjum stepped away, Geeta’s husband — a slight man named Mukesh — stood above Geeta, who was slumped on the side of a rope cot, and brought the stick down on her head several more times. She died on the spot.

但当安于姆离开时,吉塔的丈夫——名叫穆凯什(Mukesh),身形瘦小——站在被重重摔倒在绳床边上的吉塔旁边,又用竹竿朝她头部打了几下。吉塔当场死亡。

What bothered Anjum, she said, was that the police had been contacted about the killing but almost immediately closed their investigation, releasing Mukesh after a few hours.

安于姆说,让她感到不安的是,这起杀人事件发生后,有人报了警,但警方几乎立即就结束了调查,几小时后便释放了穆凯什。

In fact, just the day before my visit, Mukesh had remarried, to a girl who was lighter-skinned and taller than the dead woman, and he kept driving his new wife around on the back of his motorcycle, showing her off.

实际上,就在我去的一天前,穆凯什再婚,娶了一个肤色比去世的妻子浅,个子也更高的姑娘。他让新婚的妻子坐在摩托车后座上,载着她四处炫耀。

Mukesh’s brother, Bablu, happened to be hanging around Anjum’s, and he said his brother had caught Geeta cheating and had killed her.

穆凯什的兄弟巴布卢(Bablu)恰好在安于姆家旁边闲逛。他说,穆凯什发现吉塔骗人,所以才杀了她。

“He was sad,” he said of his brother. “But then yesterday he got another one. So why would he be sad?”

“他是很伤心,”他说的是穆凯什。“但昨天他又娶了一个妻子。所以他为什么还要伤心呢?”

We drove to the nearest police station, a few miles away, and a young constable, Jahangir Khan, was sent out to speak to us. He was carrying a rifle whose butt was held together with wire — he reckoned it dated to “the time of Hitler” — and he said he could tell that I was American because my nose shook when I talked, a national characteristic he had observed while watching James Bond films.

我们开车去了位于几英里开外的最近的警务站,一个名叫贾汉吉尔·可汗(Jahangir Khan)的年轻警员被派将出来,与我们交谈。他带着一把枪托底部用铁丝缠住的步枪——他估计那把枪来自“希特勒时代”——他说他敢肯定我是美国人,因为我说话的时候鼻子会颤动,他看詹姆斯·邦德(James Bond)系列电影的时候发现美国人都这样。

What follows is an abridged version of our conversation:

我们的谈话的精简版如下:

Constable: She was sleeping on the terrace. She woke up to urinate. So there was a wooden staircase, a makeshift wooden staircase made of bamboo. Her leg slipped when she was coming down the staircase. She got hurt in the head.

警员:她当时正在露台上睡觉。她醒了过来,要去小便。那里有一截木质楼梯,一截用竹子制成的简易木质楼梯。她下楼梯的时候,腿一滑,摔伤了脑袋。

Reporter: Didn’t her injuries suggest something more violent?

记者:她身上的伤难道不意味着发生了更暴力的事情吗?

Constable: When you are hit by a stick, you will just be hit on one spot on your head and you will die. But when you fall off a staircase, you will not just get hit on the head. She had seven or eight marks on her body, which means she was not hit with a stick but she fell down the stairs.

警员:如果被人用棍子打,棍子只会打到脑袋上的一个地方,然后你就死了。但当你从楼梯上摔下来的时候,伤到的就不仅仅是脑袋了。她身上有七八处伤痕,这意味着她没被人用棍子打,而是摔下了楼梯。

Reporter: It seems unusual to get that kind of head injury falling down the stairs. You might break your neck.

记者:通常而言,摔下楼梯似乎不会让头部受那种伤。你或许会扭断脖子。

Constable: When you fall off the stairs you will get bruised all over.

警员:摔下楼梯会让你全身上下都青一块紫一块的。

Reporter: Didn’t the neighbors tell you that she was beaten?

记者:她的邻居没告诉你她挨打了吗?

Constable: Some of the neighbors said the husband had killed her. But the wife was fine. She was strong and well fed and happy, and she had two kids. She was healthy, plump, like you.

警员:一些邻居说是她丈夫杀死了她。但这个妻子挺不错的。她很强壮,吃得好,很快乐,她还有两个孩子。她健康而又丰满,像你一样。

After a while, the constable indicated that he had no more time to discuss the case. As he left, he turned back to me.

过了一会儿,警员表示他无法腾出更多时间讨论该案。离开的时候,他转过身对着我。

“This is the trick that foreign countries like yours are playing,” he said. “You will write something. People will read what you write, and say, ‘This country will progress only after 100 years.’”

“这是你们国家之类的外国玩的把戏,”他说。“你会写点什么。人们会读到你写的东西,并断言‘这个国家再过100年才能进步’。”

Friday: Visiting the Killer

周五:拜访凶手

I had a degree of sympathy for the constable on his last point.

我在某种程度上对那名警员最后说的话持赞同态度。

Over the past decade, in Russia and then India, I have been asked versions of this question hundreds of times: Who are you to come here and tell us what is wrong with our system? And it’s true, the whole enterprise of foreign correspondence has a whiff of colonialism. During the years I have worked abroad, Americans’ interest in promoting their values in the world has receded, slowly and then precipitously. I doubted the regional hegemons filling the vacuum would do better, but still, I wasn’t sure it was such a bad thing.

过去10年间,先是在俄罗斯,然后是印度,人们千百次地以不同的措辞向我提过同一个问题:你是谁啊?竟然跑到这里跟我们说我们的体制有什么问题。而且的确,驻外记者这个营生从头到尾都透着一股殖民主义气息。我在海外工作的这些年,美国对于宣扬自身价值观的兴趣先是缓慢减退,然后是急剧下降。我觉得填补真空的地区霸权未必能起到更好的作用,但我不确定它真有那么糟糕。

I worried, as the constable suggested, that I wrote too much about violence. In India, in particular, where millions of people move out of extreme poverty every year, there is a great deal to be hopeful about — the transformation that comes with mobile phone and internet access, or with young women cashing their first paychecks, or even something like installing a family’s first air-conditioner.

我担心自己写了太多关于暴力的事情,就像那个警员所说的那样。特别是如今的印度每年都有数以百万计的人得以摆脱赤贫,这里有很多东西值得期待——伴随移动电话与互联网接入而来的改变;年轻女性拿到自己的第一笔工资,甚至许多家庭还有望安装第一台空调。

I wrote those stories, too, but the move from dire poverty to ordinary poverty is subtle and difficult to capture. Violence writes itself.

我同样写过这类故事,但是从赤贫到普通贫困的转变是微妙而难以捉摸的。而暴力则是如此显而易见。

But there was also this: I had spoken to two young women who lived in the courtyard where Mukesh killed his wife. The next day, they crouched on the ground and used their hands to mop up the blood. They then covered the whole courtyard with a thin layer of cow dung, which hardens into something like plaster.

但也有这样的事情:我和住在穆凯什杀死妻子的那个院子里的两个年轻女人聊过。事发第二天,她们蹲在地上,用双手擦去血迹。然后用一层薄薄的牛粪覆盖整个庭院,让它们硬化成石膏状的东西。

New wives occupy the lowest rung in the family hierarchy, which means that when food is scarce young women do not eat, even if they are pregnant. Caste rules forbid them to sit on chairs or cots if higher-ranking people are present, which is pretty much all the time, so I interviewed them the way I always did: me sitting on a cot, them crouched at my feet, looking up at me from the ground.

在家庭之中,新婚妻子的地位是最低的,这意味着如果食品不够的话,年轻女人即便怀有身孕也不能吃饭。根据种姓规则,当着地位高的人,她们不能坐在椅子上或床上,然而大多数时间里都会有地位比她们高的人在场,所以一直以来,我采访她们的时候就是坐在一张小床上,她们蹲在我的脚边,仰头看着我。

When I asked about Geeta’s killing, the older daughter-in-law answered quietly, because her answer did not line up with the village consensus.

问起吉塔遇害的事情时,大儿媳压低了声音,因为她的回答和村民们的意见并不一致。

“It was wrong,” she said. “What happens now if my husband beats me?”

“这是不对的,”她说。“如果我丈夫打我,那现在会怎样呢?”

We found Mukesh on his terrace with his new wife, slicing okra. My heart was racing as we climbed the stairs, but it needn’t have: When we asked him whether he had killed his wife, he told us in detail how he had done it. The new wife said she believed Geeta had deserved to be killed and Mukesh should not worry himself about it.

我们穆凯什的露台上找到了他,他正和新婚妻子一起切着秋葵。爬楼梯时,我的心脏狂跳不已,但这是没有必要的:我们问他是否杀死了自己的妻子,他详细地向我们讲述他是怎么做的。新婚妻子说她相信吉塔死有余辜,穆凯什用不着为此担心。

The new wife was excited because she was cooking on a gas stove, the one Geeta had signed up for before her death. At first it frightened her, but Mukesh had helped her light it, she said, blushing. She was enjoying wearing Geeta’s jewelry and using her makeup.

这位新婚妻子很是兴奋,因为她可以用燃气灶做饭了,这个燃气灶还是吉塔去世前登记获取的。她红着脸说,起初她很害怕这东西,但是穆凯什帮她点着了火。她正戴着吉塔的首饰,并且使用她的化妆品。

She seemed grouchy about one thing, which was that her in-laws had told her she would have to answer to a new name after the wedding. Her name was now Geeta.

她似乎对一件事情感到忿忿不平——公公婆婆告诉她,婚礼之后,他们会用一个新的名字称呼她。现在,她的新名字是吉塔。

Saturday: Back to the Constable

周六:回到警员那里

In my line of work, there are few things as gratifying as catching someone in a lie. We returned to the constable the next day, with a recording of Mukesh’s confession saved in my phone.

在我的工作中,令人心满意足的事情不多,抓住别人说谎是其中之一。第二天我们回到了警察局,带上了我用手机录下的穆凯什的自供状。

The constable seemed a little uneasy. He said he didn’t want to talk to us in the station, and invited us across the road to a tea stall. But the tea stall was occupied by a half-dozen khaki-clad police officers on break, mussing one another’s hair and smoking beedis, so he took us to a cubbyhole tractor repair shop, where we sat facing each other — him sitting on a lawn chair, me on a rope cot.

那位警员似乎有些不安。他说他不想在警局里跟我们说话,并邀请我们到警局对面的茶水摊去。但是那个茶摊被六个身穿卡其制服出来休息的警察占了,他们互相揉乱对方的头发,吸着比迪烟。于是这位警员带着我们来到一个小小的拖拉机维修店,我们面对面地坐着——他坐在草坪的椅子上,我坐在一张绳床上。

It was very hot, and bullock carts kept squeaking past on the main road. As we told him what we had discovered on the previous day, the constable kept mopping his forehead with a handkerchief. Then, after a minute or two, he spoke.

天很热,不断有吱嘎作响的牛车经过这条主路。我们告诉他我们之前一天发现的情况后,那名警察不停地用手绢擦额头上的汗。然后,过了一两分钟,他开口说话。

“When you get information of any kind,” he said, “you go and investigate. There are two sides to every story. We have to assume that both sides are telling the truth. Mukesh told us she fell down the stairs. We also spoke to the girl’s family. What the mother gave us in writing was that her daughter fell down the stairs.”

“你得到消息,”他说,“然后你去调查。每个故事都有两面。我们必须假定双方说的都是实话。穆凯什跟我们说,她摔下了楼梯。我们也问过那个女孩的家人。她的妈妈书面承认,女儿是从楼梯上摔下来的。”

For the next 45 minutes, I asked him the same question in many different ways. As she translated, Suhasini tried to make my questions seem less angry, but this was not easy, since I was sitting three feet away from him, leaning forward and staring into his eyes.

在之后的45分钟时间里,我用很多不同的方式问他同一个问题。苏哈西尼在翻译时尽量让我的问题听起来不那么愤怒,但那并不容易,因为我就坐在离他三英尺外的地方,身体前倾,盯着他的眼睛。

If you had asked me at that moment, I would have had difficulty explaining why the truth mattered, since no one I had spoken to seemed interested in reopening the case. But I kept asking him and he kept lying until we were both exhausted.

如果你当时问我,我可能很难跟你解释,为什么事实那么重要,因为我采访过的人中似乎没有一个人对重新调查此案有兴趣。但是,我一直问他,他一直撒谎,直到我们都筋疲力尽。

At one point there was a sort of ripple in the surface of the conversation. We were sitting quietly, having run out of ways to restate our positions. He was gazing at the back wall of the shop, and, completely out of the blue, he said something about Mahatma Gandhi.

在某一个时刻,我们的谈话似乎出现了一点波动。我们安静地坐着,已经找不到其他重申自己立场的方式。他盯着商店的后墙,突然谈起了圣雄甘地。

“People hang Gandhi’s portrait on their walls here,” he said, “but they do not follow Gandhi’s rules.” I asked him whether he liked being a policeman, and he shook his head briefly. No.

“这里的人把甘地的肖像挂在墙上,”他说,“但他们并不遵守甘地的原则。”我问他是否喜欢当警察,他轻轻摇了摇头。说不喜欢。

Then he asked us for a ride home. I wondered whether he might just be interested in riding in an air-conditioned van — people here were so poor, he might not get another chance — but as soon as we began to drive, he began to speak, staring not at us but at the road ahead.

然后,他请求我们开车载他回家。我猜他只是对坐空调车感兴趣——这里的人很穷,他可能再也没有别的机会坐空调车——不过,车一开起来,他就开始说话,没看我们,而是盯着前面的路。

“I will tell you, this was a murder,” he said.

“我跟你们说,这是一场谋杀,”他说。

He said that Mukesh’s family had bribed the senior officers in the police station, but that it could not have happened without a vigorous effort by the village chief, Jahiruddin Mewati, to persuade Geeta’s widowed mother, a day laborer from a village 30 miles away, to withdraw murder charges.

他说,穆凯什的家人贿赂了警察局的高级警官,但这事之所以能成,首先是因为村长贾希尔丁·梅瓦蒂积极说服吉塔那位寡居的母亲撤回谋杀起诉。吉塔的母亲是打零工的,住在30英里外的一个村子里。

The whole thing made him a little sick. “I felt bad about it,” he said. “That’s the reason I want to quit this job. Ninety-nine percent of cases are dealt with in this way. I get very angry. I am an honest person. I can show you four guys here who can rape a woman as easily as plucking the feathers off a bird, but they never get arrested.”

整个事件让他有点恶心。“这件事让我感觉很糟,”他说。“这是我想辞职的原因。这里99%的案件都是这么处理的。我非常愤怒。我是一个诚实的人。我可以告诉你们,这里有四个人,他们强奸妇女就像从鸟身上拔毛,但他们从来没被拘捕。”

He said he was thinking of becoming a driver and asked if we could help him get a visa to the United States. He asked how old my parents were, and where they lived, and whether it was true that many people suffered from diabetes in America. I said this was true, and he looked at me strangely, asking, “Why should I go to such a place?”

他说他想当司机,问我是否可以帮他搞到去美国的签证。他问我父母多大年纪,住在哪里,是不是有很多美国人有糖尿病。我承认那是事实,他奇怪地看着我,问道,“那我为什么要去那样一个地方呢?”

Sunday: The Headman Explains

周日:头领的解释

So I found myself back in Jahiruddin’s yard, now armed with a file folder full of evidence that he had broken the law.

所以,我又回到贾希尔丁的院子里,这次带了一个文件夹,里面全是他违法的证据。

This was a change in the dynamic of our relationship. I put my phone on the table right in front of him, so he could see that I was recording. At one point, listening to us talk, his son tried to warn him that he was incriminating himself, but Jahiruddin didn’t care at all. He told us he was proud of burying the case.

我们的关系发生了变化。我把手机放到他面前的桌子上,这样他就知道我在录音。他的儿子在听我们谈话,儿子一度试图提醒他,他是在承认自己有罪,但贾希尔丁一点儿也不在乎。他对我们说,他为自己能压下这个案子感到自豪。

This was not because he believed that Geeta deserved to die or that her husband deserved to escape punishment. It was something more practical. Mukesh’s extended family controlled 150 votes; Jahiruddin had won his last election by 91. A murder case would have been a blot on their caste, and by brokering the cover-up, he had performed a particularly valuable service to a key vote bank. It might help him win re-election someday.

那并不是因为他认为吉塔应该死去,或者她的丈夫应该逃避惩罚。而是因为更实际的原因。穆凯什庞大的家族掌握着150张选票,而贾希尔丁上次凭借91票获胜。对他们的种姓来说,谋杀案会是一个污点,通过掩盖这起谋杀,他给一个关键的票仓帮了非常有价值的一个忙。将来,那可能有助于他再次当选。

“In India, there is no vote in the name of development,” he said. “In India, there is no vote in the name of doing something good. The vote is in the name of caste, family, community. And then 10 percent of people will say, ‘He did something good for me.’”

“在印度,投票从来都不是为了发展,”他说,“也不是为了做好事。投票都是为了种姓、家族和社区。百分之十的人会说,‘他做的事对我有益。’”

It had not been easy, he said. The police had demanded a large bribe from Mukesh’s family. The hardest part, he said, was persuading the victim’s mother to withdraw the charges.

他说,那并不容易,警察向穆凯什的家人要了一大笔贿赂。他说,最难的是劝说受害者的母亲撤销起诉。

The mother was a day laborer, a tiny, dark-skinned woman who worked on a construction site, carrying cement mix back and forth all day in a basket on her head. She had never been addressed by a policeman until the day of her daughter’s death, let alone a village chief. But she was angry when they saw the state of her daughter’s body. Mukesh had hit the girl so hard, her relatives said, that they could see her skull through the parted skin of her scalp.

吉塔的母亲是打零工的,身材矮小,皮肤黝黑,在工地上干活,每天头上顶着篮子来回运送混凝土。女儿去世前,从没有警察找过她,更别提村长。但是,当他们看到女儿尸体的情况时,她很愤怒。她的亲戚们说,穆凯什下手很重,透过裂开的头皮,可以看见她的头骨。

Jahiruddin said he had worked on the mother for five hours before she relented.

贾希尔丁称,自己给吉塔的母亲做了五个小时的劝说工作,她才最终松口。

“They were totally adamant — they said, ‘We will not allow this compromise to happen.’ They would not budge. They sent the girl’s body for post-mortem,” he said.

“他们特别坚定——他们说,‘我们不会允许这种妥协发生。’他们不会动摇。他们把女孩的尸体送去剖检,”他说。

Sometimes it seemed that the European legal system, with its liberal emphasis on individual rights, had settled only lightly on a country fixated on the rights of groups. Political leaders have driven this deeper into the culture: Equality, in India, is equality among groups. Justice is group justice.

有时你会感觉,强调个体权利的欧洲法律体系,对这个非常注重群体权利的国家影响甚微。政治领袖们让这一点渗透到了文化中:在印度,平等是指群体间的平等。公正是群体间的公正。

Whatever triumphal feeling I got from interrogating the constable, it was gone. So was my amusement with the village chief. He noticed this, and turned to Suhasini.

我在质问那名警察时获得的一点胜利感消失了。我跟这位村长之间的愉快也消失了。他注意到了这一点,把头转向苏哈西尼。

“Please ask her what type of person she thinks I am,” he asked her. “I’m not greedy. I don’t have any kind of greed. It’s a service. Maybe you think I am greedy for votes from villagers.”

“请你问问她,她觉得我是哪种人,”他问她。“我不贪婪。我没有任何贪欲。它是一种服务。你也许会认为,我贪求村民们的投票。”

When I failed to adequately reassure him, he became animated.

我没能充分安抚他,他变得很激动。

“You are here with some kind of greed,” he said. “You want some kind of news. But what am I getting from you? I gave up two hours of my time. What does that mean to you?”

“你来这里也是带着贪欲,”他说。“你想要新闻。而我又能从你那里得到什么呢?我付出了两个小时的时间。那对你有什么意义吗?”

On the way back to Delhi, we stopped by the town where the dead woman’s mother lived, but I no longer expected to find much interest in our investigation. The woman’s mother had accepted what the village chief told her, that dropping the murder case would be better for Geeta’s four children. That the consequences of provoking a conflict between related clans would have weighed heavily on her. It was all for the best, she said.

在返回德里的路上,我们顺道拜访了受害者母亲居住的小镇,但我不再期望人们会对我们的调查产生兴趣。吉塔的母亲承认,村长告诉他,撤销谋杀起诉会对吉塔的四个孩子更好。挑起相关种姓之间的冲突所产生的后果会把她压垮。她说,这是最好的选择。

The silences between us extended uncomfortably, and I realized she was desperate for us to leave but did not dare to say it.

我们之间的沉默尴尬地延续着,我意识到,她特别希望我们离开,只是没敢说出口。

Beside her, with his knees drawn up to his chin, was a small boy of about 8, who had been listening to the whole conversation. It turned out to be Geeta’s son. He was silently glowering, and when I asked him what he thought about this whole situation, he said his father was a good-for-nothing.

她旁边坐着一个八岁左右的小男孩,他用膝盖顶着下巴,他一直在听我们谈话。后来,我们得知他是吉塔的儿子。他安静地沉着脸,我问他怎么看待整个事件,他说自己的父亲一无是处。

“My father did not love my mother,” he said, his voice so quiet that I had to lean forward to hear him.

“我的父亲不爱我的母亲,”他说。他的声音很小,我必须身体前倾,才能听见他的话。

His grandmother looked at him dotingly. “Maybe when he grows up,” she said, “he will take revenge.”

他的外祖母溺爱地看着他。“也许,等他长大以后,”她说,“他会报仇。”

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