George Orwell's gripping narration of the drama unfolding in the condemned cell of a Burmese prison is heart-breaking (“A hanging,” Op-Ed page, Aug. 31).

His words are more powerful than even a video presentation of the scene. He advances his arguments against hanging simply but forcefully by bringing into focus a real hanging.

The Hindu should be complimented wholeheartedly for publishing this essay. Though the arguments for and against hanging remain, I remained emotional and muted for a long time after reading it.

Ravi, Chennai

The essay was moving. Capital punishment is only a deterrent and the judiciary is conscious of that which is why it is used only after heinous crimes have been committed. In Tamil Nadu we heard of capital punishment, in 1995, when Auto Shankar was sent to the gallows. The judiciary is balanced and we must respect the decisions it takes.

V.S. Sankaran, Madurai

Congratulations on publishing the essay. It will serve as an eye-opener to those who favour the death penalty.

S. Viswanathan, Hyderabad

I am sure anybody who reads the brilliant essay will turn an abolitionist if he or she is not one already. I hope that those who decide on mercy petitions will read it. I hope the barbaric practice will be a thing of the past in this country.

Baikadi Suryanarayana Rao, Bangalore

The words are so gripping that they left me numb with a sense of guilt. It is a pity that we humans cannot exhibit compassion to fellow beings what the dog (in the essay) showed to the prisoner by trying to lick his face.

Anbunathan, Chennai

I can't find the words to describe the sense of revulsion I felt at “man's inhumanity to man.” I still feel Orwell's seething anger at this and the intense empathy for the man about to die. Please stop capital punishment.

D. Samuel Lawrence, Madurai

The line “Cutting a life when it is in full tide” explains how gruesome capital punishment is. But it also makes one think of the three accused in the Rajiv Gandhi case who have been in a tryst with death all these years and hoping for clemency.

R. Ananda Krishna Kumar, Coimbatore

One can feel the cruelty, pathos and the revulsion of killing a man in cold blood. George Orwell's descriptions only add to the poignancy of the death sentence. The hangman's rope in the essay is the thin line between life and death. There cannot be a more powerful plea for sanctioning commutation to the killers of Rajiv Gandhi.

K. Panchapagesan, Chennai

More In: Letters | Opinion