I was brought up on a staple diet of tamil and hindi movies when I was growing up in Chennai. I loved and still love my matinee idols. Those days, it was really very cool to be into bollywood. As I grew up, I became more and more aware of the power that the entertainers hold over our great nation. Very truthfully, I must admit that I don’t like what they are doing with the public image and the sweeping fan following that they have. They are setting unhealthy examples and generally damaging the perception of just and fair legal system. Case in point – Sanjay Dutt. My contention is that if it had been an ordinary guy in his place, he wouldn’t have seen the light of day till his time was served. Let us talk about this disturbing topic today
My son asks me “Dad, what happens when you commit a crime?” I say “You go to jail and are locked up there, can’t get out and have a free life till your sentence is served” Now the tricky part! See below
Him: Who is Sanjay Dutt?
Me: A Hindi Star! Why?
Him: Why was he sent to jail?
Me: He did something terribly wrong!
Him: Why is he out now?
Me: The court permitted him to visit his family
Him: Why was he out during Diwali?
Me: The court permitted him then too!
Him: What’s the point sending him to jail and then sending him out like this? So jail is like vacation? He can come and go like this?
Me: *Lost for words*
His final question left me speechless! I tried to explain the legal system and the process, but his original query was still standing! What could I do? Quoting NDTV here “Sanjay Dutt reportedly spent over 118 days out of jail, either on parole or furlough between May 2013 and May 2014. He is meant to serve three and a half years in jail; he had already served 18 months as an under-trial.”
And after this world record breaking stint outside the jail, he has asked for a 14 day extension now! How does a man get the courage to do this? I am still trying to unsee him showing off his bare abs after getting out of jail and making a press statement with the self proclaimed harbinger of social justice – Aamir Khan, about PK. Aamir was gushing with joy that “Sanju” was out. This from the guy who “calls a spade a spade” on his show and weeps on air to show how sensitive he is! What a hypocritical world we live in! There are countless under-trials languishing in jail for years with no crime attributed to them and then there is this man. What an audacious statement that the rich and the famous are above the law!
Please note that I am not trying to troll or flame or whatever they call it now! I have nothing against the persons I have named above. It is just that I am a citizen who votes every time and believes in the system. If the system is lopsided and is protecting rich and famous offenders, I have every right to worry and that is what I am doing.
If my son and hence our children are growing up thinking that affluence absolves them from accountability, we are surely headed to anarchy and total breakdown of civil society. I don’t want my legacy to the next gen to be a lawless state, I want it to be a meaningful life where values and liberties matter and are safeguarded irrespective of who violates or tries to violate them!
India is a Sovereign Socialist Democratic Republic and I want it to stay that way. When a rich man gets away with crime and a poor one suffers for one that he didn’t commit, that idea of India in my head takes a royal beating. I am sure that all of know that there are more such cases where the same is happening. So someone please tell me, what do I tell my son? I am running out of time here!
I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.