It makes a mockery of the oft quoted statement that whosoever you may be, the law is above you.
The case involving the conviction and release on bail of the popular Bollywood star Salman Khan has led to animated public discussion. It has a certain parallel with the novel Animal Farm written by George Orwell in 1946. It is a satirical novel in which story revolves round a group of animals who oust the humans from the farm on which they live. This happens because the animals see through the ploy of the humans when they say that Man and Animals have a common interest and that the prosperity of one is the prosperity of the other. In reality the animals find that Man serves the interest of no creature except himself. Intelligence dawns that man is responsible for their miserable condition. The animals run the farm by themselves only to have it degenerate into a brutal tyranny of its own. Animals had assumed, as a matter of course, that the product of their hard work would be shared. But pigs behave as if they own the farm and have a canine force to back up their claim. Their justification is that they are the brainworkers and claim that whole organization depends on them because they are watching over the welfare of other animals.
The canine force can be compared to the Bollywood fraternity that has defended Salman Khan, and earlier, Sanjay Dutt with tenacity as if their screen image is sufficient to bail them out of any heinous crime they commit. In the case of Salman Khan there was another additional reason – his charity work. If this is the case of Bollywood stars the other powerful and moneyed people like Ramalinga Raju of Satyam fame or Jayalalitha and others of their ilk tell a sordid story of justice being derailed. It appears the whole system conspires to bail them out to symbolize that the powerful and influential people in our society are above the pale of law making a caricature of our system of democracy while lakhs of poor people languish in jails across the country for years for committing petty crimes.
Another sickening feature is the double standard of our so called erudite criminal lawyers who, for hefty fees, are prepared to sell their soul to defend the indefensible. They indulge in technical wizardry of judicial interpretation to lead astray the system that is patently immoral and unethical. They have their professional justification alright but it is rotten to the core.
While we boast that we are the largest working democracy in the world, the comparison with other more evolved democracy like United States of America is revealing. The recent case of Rajat Gupta, a high profile businessman and a legend in his time for his charity work and belongs to the charmed circle of former president Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Kofi Annan, was jailed for two years for insider trading despite their appeal to the District Judge.
The hypocrisy of the Bollywod fraternity which has enormous popularity and wields influence on millions of its fans is glaring. While the film fraternity has stood solidly behind Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt’s conviction on grounds of grave crimes, their conscience does not seem to be perturbed on India’s national tragedy concerning the Kashmir problem when Pakistan is bleeding India for decades by terrorist attacks or when Pandits are hounded out of their homes.
MR. H. R. BAPU SATYANARAYANA is a freelance writer based in Mysore. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FF Online Says : Mr. Bapu Satyanarayana had written this piece in June 2015 which we were unable to carry owing to space restriction in Freedom First July 2015 issue (print edition). This is the first part of his article. The four case studies made by him on this subject will be put up soon.