Seeds Of Paranoia: Bengaluru’s New Year

– A newspaper reports of ‘mass molestation’ on the new year’s eve in Bengaluru with nothing as proof but pictures of people who look hammered – both men and women! But the blurred faces in the photographs instantly fire something in our heads which resonates with the word ‘victim’.

– While still questionable, one should not completely rule out that there must have been a good amount of scum in that crowd, there always is.

– Someone writes about her experience and ‘fight’ on social media rather than going to the cops. The excuse of maintaining anonymity is not there anymore but the legal method is still not approached.

– A few ministers from a distant decade make comments which are alright within their realm of understanding but the context is misinterpreted and propagated even further.

– CCTV footage shows nothing of the sort happening at the event. The reporting media outlet makes up excuses when asked to provide the people with further proof.

– One clip of a single attack arises BUT from a different part of the city. Media mobs it and pushes it along with the now questionable piece of news which started it all.

– The culprits of this singular event are apprehended. It turns out they had been stalking the victim for a while – not a case which is exclusive to Indian sex offenders.

– Still no proof of the aforementioned ‘mass molestation’.

– Meanwhile, Indian men get schooled by almost everyone on how they should not rape a woman when they see one.

– International media joins in. The information gets more muddy at their end.

– Everyone projects their righteousness through open letters, articles and hashtags (which slyly shift the aim now to the statements of the ministers rather than the actual issue) while circle-jerking each other aggressively.

– At this point, it is no more about justice, truth or even women’s rights but has rather reduced itself to a game of ‘Look at me! I am nicer, more aware, sensitive and hence better than you. Now like my post and share it so that I get featured somewhere.’

I would really love to see any progress made once that train of thought appears in a movement.

Sabse Bade Bhaisaahab

It did not take much for the truth to come out, only a mere twelve years even when it had always been present. What was more shameful than Salman Khan strolling out of the court after driving over a few people sleeping on the pavement was the support he got from his fans all along. Money had obviously influenced the Indian Judicial system like it always does but fame and popularity had also blinded the masses against a person’s proven misdeeds. He had accidentally killed one of their own and still these men cried and whistled when he briefly appeared and waved at them from his balcony. Celebrity worship took a new low when people started taking the effort to justify his actions. The shamelessness with which witnesses were bought off, evidence bent and the denial still running strong at the end of it was not only appalling but also a lesson about how in this country, you are a God if you make money by entertaining the lowest of the low.

Some defenses which the fans had were that Salman Khan is a great philanthropist and a helpful soul, his good deeds should sort of ‘cancel out’ his mistakes (and crimes) etc. It is true that Salman does a lot for those close to him and beyond but that has never been a legit defense in the court of law. What is surprising is that these defenses mostly come from the well-educated hard working subset of fans who usually support the correct issues (some sane voices have discussed this problem). It is great to see these very people use the tool of inductive reasoning in the way which really makes one tear up and break into a slow clap for their forefathers who fought and survived to see their collective genetic perfection stand up, sit down, log in and type this. They are still not paying enough importance to the fact that a man died because of him! All I have is a message for them: ‘Just imagine yourself on a fine evening walking down a pavement back from work with those glorious ideas behind that pretty face of yours. In your life, you hold value in some people’s eyes and you do not want to disappoint them or yourself but then, out of nowhere, an SUV swerves in and crushes you into a stew on the pavement. Your blood and bones crust up like pizza toppings before the cops arrive. Your entire life and its worth is summed down to (maybe) 50000 INR and your ageing parents don’t have the will or the money to fight this superstar whose twitter feed looks like a slambook of a fifteen year old. And then in the end he walks free.’ This sounds like a perfect plot for a Salman Khan movie with a social message! Wait… what?

We must get this simple thing straight – Salman made a mistake and he should be punished for it like any other citizen of this country. Or maybe I want to live in a world which is too far to reach or too deep in my dreams because here in the real one, some animals truly remain more equal than others. But even if, say, in a distant future should I forget this hit-and-run case, I would never forget Jai Ho. I am sure that I would be diagnosed with cancer anytime in the future just because I watched this film. For that if not for anything else, Salman Khan should definitely be hung.