A few years back a wonderful movie had made a great splash. Many flocked to watch it and almost all liked it. It depicted an upright police officer in charge of busting jehadi terror modules in Bharat. While doing his duty he comes across a popular ghazal singer. The officer also happens to be very fond of ghazals and adores the singer who tells the officer that he was originally from Bharat but at the time of Partition he had to flee India. The singer also invites the officer to see his ancestors’ haveli on Bharat-Pakistan border near Jaisalmer. It so happens that the officer, in the process of investigating one of many terror attacks, reaches Jaisalmer. His deep investigations direct the trail to a spot where arms, ammunition and people to be supplied for such attacks are hidden. And this spot happens to be the same haveli of that popular ghazal singer. Shocked and saddened, the officer requests the singer to surrender. He not only refuses but creates a huge media campaign posing himself as a victim. The officer had to face a lot of social flak and governmental pressure, but does not give up the truth. Ultimately, the officer catches the singer and before the officer arrests him, the singer kills himself in front of many policemen confessing to the crime while blaming Bharat and glorifying Pakistan. The movie was Sarfarosh.
Yes, I know, this is a serious type of a column and not a movie story-telling forum.
But a somewhat similar situation is being enacted in Bharat these days and that too by film personalities who never wasted a single opportunity to hysterically yell and condemn all that is Hindu, who blamed entire Gujarat for 2002 riots and who blamed entire Bharat for Malegaon. They even blamed Bharat for jehadi attacks on Mumbai! The comment of a veteran film man then was that instead of blaming people like Kasab we should find out why these poor innocent youth get into such acts-if at all they have done it! He did not have the similar logic for Gujarat. The same man was seen on almost all TV channels demanding all to be put behind bars and immediately hanged whose names had figured in the phone calls list in Gujarat-then be it even a driver who might be daily confirming the time to report! But the same filmy man and his family forgot their logic of that time. Now when his son’s phone records, meeting records, pub-going records are all splashed with jehadi David Headley alias Dawood Gilani from Pakistan, he suddenly remembers the principle that unless proven otherwise everyone is innocent! He and the family are even throwing filmy dialogues and playing ‘me victim’, ‘me hero’ etc games. It is time that Bharat stands up and tells this filmy family that command over language and proficiency in acting are not proofs of innocence. This family even has the audacity to tell Bharat that its son is a hero because he himself went to police!
This is not being written to blame anyone in particular. But the point is celebrity syndrome of media and the society at large and the celebrity itch of a few celebrities to put themselves on a higher pedestal and keep on speaking on each and every issue on the same media. It is a hurdle in true justice. Highly-opinionated shrill voices, a very typical attitude siding a particular community and pronouncing judgments treating oneself as not only above judiciary but also above God are the characteristics of such a few celebrity groups. They are not like the common poor people on the streets who express their honest opinions on some TV shows. This group of the so-called celebrities has a specific agenda and that is to tom-tom greatly about only a particular community. This group vanishes when millions of Tamil Hindus get brutally attacked in Sri Lanka or in Malaysia or even in Assam! This means they are biased; they not only blah-blah on media all the time but also have an agenda against the majority of this nation. Their celebrity status gives them access to media. They even try to influence the judiciary through their blah-blah and their behind-the-screen activities- anyway most of them are expert in scripting and acting!
All famous people do not do this. All celebrities do not indulge in such gross misuse of their celebrity status. But those who do so are dangerous to the nation. Sometime back, a senior celebrity-cum-political leader went on the platform of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind and said, “Hamare aur Jamiat ke usul ek hai.” After some time when Jamiat came out with frivolous fatwas, the same leader wasn’t even available for comments. This is the point. Preaching is okay when it does not touch them, but the moment what goes around comes around, the same celebrities start speaking of principles of justice or showing off glycerin tears!
The serious part of it is that a section of media gives in to their tactics, which affects the very basis of justice and influences the investigations. Some years back, a channel ran a story “Rapist Uncle” based on an FIR by a niece. Police kept on requesting the channel not to say so until investigations are done. But the channel continued. Socially and mentally hurt, that man and his wife committed suicide. A day after this, the police came to conclusion that he was innocent and even that niece confessed to a fake FIR. Many social celebrity activists said all sorts of things about that man on that channel. The celebrity itch and some media enamoured by them got a family killed in the process! One hopes the judiciary would take a suo moto note of such proxy killings by the celebrity itch and biased media trials. Most media in Bharat are balanced and try to give views of both sides. But a few with a specific agenda or revenue compulsions go beyond the social duty and that’s the fodder of such celebrities.
Investigating agencies, the judiciary and the common man have a socio-legal responsibility to stay balanced, not to get influenced by such celebrity itches or media trials and keep on doing impartial investigations and justice. Lately, there has been a fashion that some investigation agencies leak selective information to their media ‘friends’. Going beyond that some celebrities use this information to express their biased opinions and even pronounce the judgments even before the investigation begins! This not only jeopardizes the cases in question but also many people in the society have to undergo the worst type of social stigma and even sometimes undue police wrath.
Two days back an international political celebrity US Prez Barack Hussein Obama pronounced that Tibet is a part of China. Maybe. But while saying so, Prez Obama’s celebrity itch forgot to even verify as to what Indo-China accord between China and Pandit Nehru says. China ignored that accord and only expected Bharat to follow it! But international celebrity-hood of Prez Obama has over-ridden his balancing responsibility (or so to say even he has a specific agenda.). Such celebrities ill-affect even international relations while a few national celebrities ill-affect national social relations.
Bharat does not live on Page-3 of some English glossies. Bharat also does not live in the arm-chaired AC net magazines. Bharat enjoys watching movies, listening to good music, seeing great paintings and appreciating creativity. But when some celebrities in such fields, using their social status, hurt the very logic of justice, it is time that Bharat, its investigating agencies and the judiciary stand up and tell such people to focus on their fields and not to interfere and disturb social systems of Bharat. It has almost become a notion these days that freedom of expression is available only to such celebrities and so-called pseudo-social commentators. Before the celebrity itch virus spreads further, let’s start common man’s justice council to check such a menace, work towards preventing such ‘holier than thou’ attitudes and ensure that no partial favours are done by the governments to such celebrities and to their families or neither is there a hard view only because one is a celebrity. Let us ensure that there is a true justice for all.
(The writer is a renowned cancer surgeon and secretary general of VHP. He can be contacted at [email protected])