Friday, November 22, 2013
In the Bollywood blockbuster of yesteryears, a big goon, brandishing the worst shades of power and control over the weak and underprivileged, tattoos on the young protagonist's arm - 'Mera Baap Chor Hai' (My father is a thief); thereby incarcerating the consciousness of the young, impressionable mind scarring him for life. It was especially troubling to my mind and several others, that the young kid, in the film Deewar, was innocent thus far and had no reason to bear the cross for what his father may have done.
Currently, the Indian media spotlight and Drawing Room conversations are centered on a highflying, noteworthy media mogul who has outraged the modesty of a young girl, almost the age of his daughter. The incident, like many others of its kind, has sent a shock wave across the society - the perpetrator has been a highly respected man in his profession and seemed to be one of the most unlikeliest to be ever saddled with a crime such as this.
I have known Tejpals - both husband and wife - through the course of my career. I have worked with Tarun and his publishing company for a handful of book launches and grew to admire his intellect, charisma and leadership qualities. No, not even once did I witness shades of perversion or lasciviousness or impropriety in his conduct or demeanour. So, my first reaction was that of surprise, then shock and later anger. Why, he? Why must some people we admire stoop so low and fall so hard in our eyes!
I have known the wife to be a strong lady - great to work with as a sound professional and good to know as a fellow being. She has always been nice, wise and fair. And to top that, she is an avid animal lover. So, my reaction for her is of sadness. Why, her? Why must good people who have done nothing themselves to deserve this be punished so gravely by those they are closest to!
My thought then goes to the lovely daughters - I don't know them at all but I know that they are a very bright bunch with academic performance and qualifications to match. Moreover, they have been known to spend their free time rescuing suffering animals from the street, volunteering at animal sanctuaries and caring for young and old animals. To my logical mind, there is just no reason why such compassionate kids have to be made to suffer thus. I wonder what all I may have gone through - physically, socially, psychologically, emotionally - if I had to face an errant parent. That is a big punishment to face.
Given the sense of agony the family is already facing, they are being tormented by some depraved, deranged people who insist on tattooing 'Mera Baap Chor Hai' on the soft, slender arms that have so far seen the good times and that have stretched out to help man's four-legged best friends.
While, what the father / husband has done is absolutely unpardonable, there is no reason why our collective ire must turn on the family that is already preparing itself to bear the heavy burden of wrongdoing of its most respected, looked up to, strong member.
Along with the victim, the family is a big sufferer too. While the victim will experience a lot of pain, trauma, anguish and societal stigma; so will the family. And in this case, because the father is a well-known person, who has acquired quite a social standing of prominence, the matter will take a long time to die down for the family; with the scars threatening to stay fresh and gnawing for what looks like eternity right now.
Just as the victim must be shown respect, compassion and kindness; so should the wife and the young daughters of the accused. They are not to be blamed. They have done no wrong. They have not in any way brought on the situation.
In the larger scheme of things, they too are the victims. Please show kindness and empathy towards them. Please do not be that goon in that Indian film who, in representation of his own villainous, basal, despicable character or a complete lack of it, branded the unforgettable lines 'Mera Baap Chor Hai' on an innocent arm; permanently inked lines that served to scorch the soul of the chaste child; haunting the young mind so disastrously that they continued to shape the way the kid turned out to be!
Picture courtesy - Google Images. Picture has been used for only representational purpose and is a stock shot.