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Sanjay syndrome

Sanjay syndrome
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We are a nation of emotional people. Kind, sentimental and often indulgent. We react instantly, shelve our anger regularly, accommodate frailty...

We are a nation of emotional people. Kind, sentimental and often indulgent. We react instantly, shelve our anger regularly, accommodate frailty generously and shed a tear unnecessarily. It is a misplaced human weakness- a very common syndrome that is true to any country, anywhere- more so in India. Two criminals who gained international reputation during the last century come to mind- Caryl Chessmann and Karl Adolf Eichmann. I was working in a Telugu daily then and if my memory serves me right, several girls wrote love letters to Chessmann and at least a couple committed suicide when he was hanged. He was a notorious robber and rapist, who was merely 39 when he was executed. There was an intense drama during the time of execution. The Governor Brown of California, who was an opponent of death penalty had to decree his death at San Quentin prison on May 2, 1960. As the execution began and gas started filling the chamber, the judge's secretary called the authorities to stop the execution as some new evidence surfaced. They said it was too late as the execution began and gas fumes started filling the chamber. Even if they tried to stop, the fumes will consume the staff there. The secretary originally fumbled dialing a wrong number and the few seconds lost to dial the right number was all that made the difference. The gas was entrapping the criminal. Reminds one of the film "Abhilasha'' when Rallapalli reaches the spot shouting the execution to stop in time? Another case was of Nazi war criminal Karl Adolf Eichmann who escaped during the World War II but was captured in 1960 at Buenos Aires. He was responsible for facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deployment of Jews to ghettos and execution camps in German occupied Eastern Europe. He was executed on 31 March, 1962. Caryl Chessman wrote at least four books during his detention in jail, all becoming very popular and his novel 'Cell 2455, Death Row' was made into a film by Columbia Pictures and became an instant hit.A And now, at last Sanjay Dutt has been sentenced to a 5 year jail term after 17 years of trial. He had served 18 months of detention earlier. His father- Sunil Dutt, a versatile artiste, great patriot and a social worker who delivered our first Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial Lecture, was a fine human being and a good supporter of our cause till his last. I met him at his office at Mumbai to invite him to our function. He had a big photo of his mother on the wall and a small photo with his illustrious wife Nargis on his table. There were any number of people waiting to garner his help, in the vicinity.A When his son was arrested under TADA after 1993 blasts, Sunil Dutt � a Congress parliamentarian ran from pillar to post to rescue his son from jail. It was Bal Thackeray who came to his rescue, rather belatedly, and Sanjay Dutt was given bail. The entire family was stigmatized as this young man was arrested for terrorist activities. The lower court eventually absolved him from the "terrorist'' label but he was tried for keeping a large cache of arms. The judgment was strikingly arbitrary of a 'benign judicial eye' as a lady (Zaibunnisa Anwar Qazi) for a similar crime was sent to jail and the driver who carried weapons to Dutt and the persons who procured them were tried for TADA crimes. He was then 33 years old. He had been to Dubai, met Dawood Ibrahim, the main architect of the crime who in turn put him to his brother Anees Ibrahim and Abu Salem, Chhota Rajan and several other underground d mafia and he soon became a conduit for arms bank. Several 9mm pistols, AK-56 rifles, the kind of which were not even available to the police force then, and hand grenades in a specially improvised compartment of his car.
He claimed that he kept these arms to protect himself and his family- but that contention was never held valid. He was convicted under arms act for illegal possession of arms in 1993 Mumbai blasts when 257 persons died and 700 injured. A As one belonging to a very respectable family- who had their share of sacrifices and services to the society- Sanjay carried in him the same genes and later stood by all the rules of the land. And then came a series of 'Munnabhai' films that made him a darling of the millions across the nation. Munnabhai was an uneducated boor, who bullied the system to meet his desired end. It was a funny film with a weird sense of humour. The steamrollering of the stereotyped system tickled the imagination of the masses and the film was a hit. Was Munnabhai a reflection of Sanjay himself- whose intentions are noble while his actions are culpable? Was this a statement in a different garb? Be that as it may, Munnabhai delivered and the melodrama prevailed. Gandhigiri settled as a mantra in a trouble-torn society- not as it should have been, but as it happened. A His well wishers from film fraternity echo that he had already paid the price by serving 18 months in prison and waiting for 17 years with a Damocles' sword on his head and he is now a reformed man. But the moot question is 'who will decide the sufficiency or otherwise of the price?' Repentance under duress cannot qualify as 'reformation'. Had he surrendered his arms after 1993 blasts voluntarily, after the shocking blasts and became an approver and claimed innocence to the extent of treachery into which he was dragged without his knowledge- his culpability would have had a different emphasis. Truth is like a furnace. It will not warn, but burn. It will not judge but nudge. Truth is a vulgar negotiator that has only one direction to ponder and proceed. A 33 year old young man who became a conduit of arms to one of the gravest crimes of this country, who tried to destroy the evidence and retract his own vouchsafed statements- however remorseful he may be-the repentance cannot outbalance his committal. A Justice has its own role to perform and it is a cruel nemesis based only on truth and nothing but truth. Sadly, the time is running out for the tragic hero Sanjay Dutt, as he is required to surrender in four weeks. In all this sordid theatre- one should remember that there is no alternative to truth. Good behavior might be an allowance but not an answer to bad conduct.
(gmrsivani@gmail.com)
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