Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Turning hostile

Want to save your job ? Turn hostile... It works in courts , so why not in offices. Today 6 years after Jessica Lal was murdered at a Page 3 party in Delhi , all the accused have been let off. One critical development was that most of the key witnesses including actor Shayan Munshi turned hostile. Sometimes I wonder if any rich and famous guy would ever be caught and punished by the system.
The fear that scares the living daylights out of me is what happens if I or someone very close to me ever gets entangled in this system. Most Indians associate a 0.03% probability to such an event in their lives. The common refrain especially in Mumbai is "Arre yaar, chup chap apna kaam karo, panga mat lo, summadi se nikal jaao, apne ko kabhi kuch nahi hoga". Some people even try a dash of philosophy " Tune kisika kuch bigada nahi na, to tera bhi kuch hoga nahi, kabhi kabhi thoda adjust kar lena ka ". Proponents of this philosophy would also say "Jessica Lal should have just obliged and made those drinks which were demanded. She was after all an employee at the hotel and kyon faltu mein panga liya usne". Maybe here the panga could have been avoided. Middle class morality would even go to the extent of saying " Page 3 party thi. Page 3 log. Pata nahi kaun sach hai , kaun jhoot hai."
But the question goes beyond the Page 3 crowd. Manjunath's murder at the hand of local mafiosi defeats all the above common arguments given by Indians on why this cannot happen to them. He was doing his job , he was not attending some wild party and he was as middle-class like most of us. Today most of us would be at our wits end if we are coming back from office at night and we witness a murder . Today most of us dont even help a driver whose car has broken down in a peak hour traffic jam . Today although we have zero faith in the system, we dismiss the event of we being caught in its vicious grip and denied justice as a statistical improbability. I dont what is wrong , our knowledge of statistics or our belief system.
Even if this years biggest hit RDB portrays an extremist step , most of us reviewed the movie as " Arre yaar, first half ekdum timepass tha, I dont advocate what the movie preaches as a solution". The breezy first half in the movie is akin to the good times brought by 8% economic growth and low interest rates. The second half is what we all try to dismiss , that we are still years away from a clean system where the offenders are punished .

3 Comments:

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Amodini said...

It's problematic - as you say - when we don't stop to help an injured person on the road, because of police entanglement. But we don't because we think the police is corrupt. And what we fear will the corrupt police do ? Disrupt our lives, entangle/implicate us in an otherwise unrelated incident. Will we have a recourse ? Theoretically, you could fight court battles, but with the Indian justice system, that battle is over before it begins. Practically, you could resort to bribery. But that's if you have the money . What happens to the person who won't pay a bribe because it's against his principles, or doesn't have the money (the poor) ?

Basically what I'm trying out to say, is that the justice system does not work. If we had faith in a system that responded even to the most destitute/the common man, we'd respond. However that change is yet to come.

 
At 12:36 AM, Blogger Ashmant said...

Hi Jayesh,

The root problem is that we Indians want to live in a make believe world where comfort and security are the biggest virtues to be sought.

We lack initiative because of two factors:
1)We fail to see that the world is
governed by factors which are beyond the realm of our cozy,secure lives;that there are areas like politics,law and human rights where every great nation collectively soils its hands.

2)We feel that the system is so rotten that any stand taken by us won't matter eventually.Well,when early settlers landed up in the US
all they had in front of them was a vast piece of land covered with jungle,forget about any modern physical or social infrastructure.Did they say"Chhod na yar,kyun faltu mein mahnat karein yahan desh basane ki"?THEY TOOK IT UPON THEMSELVES TO DEVELOPE THINGS FOR GOOD.
When Gandhi was thrown out of a train in SA,did he say"Chalta hai yar,kaun panga le"?

If we need a utopian world with perfect systems as a prerequisite for initiative,we can very well forget about any initiative completely.

Lastly,when we apply for colleges,don't we try out various options?Ditto with jobs,B-schools and the like.Do we start with an outcry of "Indian co's doing only re-engineering,paying zilch in dollar terms..........." even before giving a serious shot at jobhunting?No

But ask junta for that miniscule effort at changing the system,and we get all facts and figures about our system being rotten and immutable.

Some double statndards here!!

 
At 3:55 AM, Blogger Vinayak said...

Jessica Lall case and the Acquittal :


I' really saddened reading the verdict. This is atrocious and makes a laughing stock of our system of criminal investigation & criminal justice. This is a Blot on the nation.

However I feel we need to do MORE THAN JUST complaining. We need to take concrete steps. More at

http://merabarath.blogspot.com/2006/02/justice-after-jessica-lall.html

Vinayak

 

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