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Lessons from a witch-hunt

Let us not kid ourselves. None of this is about justice. It is not even a question of innocence or guilt which is unlikely to ever be established beyond a shadow of doubt.

Published: 13th September 2020 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th September 2020 04:07 PM   |  A+A-

Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput and Rhea Chakraborty (Photo | Rhea Chakraborty, Instagram)

Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput and Rhea Chakraborty (Photo | Rhea Chakraborty, Instagram)

A beloved actor passed away. Initial reports suggested that he had taken his own life. It was a heart-breaking tragedy which saw an outpouring of shock and grief that quickly gave way to mass rage. The mob went after those who had formerly been named and shamed as flag-bearers of nepotism but gave up when they realised that those who live in shimmering citadels of ivory are unlikely to be hurt by the sentiments of the raucous, mud-slinging multitudes even at their most vehement.

All they have to do is draw the shades and wait it out in air-conditioned comfort till the blood-thirsty, unthinking hordes are offered up a sacrificial lamb, to slake their fury. In this case, it was the girlfriend who has since been questioned exhaustively by minions of the law, harassed by some members of the rabble-rousing press, and hounded endlessly by hooligans baying for her blood.

Let us not kid ourselves. None of this is about justice. It is not even a question of innocence or guilt which is unlikely to ever be established beyond a shadow of doubt. The entire thing has become little more than a circus sideshow cobbled together by the mean-spirited who have been feeding the mob a steady diet of increasingly bizarre and deranged conspiracy theories with cold-hearted calculation. If this shit storm ever abates, the only thing that is likely to remain buried is the truth. As for justice, it was never on the cards. 

We know all this. Because it has happened before. There have been hundreds of high-profile cases which have not been solved satisfactorily and there are probably a gazillion more that did not make it to the headlines. Moreover, let us not forget that there is a pandemic out there roiling through the populace, a mounting death toll, an economy that is poised precariously on the brink of collapse, soaring unemployment rates, caste-, religion- and gender-based crimes, rising illiteracy, poverty, and the calamitous state of just about everything else.

Yet, it has become the norm to fixate with borderline monomania on a single tragedy, until the next cataclysmic disaster strikes to divert attention elsewhere and satiate a deep-seated need for blood, gore and heady entertainment on a scale equivalent to what was formerly witnessed at the Coliseum or during those dark times when royals, traitors and all manner of the damned were publicly guillotined or burnt at the stake on suspicion of witchcraft. Perhaps it would be wiser to take a good, hard look at ourselves and what we stand for, instead of sitting in judgement of a girlfriend who stands accused in the court of public opinion but is innocent until proved guilty. 

anujamouli@gmail.com Author and new age classicist


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