November 16, 2011 clearly defined what it means to be born in the First Family of Bollywood.
First, it begins with obsessive speculation and gossip in the media. Every movement of the pregnant star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is watched with bated breath. An unheard-of security ring thrown around the Seven Hills Hospital makes sure that the disheartened paparazzi’s desperate attempts capture only a few glimpses of the star walking into the hospital. Discussions on whether it’s going to be a baby girl or a boy or twins leave you wondering whether this modern-day fairytale has just begun!
A little before this comes the gag order from the Broadcast Editors Association: a 10-point advisory to its members on how to report the arrival of Big B’s third grandchild. We can all very well imagine what would have happened otherwise.
The same day, seven of the nine accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts shed tears of joy for the first time after five years of unjustifiable imprisonment. Because, as the trial court put it, there was not a shred of evidence found against these men.
In any other developed country, such a misery meted out to seven innocent men would have evoked strong reactions and perhaps media criticism, too. The victims would have sued heavily everyone responsible for such a serious human rights violation.
Instead, not a peep of protests! The best the media could do is run a serious debate on whether the government should apologize. Since this is not happening, we can’t decide which is worse: the callous government or the ridiculously imbecile media. Absurdity knows no bounds!
We will never truly understand how these men felt when they were jailed despite being innocent. How they lived in subhuman conditions away from their near and dear ones under constant fear. How they put up with the inordinate delay in getting justice even when impenetrable darkness devoured them day in and day out. How they slept through this nightmare, woke up each day and looked out the window where the real criminals were roaming around freely.
Most importantly, we will never be able to fathom how they kept their hopes alive in an atmosphere where being a Muslim itself becomes of a shred of evidence ever so often!