A Ganesh Nadar writes an open letter to President Pranab Mukherjee requesting him to pardon the Bollywood actor currently in jail for possessing an AK 56 in 1993.
Dear Mr President
The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones, so let it be with Sanjay Dutt.
He was, is, and will always be an entertainer. He made me forget the bank manager’s calls to pay up my loans. He made me forget that I hadn’t paid my taxes or my daughter’s fees.
For a hundred rupees he made me forget all my worries as I laughed with him, and cried with him. But the judge says he is guilty and the judge is an honourable man. So are they all, honourable men come to bury Sanjay Dutt.
He had noble parents, both Sunil and Nargis Dutt were the epitome of what a good citizen should be. Nargis shot her son in Mother India when she felt he was doing something wrong. I am sure she would have shot Sanjay Dutt, too.
I don’t know Sanjay Dutt personally. All I know is that Amitabh Bachchan was an angry young man that people were in awe off. Raj Kapoor was the lovable tramp. Sanjay Dutt is a lovable goonda. He made the street-strong man a lovable figure.
Sonia Gandhi forgave Nalini, a Rajiv Gandhi killer, because she is a mother. A former chief minister of Tamil Nadu wants the Rajiv killers to be pardoned. The Punjab chief minister wants a terrorist who killed nine people to be pardoned. So, why not Sanjay?
He hasn’t killed a black buck in any forest. He hasn’t run his car over poor pavement-dwellers. People accused of doing those acts are still roaming free, and you are keeping Sanjay Dutt in prison. Not fair, Mr President.
Now let us examine his sins. He bought an AK 56 from a man who was engineering the Mumbai blasts of 1993 that killed almost 300 people and injured many more. Sanjay Dutt had no inkling of the blasts.
Sanjay Dutt did not buy the gun from a terrorist, but a smuggler. A smuggler whose parties the high and mighty of filmdom and politics used to attend in Dubai. He was only a smuggler then. A much bigger smuggler, Haji Mastan, was pardoned by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The man who gave him the gun later became a terrorist, but you cannot hold Sanjay responsible for that.
Sanjay has been in jail for a long time. He has had the sword of Damocles hanging over his head for 20 long years.
Hiding the fear in his heart, hiding the pain in his eyes, he still entertained me, he still made me laugh. Munnabhai has not only made me happy but he had made millions of Indians happy with his capers.
He has made the slum-dweller feel like a king. He has made the item girl feel like a nurse. He has made the poor forget their sorrow for those few hours in the theatre where the audience is one, both high and low.
A former Indian captain who was accused of fixing matches and banned for life in cricket is now a member of Parliament. If you can forgive a cheat I am sure you can forgive machismo.
For that was what it was, Mr President, machismo. Acting as a Hero in films Sanjay Dutt forgot the line that divides reel life from real life. He has acted as Khalnayak and he lived the image in real life.
Yes, I agree that an assault gun cannot be held by a common man. But that gun was never fired, Mr President. It did not kill a single human being, animal, bird or insect. Mr President, when he was going to jail on Thursday, he was complaining about the mosquitoes there. A man scared of an insect will certainly not harm anyone.
Sanjay Dutt is not a menace to society. He is necessary to society. We are a sad country where politicians are involved in scams that cross lakh of crores and still stand for elections. We have more murder accused in Parliament than on any one street in the country. Sanjay Dutt is a baby compared to some of our politicians both at the Centre and the states.
To quote the Bard again, ‘The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth like the gentle rain from Heaven. It’s twice blest. It blesseth him that giveth and him that taketh’.
The Congress party will not only get the Muslim vote, it will also get the vote of every lover of Munnabhai. I am not asking for forgiveness for him as an individual. I am asking for forgiveness for a man who is the opium of the masses.
He can make people happy. Such people should be free and not in jail.
His sister is a Congress MP. Has she every approached you, Mr President, to pardon her brother? I am sure she hasn’t. She comes from the family of Sunil and Nargis Dutt. She would never use her MP status to approach you, a former Congressman.
I am sure she has never even bothered to tell Sonia or Rahul Gandhi about her personal crises. Such people need to be lauded. Such people should be granted what they don’t ask for.
To err is human, to forgive divine. Let not people dissuade you saying that if you pardon Dutt others will hold this as a precedent to further their own cause.
Sanjay Dutt cannot be used as a precedent for any murderer or terrorist, for he is not a murderer or a terrorist.
Mr President, I have never had the pleasure of meeting you but have heard that you are a wise man. In your wisdom I hope you see that this one act of granting pardon to Sanjay Dutt will make you human, a person that people will connect to.
You are already President, there is no higher post in the land. You are already the First Citizen of our country. Please, Mr President, become the first head of state to step into our hearts, the hearts of filmi fans. Yes, I know it’s not reality. But it’s a fantasy that keeps us happy in this sad, sorrow-filled world