You are on page 1of 1

Crime and Punishment

An article by CA Rajiv D Khatlawala

The last weeks media masala was the prison sentence given to film actor Sanjay Dutt. The media, it seems, got a breakthrough story to chew upon for a week, or maybe even fortnight or longer! The news became a topic of gossip for not only the media, but in fact all sections of society, including, I presume, our own houses. While a lot may have been alleged, discussed and debated, my thoughts actually flow to the famous novel titled Crime and Punishment by Russian author Dostoyvesky. For those who may not have read it, it is a story of a young unemployed man who plans to murder a pawnbroker for money and use the money for good deeds. The youth tries to justify his action of murder convincing him-self that murder of a not-so-good person is justified if done for a greater good. The story of the Novel and that of Sanju baba may have many similarities. Many supporters of the actor, including many in the film fraternity, argue that Sanjay Dutt is now a reformed person and has left the dark days behind him for good. He is a family man and has also done various good deeds in the past decade. The whole issue then is, can or should he be punished, if he has already been transformed? May be the answer is overwhelmingly in the affirmative. One bad deed cannot be set off against one or many good deeds. And if such a thing is allowed in society, we may start living in a place similar to one shown in the old western cowboy films. A wrong deed, done under whatever circumstances, remains a wrong deed and its due punishment must be met out. Contrary to the protagonist in the Novel, in current case, it is the supporters who are trying to justify that the recent good deeds must be used to set off a previous bad deed. A bad deed, says our mythology, will follow the doer all his life, or maybe even beyond. In fact Sanjay Dutt himself must readily accept the punishment, for his own good. If he does not, then the burden of guilt of not having been punished for a wrong deed will remain with him all his life. That situation could be worse than the few years of jail term. In fact there is one huge opportunity in this too. If Sanjay Dutt really wants to do another good deed, he must be allowed to speak out, through our media, in a nationwide broadcast, where he can share his feelings of trauma, tension and guilt and urge todays youth not to indulge in such activities even remotely. Probably such a nationwide broadcast may have much deeper impact on Generation X than the usual gossiping and discussions. Of course these are my personal views and hence subject to debate! CA Rajiv D Khatlawala