When you hear former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, otherwise a very vocal critic of the functioning of central agencies, demanding a central agency like CBI to inquire into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, you know he is doing this because of some majboori (compulsion). Or it is a case of kahin pe nigahen kahin pe nishana (real intent being very different from what appears on the surface).
When Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan, himself an aspiring actor once and scion of an influential political family of Bihar, calls up Maharashtra chief minister to demand a CBI inquiry into the case, you know he is into the game of one-upmanship as assembly elections are round the corner in the state.
And when the Bihar government becomes a party to the legal battle that is bound to escalate on the issue now, you know that the ruling Janata Dal (united) of Nitish Kumar does not want to be seen to be not doing anything on a case that has shocked the country in general and Bihar in particular.
Why the Politicisation on Such a Scale
It all started with BJP MP Nishikant Dubey who promised to raise the issue in Parliament. His party colleague and Bihar’s deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi followed it by paying a visit to Sushant’s Patna home on June 20.
The answer is Sushant’s personality and also the timing of his unfortunate death that coincides with assembly elections in Bihar.Since then politicians as diverse as Mayawati, Subramanian Swamy, Shatrughan Sinha and Rupa Ganguly too have spoken up, demanding a thorough investigation into the death of the budding actor from Bihar. Some have gone to the extent of saying that Sushant was murdered and there is a conspiracy to present it as a case of suicide.
What is so unique about Sushant Singh Rajput’s case that politicians cutting across party lines have voiced the demand for a fair probe?
The answer is Sushant’s personality and also the timing of his unfortunate death that coincides with assembly elections in Bihar.
Sushant represented everything that a Bihari dreams to become. He was very good in studies and sports, he was very articulate and focused, he was very handsome and smart and he excelled in the field where Biharis have had very modest success thus far, barring some exceptions. He had Bihar’s jujharupan. Jujharupam is a typical Bihari word that connotes the will to succeed even in the face of great adversity.
That is the reason why I noticed an upsurge of emotions among my fellow Biharis following the June 14 incident.
They refuse to believe that Sushant could do anything that was not 'quite hero-like'. Since he could do no wrong, he must have been wronged. This is pretty much the predominant sentiment across Bihar and politicians seem to be reflecting that.
Since a section of the media, which is highly partisan and always driven by some agenda, has fanned the sentiment, there is a clamour for mob justice. Hence the search for villains. So far, two villains - Sushant’s girlfriend and Mumbai police- have been identified and they are being vilified on a daily basis.
Don’t Denigrate the Values Sushant Represented
Like everyone else, I am all for justice for Sushant. If there was a foul play, it must be investigated and culprits punished. In fact, as a society, we must always want a free and fair investigation, insulated from media hype and media trial. Unfortunately, we seem to revel in the muck and speculation that is raked up during the course of media trial.
However, what we should not allow is denigration of what all Sushant represented. The proponents of mob justice, and certain news channels are at the forefront on this, have already done immense harm to the legacy we would have liked to associate with Sushant.
To me, Sushant comes across as a quintessential Bihari- a soft-spoken brand ambassador of the state who knew what he wanted to do and also knew how to get it done.
However, he is now being portrayed as someone so naïve that he could be manipulated for days and months. That he was so helpless that he couldn’t even contact his family members and share his pain. That he suffered in silence and finally gave in when he saw no chance of coming out of such a state of helplessness. I find such a portrayal highly problematic. A jujharu Sushant would never have felt helpless.
There is no denying that being an outsider in the make believe world of Bollywood, Sushant would have faced discrimination. He excelled despite that and acted in films any insider would have been proud of.
I refuse to believe that any insider would have managed to break the steely resolve of Sushant. He came across as a man on a mission and I would like to remember him like that. Please don’t drag him into the outsider-insider debate. He effortlessly transcended that divide through his grit and talent. Why should we believe anything else?
Sushant is known to harbour a scientific temper. That is the impression we get while going through his public utterances. However, he is being portrayed as someone who was made to get swayed by the "black magic". That he was so much under the influence of jaadu-tona (black magic) that he lost the will to do things he would have done otherwise.
I won’t like my Sushant to have anything to do with black magic.
And I won’t like over politicisation, the perils of which we have begun to see ourselves, of the issue concerning his very tragic and untimely death.
I would like to remember him as one of the finest actors of the new generation who excelled despite odds. I would also like to have an impartial account of circumstances leading to the tragic incident. Whether regular citizens, Sushant fans or Biharis, we would all like to learn whether it was a case of suicide brought on by medical condition or whether there was any foul play. But for that, we need to let the police do their jobs
Till we get to the truth, can we please stop portraying him as naïve, helpless and given to black magic, just to drive home someone’s biases and prejudices? Such portrayal hurts me and my fellow Biharis.
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