By R.K. Sinha
Shortly after Shahrukh Khan’s son, Aryan Khan was taken into custody for attending a drug party on a cruise, it made instant headlines and became a matter of national debate and discussion. It is being said that Shahrukh Khan and his wife Gauri Khan did not bring up their son Aryan Khan properly in order for him to emerge as a better and responsible citizen. Of course, at the moment such discussions aren’t right. For now, the entire nation expects Shahrukh Khan to let the law take its course. It is obvious that if Aryan is not found guilty of any crime, all charges will be cleared, then he will be released and free to go.
Shahrukh Khan is undoubtedly one of the most popular and distinguished personalities of India. The entire nation recognises and respects him as an actor, performer, and artist. His ancestral roots are connected to a family of freedom fighters. His father, Mr. Taj Muhammad Khan was a freedom fighter. Under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Muslim League’s dream of a separate Islamic nation was fulfilled on 14 August 1947. However, there were several Muslims like Mr. Taj Mohammad Khan who did not accept the newly formed country of Pakistan forged by Jinnah. Despite, being a Muslim, he refused to become a citizen of an Islamic country and to relinquish India as his motherland. That is why he left Pakistan and found his way back to India. Mr. Taj Mohammad Khan was a devoted disciple of Mr. Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who was also well known as ‘Frontier Gandhi’. He preferred to be a citizen of a secular country like India rather than an Islamic nation like Pakistan. Therefore, how significant a family Shahrukh Khan comes from is clearly understood. It would be a gross mistake to question his unwavering patriotism. During the Kargil war, in the early 2000s, Sharukh Khan donated Rs. 25 lakh to the then Prime Minister of India, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
However, prior to Shahrukh Khan, many well-known celebrities have been put to shame due to the antics of their spoilt children. Gandhi Ji’s eldest son, Harilal Gandhi never had a cordial and loving relationship with his father. He had deep-rooted differences with Bapu on several issues. He wanted to go to Britain to pursue his higher education and also aspired to become a barrister like his father. But Bapu did not approve of Harilal’s idea. Due to all these reasons, the bridge between him and Bapu continued to widen. It is said that Harilal indulged in illicit practices like prostitution and drugs.
A few years ago, a film called, ‘Gandhi, My Father,’ which illuminated the complexities of the discordant relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and his rebellious elder son, Harilal was released. The film ‘Gandhi, My Father’ displayed the constant battle of ideals between them and is not the story of Mahatma Gandhi as the “Father of the Nation”, but the story of Harilal and his father Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhiji did not patronize and protect his son Harilal for his wrong and felonious actions. And due to his impartial judgment and honourable actions he became an ideal of the nation.
Sadly, the same cannot be said in the case of the famous film actor, producer, and director, Sunil Dutt, who had proved to be weak on this front. His son, Sanjay Dutt was one of the culprits responsible for the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. In the series of bomb blasts that terrorised Mumbai, 270 innocent civilians were killed and hundreds were left handicapped for life. Properties worth hundreds of crores were destroyed. Mumbai, the financial capital of the country, was rendered paralyzed for several days. In the wake of those blasts, Mumbai never had the bright and fearless life it once was.
March 12, 1993, was a day of great loss and sorrow, the ‘Mumbai Terror Attack’ was categorised by a series of bomb blasts in many places. When those horrific blasts took place the commissioner of Mumbai Police was M.M Singh. The government in power may have been Congress but the police commissioner was a tough and resilient officer. He had once said that if Sanjay Dutt had informed his father Sunil Dutt about the possession of weapons, there would have been no blasts in Mumbai. He said that Sunil Dutt would have definitely disclosed the information to the police. But Sanjay Dutt did not do it. Alas! If Sanjay Dutt had told the appropriate information to his father, Mumbai would have been saved, hundreds of innocent saves would have been spared and thousands of crores of rupees would not have been destroyed.
The case related to the accused of the Mumbai Terror Attack went on for a long time in the Supreme Court. After multiple case hearings, the Supreme Court found Sanjay Dutt guilty. Despite Sanjay Dutt giving all possible arguments in his defense and having hired the best bigshot lawyers, who were paid in lakhs to defend him, their arguments were outright rejected by the Court.
Subsequent to this, the Supreme Court sentenced Sanjay Dutt to 6 years of rigorous imprisonment. Sanjay Dutt was convicted of the crime of procurement of illegal guns and weapons from Abu Salem and Riyaz Siddiqui, possession and finally attempting to destroy them after the blasts and riots. Based on the evidence presented in the court, these weapons were part of the same arsenal that was procured by Pakistani terrorists to be used during the bomb blasts and attack on Mumbai. In his statement in the court, Sanjay Dutt said, ‘I was worried about the safety of my family, so this was the reason for keeping these illegally smuggled weapons. I was terrified and on the advice of some people, I did it ’.
Unfortunately, actor-turned-Congress leader and then a minister in the UPA government, Sunil Dutt also tried hard to save his son. His biased conduct was not accepted by most of the people across the country. On one hand, he talked about peace and brotherhood, and on the other hand, he was trying everything possible to save his son trapped in all sorts of serious charges.
Now, it is time for Shahrukh Khan to also set his example. His best course of action will be to adopt a neutral attitude in all of these matters and allow the law to do justice to Aryan. If he does this, then the respect the country has for him will only amplify. As of now, the whole country has sympathy for Shahrukh Khan and empathizes with those parents whose children have fallen victims to drugs.
(The author is a senior editor, columnist, and former MP. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author.)