Sanjay Dutt: A different justice for the privileged

The Supreme Court has announced its verdict. In all its wisdom, Sanjay Dutt gets an extension of four weeks to surrender rather than the six months he requested. It is the Court’s decision and if we question it, it is tantamount to contempt of court. Therefore, let us circumvent this by concocting a hypothetical story

My name is Yasmin. I was born, an unwanted girl child, the last in a family of five, in the depths of Purulia in the state then known as West Bengal and is now named after a percussive musical instrument. My father was a consumptive rickshaw puller, the kind Dominique Lapierre described as ‘human horses and their chariots of fire’ in City of Joy (not that I can read or anything). My mother was a long-suffering homemaker. I say ‘was’ because they both attained Vaikuntha at a far too young age.

I fell into bad company early enough and all information about the birds and bees were forcibly implanted into me by a series of neighbourhood ruffians. Being enceinte was an inevitable outcome and I was forced to get rid of the evidence surreptitiously and painfully in order to maintain my honour – so important amongst us impoverished. However, word leaked out about my shame and I was branded fallen. I took to abusing both herbaceous and pharmaceutical substances to dull my angst.

One day, when in a stupor, a kindly impresario offered to inculcate me into the world of show business. Pausing only to render the services he wished me to, I agreed, and lo, a star was born. My name spread far and wide in the underbelly and my services were much in demand.

And then, disaster struck. The land was wracked with clashes generated by Maoists. I felt unsafe and purchased some illegal kitchen knives and rolling pins, for my own safety. I hid them in my house and later a friend’s house and much later, tried to destroy them. However, a client snitched on me and I was booked under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and served 18 months in Alipore Jail.

To my immense relief, my angel impresario managed to get me out and appealed for clemency. The catch was that from a mere service provider, I had to transmogrify into a movie star, albeit of the underground variety, as the kind of cinema being produced was, and remains illegal in our country. I gained new fame on flickering mobile and television screens. One of the big successes was a series where I received carnal insights from the mother of the nation. There was even talk of taking the third part of the series to a foreign country – glamorous Bangladesh – but obtaining a visa proved impossible thanks to my criminal record.

20 years down the line, the highest legal body in the land decreed that I have to serve at least three and a half years in jail and gave me four weeks to surrender. I have sought an extension. Will the aforementioned legal body afford me the same leniency accorded to Mr. Sanjay Dutt, on the same ‘humanitarian grounds’, so that I can complete my work on my cutting edge underground films for my ‘poor’ producers?