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So Salman Khan knows what it feels like to be a 'raped woman'?

Twisha Chandra
Twisha ChandraJun 21, 2016 | 14:56

So Salman Khan knows what it feels like to be a 'raped woman'?

Did Salman Khan just say he felt “like a raped woman”?

I recently read the letter penned by the survivor of the Stanford rape case and was pondering whether he felt as outraged, as angry, as sad, as numb, as humiliated and empty as she did?

You really did, Mr Khan, didn’t you?

You did feel all this while earning the big bucks and the dizzying fame, shooting in the comfort of a crew, actors and a team who would bend to your every small wish, while feasting on the famous “biryani” I have heard your mum makes for you - relaxing in the cozy corners of your vanity van. Do you understand the significance of the word “rape”? Of “assault”?

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Shed your hypocrisy for once Bollywood and rise in clamour.

It is not an accident, not a role play, it is definitely more severe and painful than “lifting and thrusting on the ground, and lifting 120-kilo guy 10 times from 10 different angles”.

It may sometimes be as gruesome as perhaps 10 men - 10 times your size - attacking the survivor with 10 times the ferocity, forcing themselves upon one hapless person whom we call a “victim” not only for the physical pain that they endure, but also because of the scars it leaves on their psyche.

It leaves one in a situation where one cannot only “walk straight”, or “think straight” for aeons, maybe a lifetime. Salman Khan bears such a striking similarity to Brock Turner, the accused in the Stanford rape case that I cannot help but draw parallels.

Not that he is a rape convict, not at all, he has been accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriends, of running over people, killing and injuring them while they were sleeping on a pavement, of hunting down endangered blackbucks, humiliating a fellow, of course lesser known and lesser paid colleague - singer Arijit Singh - from the industry, who “dared” to apologise publicly.

Yet, Salman Khan was so unforgiving so as to ask “who he was” instead of showing magnanimity and what is he punishing Arijit Singh for? For taking a pun at a mighty Khan? While he makes the most cruel jokes on the sets of Bigg Boss about several contestants and gets away with below-the-belt attacks, those who challenge him are punished by having a “The End” plaque firmly placed on their careers.

We all are conversant with the “Once upon a time there was an actor called Vivek Oberoi” tale. Brock Turner’s father made a strong case against severe punishment by referring to the “rape” as “20 minutes of action” and further by showing off his son’s credentials of being the star swimmer of the university.

This again resonates with Salim Khan’s tweet in son’s favour when Salman was appointed the goodwill ambassador of Rio Olympics, overlooking many awarded sportspersons.

His father not only bragged about the actor being an “ace cyclist”, but also disparaged one of the greatest athletes of India whose name I am sure every child in India is more familiar with than his glorious child.

Just like Turner, who was not "in his senses" that night, Salman Khan was also not conscious enough to know that he turned the steering wheel of his car towards the pavement that fateful night he ran over four people, was he?

Let’s blame that bottle of alcohol and, in Salman’s case, his ill-fated driver! Brock Turner and Salman Khan are so different from each other - their worlds so far apart - accused in two separate cases of violation, two very different situations, yet I hear the same, old tirade of privilege, of arrogance, power and money.

I hear the plea of the two fathers who, instead of taking responsibility, are blinded by their love for their children, who employ any logic to defend the indefensible.

The letter signed by Turner’s friends echoes of the way Bollywood reacted when Salman Khan was convicted by the court - the judgment was termed “unfair”, “harsh”, “unjustified”. It is the prominent speaking for one of their own, the cozy club of the indomitable - each has the other's back.

Salman's conviction was, of course, reversed, like Turner’s, where he was given laughable six months’. Yes, I maybe going to ridiculous lengths to compare the actual act of rape with a seemingly “harmless” comment as many of his fans see it.

Perhaps it was made in jest, but it is a reflection of superciliousness of a conceited man, of the film fraternity which has all but maintained a stoic silence, of the general lack of awareness of the common people - their passivity and their indifference, when they resort to any means to defend their “bhai” who after all has a heart of gold.

If “bhai”, who is mostly equated with a protector in India, has such callous disregard for what a survivor suffers at the hands of a hellish perpetrator, I wonder who will educate and spread awareness about the abominable act.

Yes, the superstar was prompt in retracting his seemingly innocuous, yet extremely shameful statement.

His father too has come forward to apologise for Salman's insensitive choice of words.

But why is a humiliating and violent act like rape so easily trivialised and taken for granted by the likes of the superstar? Why do public figures find it convenient to reduce rape to just another assault, and later apologise for the slip-ups?

Shed your hypocrisy for once Bollywood and rise in clamour. Do not let go of this as just “another” statement, an apology is the least we one deserves! And we can then maybe be large-hearted enough to let this go, again.

Last updated: June 22, 2016 | 17:09
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