There is a biblical story that goes like this. When an adulteress was brought to the village square and was about to be meted out the traditional punishment of death by stoning, all the villagers gathered and took up a stone each. When the family of the woman appealed to Jesus who was in the village, he apparently said words to the effect that: “This woman must be punished. But Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.
I am reminded of this story when I read all the posts in various whatsapp groups about recent cases wherein famous Politicians and Actors in India are able to hire top-notch lawyers or pay their way out of tough criminal cases and avoid going to jail. The common refrain is that the law should be applicable to everyone and just because someone has money-power he/she should not be spared. I wonder how many of us have always strictly adhered to various laws?
We need to do some soul searching and ask ourselves how many times we have paid a bribe – to the traffic cop after jumping a red light; to the TTE for a berth when there were others ahead of us in the waitlist; to the government clerk or ‘karmchaari’ for speeding up our case; to the IT officer to be lenient etc. etc.
My point is about the principle not the magnitude of the crime or the amount of the bribe. If we value our work to be done and don’t mind paying a 1000 Rupees to escape the law we too will probably pay up. If our child was involved – even unwittingly- in a crime, would we actually tell the cops, “he is a criminal, take him and punish him/her to the full extent of the law”? No. My bet is that our first thought will be to spend whatever it takes to ensure our child goes scot free. We will probably consider a few thousand bucks well spent if our kid can avoid a night in jail. In Sallu’s case a few lakhs/crores is the same as a few thousand bucks is to us. The amount is relative. What is not relative and common is that we all are willing to pay something and escape facing the law.
I am sharing this thought for us to reflect and self-introspect.