Things are getting dirtier by the day in the kissing controversy! It needs to stop somewhere. There is always a problem with the fan culture! For the fans their hero can do no wrong. The hero is infallible and all virtuous! It is not that they only value and appreciate the works of their hero, they worship him wholesale.
They hero-worship him and even try to turn him into a demigod. I am sure after sometime, may be when the people who saw Bhupen Hazarika in person will all be gone, the maestro will be turned into a demigod! The signs are already visible in the air.
You see the framed picture of his feet in many places even now (What a disgusting sight). But, the fans forget that their heroes, the masters are also human beings. Like us the ordinary mortals, they too feel hungry, become angry and even go to loo.
And truth be told some of them are not very liberal with their scruples too, rather they fall below the average standard in their personal manners and behavior. Such examples abound all around us. How did Sridevi die? Have you read the latest news about her? So, be careful, the picture of our heroes may not be always that hunky-dory!
We all know the late Michael Jackson, who was the King of Pop music. In 1993, Michael Jackson was accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy. And finally he had to pay a huge sum to negotiate a settlement out of court. Even British-born sci-fi writer Arthur C Clarke was accused of pedophilia, though he was cleared of all such allegations before his death.
Now coming to Papon controversy what do we see? I understand the kind of mental agony Papon is undergoing presently for his behavior with the young girl. I don’t know whether he committed the wrong willfully! I haven’t seen the controversial Facebook video yet. Nor do I intend to see it. I don’t feel comfortable seeing such things except in movies. But history is replete with numerous such incidents, of which we have already mentioned two.
Appropriate or ‘inappropriate’ touches are no problem between two consenting adults. But it is different when it involves children. Let us be very clear that inappropriate touching of a child is not allowed. It is not done. There is no second opinion on it. But people are presenting some wired arguments in favour of Papon.
They are citing examples of Lakshminath Bezbaroa kissing young Bhupen Hazarika in a function at Cotton Collegiate School in 1931 and also uploading photo of Bhupen Hazarika kissing some young kid and what not!
My dear friends, please try to understand that Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) was passed as recently as 2012. So how can we bring Lakshminath Bezbaroa under its ambit now! As per POCSO act, certain parts of a child’s body can be touched only by her mother and the doctor in presence of her mother. Even other members of her family cannot do it.
Sorry, the time has changed. The sexual harassment act for children is very clear on it. It categorically states what a good touch is and what a bad touch is. Children at times cannot speak for themselves when they face sexual harassment. Their feelings are confused and weird. So someone is needed to speak on their behalf. It is as simple as that.
Whether Papon is guilty or not that will be decided by the court of law. Now don’t bring in the Assamese sentiment here. It has nothing to do with it. Of course, some quarter may read the angle of professional rivalry into it. It may be true or it may not be true. We don’t know. But, if he is not guilty, he will come out of it with flying colours. That will again be a day of celebration for all his fans. Till then let the law take its own course. The law doesn’t differentiate between an ordinary person and a celebrity. Or should I say it shouldn’t?
But, the story doesn’t end here. Why have they, the fans of Papon made the lawyer the target of their attack for bringing the incident to the notice of child rights organization? They have intruded in her private life and are posting all kinds of insulting things against her in social media. This is unfair and in very bad taste. Better to leave the matter entirely to the court of law.
Malakar is a commentator based in Guwahati. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.