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The Sensational Case of Salman Khan and Black Bucks, After Two Decades Justice Served?

Salman Khan shikaari

Before beginning, I would like to reiterate that Salman Khan is just a cinema star, nothing more nothing less. So leave celebrity worship aside and try to be pragmatic.

Salman Khan’s past was nowhere similar to his modern-day superhit films. Infamously known as the bad boy of Bollywood, he has been directly involved in criminal cases of pretty grave nature. Hit-and-run case, in which he allegedly under the influence of alcohol ran his car on the footpath in which one person was killed and four got injured. In that case, first his driver was made a scapegoat but a little while later, things became murky the result of which Khan was acquitted by the Mumbai HC in 2015. His relationship with Aishwarya Rai (Bachchan) fetched an excellent TRPs to our media, first with and rumours about their relationship, then with confirmed rumours, and even after the break-up, when former miss world accused him of harassing her. Black Bucks/Chinkara poaching case, about which this post is all about, and, possessing arms with an expired license. These are some criminal cases the actor has faced in his career. I messed up the order of the event, though.

This is the reason why Salman has been branded a habitual offender in the "ultra-delayed" judgement. In his young age, he was like a spoiled brat who drinks, party and carelessly drives his car in high-speed. Much similar to the character he played in ”Tere Naam”. He indeed was a habitual offender, which is why an exemplary punishment has been served to him. It was aimed at sending out a strong and clear message that whether you are a celebrity shikari or an aam shikari, you cannot defeat the law, and certainly not ridicule law and the state with your (mis)deeds. There are legal frameworks to keep you in check, and that applies equally to everyone.

Black Bucks/Chinkara poaching case

Black Bucks / Chinkara

Salman, along with his co-stars - Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu - was there to shoot the movie Hum Saath Saath Hain in the forest near Jodhpur in 1998. Unlike the characters that he plays in movies — where he deals tough situations with great ease — Khan, after poaching Black Bucks just for the sake of his own thrill, ran away. Only in movies his every act can be justified, not in reality.

The case was pursued by the Bishnois community for as long as two decades. The Bishnois are not actors living a double life. Neither they are interested in worshipping some fancy actor, they rather worship nature and consider their duty to protect it. In 1730 AD, a Chipko-type movement took place in Khejarli village in Jodhpur, Rajasthan in which they refused to let King’s men cut the trees in course of which some 363 Bishnois sacrificed their lives to save the khejri tree. They're the “real-life hero” in every sense.

Poaching is a serious offence and the government is not doing much in that direction. The predicament is, even tigers and peacocks, the national animal and national bird of India respectively, have not been spared from poaching and that's too to such an extent of their coming on the brink of extinction. As a matter-of-fact, poaching of other rare animals is still being carried out across the nation.

Now, Bollywood films have an astounding reach to the public. Being one of the biggest stars of Bollywood, Salman Khan case do have wide implications. Had Salman Khan been an ordinary man, the punishment might have been lenient. But, it would certainly not have taken 20 years to pronounce the judgement. It's a shame that it took 20 years for our judiciary to conclude that Salman Khan is guilty.

A Remarkable Fandom

Soon after the judgement came, his fans who fondly call him “Bhai” went all around the social media to criticize the judgment defending him with a lame argument that Khan has been involved in several charity-works. They also suggested our law enforcement agencies to catch professional poachers and, frauds who left the nation before putting Salman bhai behind bars.

So, what is surprising is that, despite his indulgence in the above-mentioned disgraceful criminal event, Khan only rose. This mass followed actor is not as talented as other veteran actors in Bollywood such as Amir Khan or Amitabh Bachchan, who through their performance shake the audience from inside. In most of his films, he goes around punching & kicking and defeating the entire army single-handedly, most of the times, he defeats a heavily armed enemy with his bare hands. Performing weird dance moves and, finally, display his abs & muscles by being shirtless and defeat the main villain. There is hardly any conscience-shaking acting from him. It is probably his unique style and persona that keeps the young generation of India hooked.

As he enjoys millions of fan followings — fans who prefer to live by his breath and copy whatever bhai does, both on and off screen. Therefore, he needs to understand the massive responsibility he bears with his stardom. He himself should have opted for the jail term or appreciate the judgement without making it an issue. But instead he, after breaking law after law, chose to prove his innocence. He rose because of his fans, call them blind or whatever.

This particular case explores multiple facets of the state of India’s judiciary. On one hand, it gives an indication that power and money rule triumphs the state law, while on the other, it shows that there are people in the system who cannot be bought or subdued with money, or power, or both.

Even when this piece was in drafts, the actor was granted bail. I had to edit a lot while working on it. The bail was largely expected. Just spending two days in jail, out of the sentenced 5-year term, the actor has been released on bail. Now the entire fuss seems to have ended when bhai can roam free!

Those having unquestioning faith in Salman Bhai certainly will not be sharing this post, if they come across it. But, those who are not his die-hard fan, or simply a neutral fella, perhaps will do!


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