Salman Khan’s Punishment

Salman Khan killed and injured homeless persons in their sleep. He was just indicted and sentenced to five years in jail.

Salman Khan arrestedThis is not an article about how Bollywood actors deserve special treatment, or the rich buying their way out of the law.

I am no fan of Salman Khan, though I respect him as an actor.

And this is what I want to say:

He is going to be in jail, and jail breaks a man. How do I know? I was in jail. And I question if that is the best solution we have to rape, murder and theft.

The only difference between a criminal and me, or you, is the upbringing. For the most part. If you were raised in that household with beatings and exposed to rape routinely, believe me, you would turn out the same. Is the best thing we can do as a society to lock someone away forever, and do not provide help or rehabilitation? Criminals need help.

Remember that feeling when you didn’t do the homework at school, and the teacher found out? Remember what it felt like to be punished? Being indicted and jailed feels much, much worse. And it doesn’t help any. Did it change the person? No. It would just throw the person into greater depression, have less faith in humanity, and develop a deeper bitterness about the lack of kindness and compassion in the world. Remember that Zen teacher who was asked to throw out the little boy monk who stole from the other boys? The teacher said, I won’t throw out this one. You all are free to leave if you choose to. You are good boys who know the difference between right and wrong. He doesn’t. He needs my help the most.

I am not saying he doesn’t deserve to be held accountable. I am increasing cringing under the world punishment. It does no good to break a man. Each day in prison is like a year.

What was the issue here? He was drunk. He was given the privilege of alcohol and he abused it, with the worst consequences. Take away his drink. Make him a teetotaler. Have him give away 50% of his wealth to the victims, charities. Make him live on the street with the people he harmed. He, and the world, will be better for it.

I’d invite society to stop operating in a punitive mindset and step toward the greater good. With compassion, without accusation. There are no degrees of separation. Teach him, help him. Stop hanging and beating people and reinforcing what they learnt as children: that the world is a cruel, harsh place, and you have to fight and kill to survive.

That’s the difference between war and peace, between primitive and advanced societies.

And whatever you do, don’t laugh at him, and don’t make jokes. I am a professional comedian, and I know funny. Going to jail is not funny. You’d shit your pants in half a day.

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4 thoughts on “Salman Khan’s Punishment

  1. instd of lockng him up. @tweetbeinghuman man shuld be dirctd 2 spend anther few crors 4 homs of homless. high expctations indian judiciary!! …exactly my thoughts

  2. Vasu this is an interesting post [ as are all the other opinions I’ve read on Salman’s conviction ].. With your permission I’d like to add a perspective.

    1) History teaches us that if any society doesn’t have a system of deterrents in place, it quickly goes to pieces.

    2) In the field of behaviour modification, there is an increasing body of evidence that points towards a mix of benign [ read early 60s views ] on tolerance and positive re-enforcement; as well as harsher punitive approaches which serve to activate certain parts of the limbic brain system.

    Sadly – Alcohol is a big culprit in supressing socially learned behaviours as well as impairs risk assessment and pretty much sends us back to being apes.

    For arguments sake I’d flip the question and ask :
    What if the guys who raped and killed that girl in Delhi were to plead drunken charges ? What sort of response would we have ?

    In both cases the outcome was death.

    Should they be prosecuted only for the rape or the rape and death or only death ?

    • I am not saying being drunk is an argument for defense. I am asking: how many people actually got reformed from the present prison system? In India, it is horribly broken, horribly abused. It does WAY more damage than good. I am saying hold them accountable. But address the cause instead of giving people a time-out of the rest of their lives.

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