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GUEST COLUMN

BECAUSE INTROSPECTION IS BRAVER THAN POINTING FINGERS

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4 min Read

Most, if not all, of our brains, are wired this way. We suck at confrontation, we are intransigent, fear introspection, and we always need somebody to blame for our wrongs. Because that absolves us from thinking. Thinking makes us uncomfortable. Thinking involves discovering layers beneath layers of how and why of things which might lead to questioning our established believes and we like to be impervious to change.

Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide has lead to all sorts of theories running on the internet. But all these theories have one factor in common — that it was a depression-induced suicide. The one theory that particularly blew my mind was how nepotism has been blamed for everything wrong that was happening with Sushant. Do people really think Alia’s silly comments, made years ago on Koffee with Karan, made Sushant to commit suicide ?. For one, I don’t believe that nepotism had anything to do with Sushant’s depression.

Sushant Singh Rajput

Karan Johar made Drive with Sushant. Sushant was cast in two Aditya Chopra productions— Shudh Desi Romance and Byomkesh Bakshi. He has been paired with star kids — Shraddha Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Sara Ali Khan. Even the allegation that Aditya Chopra replaced Sushant with Ranveer Singh in Befikre reflects professional conflict rather than nepotism (because Ranveer is again not a Star-kid).

India thrives on JUGAAD — and nepotism is a subset of it. Before saying all bad things about nepotism, let's understand what it really is — It is a parent providing for his/her kid’s future using connections and friends which he/she has built over his/her lifetime. I don't see there is anything wrong if Shahrukh calls Karan Johar to launch Aryan or Suhana in his films or if Anil Kapoor makes a movie starring his daughter Sonam Kapoor. Why is it looked down upon to use one’s family’s connections and money to get ahead in life, when all of us have done it at some point or the other ? to get a job, internship, business deal or even to get out of a traffic ticket? Why is it seen as unfair to encash upon your family’s hard work and network? What is wrong with being Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Anurag Thakur, Mehbooba Mufti or Omar Abdullah? Have you been in their places would you have refused to be a politician because hey! nepotism is bad. What is wrong with Anil Ambani making Akaash and Isha the CEOs of Reliance someday ? or Ram Jethmalani handing over his clients to his kids ?. Because he worked hard for them, for his family, for his kids. Would you have refused a board seat on your family’s company?

This world thrives on quid pro quo's and favours, aka, nepotism. Some people who are new to this circle will always have a hard time getting in, but that does not mean you don't try. You make-up for the lack of connections and godfathers with your hard work and persistence. The competition will be tough, you will have to prove more, run an extra mile, pass more tests, work harder, stand in long queues and give more auditions because you believe in survival of the fittest. You become Deepika Padukone, Ayushman Khurrana, Anushka Sharma, Rajkumar Rao, Katrina Kaif, Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin and Ranveer Singh. Nepotism is like a launch vehicle to a satellite, it can only give you a push but cannot help you stay in space if you are not strong enough. Uday Chopra, Vivek Oberoi, Tusshar Kapoor, Athiya Shetty, Abhishek Bacchan, Imran Khan, Esha Deol are just some examples of a good launch vehicle but a weak structure.

Believe in the power of merit, audience and democracy. It might take a little long but it's not impossible.

Stop blaming Karan Johar and Alia Bhatt because it is easier to make someone your punching bag rather than understanding depression and nepotism. Instead of complaining, work-hard towards a goal wherein you are able to exercise the same amount of influence and power. Ram Gopal Verma explained this never-ending loop of nepotism when he said: “ If people like Sushant hung on, then in about 15 or 20 years he would have become an insider when he is launching his own son/daughter and some outsider then would have blamed him how everyone else is blaming Karan Johar and Ali Bhatt”. You don’t object when you attain it but complain when pursuing it.

Nepotism is a way of life that cannot be rooted-out and neither is it reasonable to do so. But we definitely can exercise it in a way which makes the gap between an insider and an outsider a little more blurry by making a little more effort in making people/ outsiders feel at home. Maybe stop by for a little chat before heading to your usual group of friends. See it more like a new kid at school on his first day. He/she might feel intimidated on the first day at school and not get your insider jokes, but it's our responsibility to make him/her inclusive. You cannot give away your privileges but you can definitely make room for new friends on the table. Depression is not caused when you see someone else getting the bigger piece of cake at a party, but its when you realize you are sitting alone at one. People want to be heard- seen- and- acknowledged. Everything boils down to loneliness — let's try and make people feel a little less lonely and a lot more heard. And that is what, I think happened with Sushant — he was just lonely. So try spending more time talking to people around you and less time on unfollowing Alia on Instagram.


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