The unfortunate death of Sushant Singh Rajput, one of Bollywood’s brightest stars is heart-wrenching. More so because of the news oh him allegedly being a victim of nepotism.
This case has shocked millions of his followers across the country and created a huge social media buzz about nepotism and`outsider’ treatment allegedly meted out to him by some of the bigwigs of this industry who apparently monopolise it. Which means, they allegedly decide which actors should be promoted and those that should be sidelined. Apparently, Sushant fell in the latter category.
These are allegations which the Mumbai Police is also going to investigate upon but this raises the issue of prejudices, groupism (based on or a particular ideology or State) and favouritism, which are a part of several professions and are raised in several institutions.
There are instances of such treatment meted out to professionals of various sectors like corporate, educational institutions and hundreds of government and private offices. Victims, in every working generations, suffer from many aspects of physical and mental instability like depression, lack of confidence, bitterness, taking to alcohol and drugs, staying unemployed or becoming a mental wreck and feeling unwanted.
Some are fortunate to tide over this crisis and stay there or channelize their energies elsewhere like self-employment or spirituality or answering the call of the heart that was suppressed due the `job’ thing, mandatory for survival and status in society.
I know of a young girl, just out of a premier engineering college of Pune, with flying colours who clinched a job with one of India’s leading software companies in Pune. She underwent the required orientation in another city and worked for over three years in the IT Park. Initially, she enjoyed her tenure but soon resentment overpowered her as she faced gender discrimination with her boss.
She would say that despite completing her work and slogging for eight to 10 hours, her boss would keep calling her or messaging her about work even after she reached home. His resentment stemmed from the fact that her male colleagues work for longer hours so why couldn’t she? Her argument being, she never wastes time in office and if she had completed her work, why should she hang around for longer hours? Finally, she left the job, pursued a post graduation degree in Media in the USA and is now working on a freelance basis for an internationally reputed newspaper.
She says the freedom to work without having a prejudiced boss breathing down your throat is a big blessing.
Besides gender, the caste that you belong to attains importance, particularly if you are working for a government office. Many a time promotions, suspensions, superseding of a junior are done with a vengeance. My father worked in a senior capacity (Superintending Engineer) in a State government. Honest to the core, he would get into arguments with Secretariat bosses who wanted certain contracts cleared, which were suspicious in terms of quality and financial irregularities. But, the minister had to have his way.
Once, when my father refused to okay the contract, he was suspended on some frivolous reasons. I remember he brought home a big packet of sweetmeats while breaking the news.
While my mother was aghast, he cheekily said honesty has won and hence the celebration. Time and again, nepotism raised his ugly head on my father, who besides being honest was an `outsider.’ He is but a small representative case of what happens, even to this day, in government offices. He must have definitely gone through immense pain, which he did not express to us and took it all in his stride, but there would be others who would not able to take this stress and tension.
Nepotism in various work contracts of municipal corporations, state governments and central government is so common. Here’s an example. My friend has a NGO. She along with a leading social club decided to build women’s toilets in all the 25 odd police stations of Pune as there were hardly any for women constables. They met a prominent political leader who offered to fund it. For clearance and implementation of the project they had to visit the relevant department of the Municipal Corporation, which they did with their design of a model toilet. They were shocked when they were told by the official that there are only certain architects and certain contractors who would do this work, as per their design. At the end of it, the contractor’s quote was higher and my friend claims the design too was sloppy. So they went back to the Neta who had promised to help them. He apologised and said it is upto them to fight the system or abide by it. So, you see, even the best of architects perhaps do not get an opportunity as a group of contractors, engineers and architects who are in nexus with the officials dominate.
What about media houses? Here too, there is groupism depending on what ideology you follow (although every journalist is required to be open minded and not have inclination to this or that ideology when it concerns his/her professions), what state or caste you belong and also gender discrimination. I’ve closely watched how senior journalists coming from metros like Delhi or Mumbai look down upon others who hail from maybe Pune, Nagpur and so on and despite the latter having carved a niche for themselves are often sidelined.
Even in the field of sports, I’ve closely watched how a clique of people ensure that their favourites are selected for national and international tournaments, even at the expense of compromising the quality.
We keep reading about it in the game of cricket where the head honchos for some reason would choose a player who has shown poor performance at the expense of a one who is more talented.
Indeed, nepotism is like a fourth stage cancer in our country. How many lives will it ruin and even take?
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and/or individuals quoted and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.
Get Real And Stay Relevant says Vinita,