Sreesanth has a lot of fans in his home state of Kerala. Some of his fans took out a procession to show their support as well as to solicit others’ sympathy. A few of them seem to think that the cricketer is innocent. The thinking of quite many of them,however, may deserve a serious scrutiny.
That thinking was reflected in a TV programme presented by the Malayalam channel, Asianet, yesterday. The crux of the programme’s argument is: There is rampant corruption in India. There are politicians as well as others who make crores of rupees through fraudulent means. Why single out Sreesanth?
There’s a similar issue being discussed in Kerala these days. A Malayalam actor, Kalabhavan Mani, was involved in a drunken brawl with some forest guards. Mani beat up some of the guards and is now absconding. Yesterday the ADGP of Kerala’s Intelligence Bureau, T P Senkumar, came out with an interesting argument. He asked whether the police would have dealt in the same way with actors like Mammootty or Mohan Lal. What he implied was that the police chose to be stern with Mani because the latter belonged to a low caste and hailed from an economically poor background. Senkumar said that the Kerala police was following the colonial habit of seeing dark skinned people as inferior! [Fair & Lovely and Fair & Handsome can hope to sell more in the state and save people from discrimination.]
Both the instances reveal a highly flowed thinking. The thinking implies that we can mitigate one evil by comparing it with another bigger evil.
This is lethal thinking. Because such thinking eventually can justify any evil. You trivialise one evil by comparing it with a bigger one which in turn can be trivialised by further comparison, and it can go on ad infinitum. No evil is serious enough. Even Hitler can be exonerated. You only need to find the right comparison, the right arguments.
If there is much corruption in India, that corruption also has to be dealt with in the right way instead of using that for mitigating apparently lesser evils. If there is discrimination in the name of caste or class, that evil has to be dealt with instead of using it for justifying other evils. The moment we start this sort of justification of evils by comparing their degrees, we are perpetuating a system of evils. Perhaps we have already done that: perpetuated a system of evils.