The Fall Guy

Bachchan & the Bofors Scandal - when the media didn't let facts get in the way of a juicy story

ByMadhu Trehan
The Fall Guy
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Extracts from Amitabh Bachchan’s blog entry made on April 25, 2012 on his blog – Comments and additions by Madhu Trehan in Bold.

Amitabh Bachchan’s Blog:

There are tests that are conducted in varied environs – to reach the skies in unlimited realms.

{From Amar Akbar Antony: “Aisa to aadmi life mein doich time bhaagta hai. Olympic ka race ho, yaa police ka case ho. Tum kis liye bhaagta hai bhai?”}

But giving up on one because it failed, would be akin to giving up on life before its turn. There is never an easy or perhaps timely solution. But there is time. Time for the fact and the truth to prevail.

{Time? 25 years?Seriously? From Trishul: “Sahi baat sahi waqt pe kiya jaye to uska maza hi kuch aur hai, Aur main sahi waqt ka intezaar karta hoon.”}

Many an incident has passed by in life, where the accusation, the improbable was tested against reality. It looked and felt and was believed for that moment in the worst.

{Today most people, who must be now in their twenties, find it hard to believe that Amitabh Bachchan was accused of corruption of the worst kind. But if you showed disbelief of his dishonesty at that time, you were called naîve.}

Fighting a storm at it [sic] worst fury would be stupidity.

{As I recall, Amitabh did fight. He spoke about it. Who listened? He fought and won cases in three countries. Clever people again said those cases were fixed. How?}

But waiting for it [sic] spoils to settle, for the rain to stop and the winds to recede, gives us all a sound reason to think in the right direction.

{From Sharabi: “Samundar mein tairne waale – kouon aur taalabon mein dubki nahin lagaya karte hain.”}

And mostly the wrong direction given and taken by some against you, falls on right track.

{From Major Saab: “Don’t mess with the army.” Hell, he didn’t, but who listened?}

And when that happens, it does not take away the burden of its presence then or now. It fortifies the strength of belief and forbearance.

{From Sarkar Raj: “Apni sharto par chalne wale ko keemat chukani padati hai, mujhe jo sahi lagta hai wo mai karta hu.”}

I speak from personal experience and personal exoneration. 25 years after the incident, I read today from one that pioneered accusation and investigation, of innocence.

{From Sholay: “Jo kal hua, woh dubara nahi hoga.”}

Of the fault that never lay before me. Of one that remained and shall perhaps remain a darkened spot, blemished beyond all recognition, but in admittance of wrong doing against me. No one shall be able to understand or even remotely fathom, the hours and days and months and years of the anguish of petulant blame, that I had to go through.

{From Kaalia: “Waqt ki bisaat pe kismat ne jo mohre bichaaye the, unka rukh palat gaya.”}

But will it really interest another? No it shall not. For, those that colluded in desperation still abound, without as much as a conscious twitch on their well-articulated and fashionably cleaned skins.

{Is he talking about journalists? Sonia Gandhi?}

{From Coolie: “Jiske seene mein dil hi nahin, usse dil ka daura kya padega?”}

And would it really have been of any relevance if they had? Of course not! Their mission was misguidance, connived to its maximum, for issues that never ever did be of any concern in the execution of their own selfish mercenary agenda. They won momentarily.

{Is he talking about V P Singh? Sten Lindstrom coming clean after 25 years?}

But lost ultimately. Lost position and strength and power yes, but importantly their conscience. And today that counts the most!

Loss of one’s conscience would have to be the most defeating element in our lives. Somewhere we shall all fall victim to it. But, greatness lies with them that redeem it ….in time!!

{Forgetfulness – a gift of God bestowed upon debtors in compensation for their destitution of conscience.” -Ambrose Bierce}

Time to ponder … to set at rest, that which remained restless…

{From Deewar: “Aaj khush to bahot hoge tum.”}

Are you restless tonight!


Amitabh Bachchan

On April 26, Jaya Bachchan spoke to the press outside Parliament and said that it was a relief to be exonerated after 25 years. However, Jaya pointed out, “Truth has finally come out. We are happy. But I would like to know about all the old stories that were written against him, how will that be wiped out? All the wrong stories that were published because of which he resigned, all that happened, how will you wipe that out?”

To this the journalistic community must plead guilty. The story was hot. It sold. Nobody checked if Amitabh Bachchan and Rajiv Gandhi’s names had been planted. As it turned out, it was done by V P Singh’s government. Nobody investigated what or who was behind the story, which is usually the real story. But that requires too much work. In today’s India, the accusation becomes a fact, no matter how much a person might scream his innocence. As Diana Vreeland told her grandson when he accused her of lying: “Why let facts come in the way of a good story?” It is time for us journalists to introspect.

“Nobody has any conscience about adding to the improbabilities of a marvelous tale.”- Nathanial Hawthorne

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