In The Name Of Ram…..
Ali Peter John
Who says a man cannot make a living monument and a miracle of himself, all by himself? This life is interesting only because it has people like these who make their own lives and the lives of millions who follow them and even become their dedicated disciples.
If there was one such man, it was the great and fiery lawyer, Mr Ram Jethmalani who died some days ago after living a very long and very fruitful life and leaving behind a treasure of the memories of the unbelievable and memorable work he did as one of the leading criminal lawyers and a political leader who reached a high in his life when he was appointed the Union Minister for Law and again as Union Minister for Urban Development. In these times when Ram is being used as a weapon to fight and win elections and grab power, this Ram was an entirely different man who made such a name for himself that even his enemies, detractors and rivals will remember for years to come….
Ram was a part of a family of refugees who crossed into India. He had completed his B.A LLB when he was only seventeen. He fought and won his first criminal case when he was twenty and then for the next seventy years, Ram Jethmalani was a name synonymous with the various issues associated with the law of the land…
Ram Jethmalani was the lawyer who was not scared of taking on any briefs and he was the lawyer for some of the most extraordinary cases and in most of these cases, he fought for and defended the most infamous criminals and got them relief or released…
Ram Jethmalani fought for the greatest smuggler, Haji Mastan and his fighting in court for this ‘dangerous’ smuggler made the story of the smuggler so well-known that there were not only books written about him but also wish well-known films like “Deewaar” and “Once Upon A Time In Mumbai”.
He fought the famous Nanavati case in which a commander of the Indian Navy was involved in killing the lover of his wife in cold blood. This story became the foundation on which a film called “Rustom” was made with Akshay Kumar playing the role of Commander Nanavati and the film went on to win Akshay Kumar the National Award for the best actor.
This lawyer who never liked losing a case has also fought another infamous case for the great scamster of the eighties, Harshad Mehta.
Mr Jethmalani had very close connection with the film industry. He was the lawyer and advisor for big names like the Kapoor family, the Boni Kapoor family, and was the lawyer for Sanjay Dutt when the case first came up for hearing. He was approached by Sunil Dutt who had fought the elections from Bombay North-West and had defeated him with a massive margin of votes. I had seen him frothing at the mouth when he was speaking against Sunil Dutt a day after the entire film industry came out in the streets in support of Sunil Dutt. A leading political analyst had said that even if one-fourth of the people who came out to see the stars would vote for Sunil Dutt, he would win. He seemed to have won all their votes. Mr Jethmalani had forgotten the past when he agreed to take on the Sanjay Dutt case. He had made a big difference between his two professions, one as a leading lawyer who sometimes charged a crore of rupees only to appear in court and more when he actually fought the case and the man who was a refugee was one of the richest lawyers ever in independent India.
Mr Jethmalani had also appeared for a number of other cases, one more sensational than the other. There was a saying in the world of crime which said,“ Jethmalani jiske liye khade hote hai woh kabhi haar nahi sakte”. It was this belief in him that made him a cult figure in every corner of the country…
He was not just a serious lawyer and a politician-activist, he also loved the good things of life. He loved good films and good actors. He loved good music and good poetry. There was not a day in his ninety-five years that he was inactive, except for the last few days of his life when he fell sick, perhaps for the first time in his life.
He had his own beliefs about politics. He was an active member of the BJP when it was first founded and was elected to the Lok Sabha twice on a BJP ticket. He had major differences with the BJP and quit to join another party which for him nominated to the Rajya Sabha where he was one of the most respected and also one of the most feared figures.
Why am I telling you this short story which is actually a very long and interesting story? It is because in these days of any number of biopics being made about all kinds of people, Ram Jethmalani would be the ideal subject for a very good and highly interesting biopic…
There is an effort being made by the actress Soha Ali Khan who has been wanting to make a biopic about him and had even met him and got his permission to make her biopic on him.
And there is one of his most ardent disciples, Mr Ram Jawharani, who has been a very close follower of Mr Jethmalani and who runs his Sahyog Foundation, is also eager to make a film about his ‘hero’.
So, when everyone is crying about the storage off stories or ideas about making films, the ever so full of life Mr Ram Jethmalani as offered himself as a parting gift to filmmakers, his life, his love for life and his battles as a lawyer as a perfect subject for a biopic. So, where are those makers who will take up the challenge and make a film about Ram and call it ‘Ram’, which will show the country and the world a Ram who is very different from the Ram a part of this country is using as a strategy to gain power at any cost.
P.S- I was very surprised to see a live interview of him just a few days before he died. He sounded a very dissapointed, disillusioned and very angry old man when he lashed out at some of the most powerful politician leaders like Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and the late Arun Jaitley who he repeatedly called ‘rascals’ and who he said he would expose soon, but that soon however didn’t come in his lifetime and the men he called ‘rascals’ are still busy being the ‘rascals’ he called them.
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