It has been more than 2 decades since the fateful day when Gulshan Kumar stepped out of a temple after his morning prayers and was shot dead by Muslim gangsters. Witnesses claim that before shooting at him, the criminals taunted him by saying, “you have done enough pooja. Now go up and do your pooja.” The gunmen fired 16 rounds at him that caused severe injuries leading to his immediate death.
Here we present to you a quick rundown of events in the Gulshan Kumar murder case.
August 30, 1997: Nadeem Akhtar Saifee of the Music Composer duo Nadeem-Shravan was named a co-conspirator in the Music Mogul’s murder. He was accused to have hired the gunmen. He immediately fled to the United Kingdom and has been staying there ever since.
October 1997: Tips Industries co-founder and movie producer Ramesh Taurani was detained under charges of abetting Gulshan Kumar’s murder. It was also being alleged that the business rival had given a sum of 25 lakh rupees to the shooters.
November 1997: A 400-page long charge sheet, with 26 people named accused, was filed by the Mumbai police. 15 people were taken under arrest, while other arrests continued.
January 2001: Police apprehended one of the gunmen Daud Merchant alias Abdul Rauf from Kolkata.
June 2001: Trial began.
April 29, 2002: 19 people accused, including Ramesh Taurani in the case were acquitted in the case, while Abdul Rauf was held guilty under section 27 (possession of arms) of the Indian Arms Act, 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), Sections 302 (murder), 307 (murder attempt), 392 (robbery) and 397 (causing grievous hurt in robbery) of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to life imprisonment.
He filed an appeal challenging his conviction. The state government filed an appeal challenging Taurani’s acquittal.
July 1, 2021: The Bombay High court upheld Rauf’s conviction and the life sentence, quashed his conviction under IPC sections 392 and 397. The HC also dismissed the state government’s appeal against the acquittal of Taurani.
It will not be untrue if we hold the murder of Gulshan Kumar not as a matter of professional rivalry alone, but as an attack on the only standing pillar of Hinduism in an Industry that was driven by Urdu philosophy and was under Muslim hegemony from the era of Dilip Kumar. Bollywood had never done justice to the grandeur of the Sanatan Dharma and had relegated the stature of Bhagwan Shri Ram to the quintessential servant, Ramu Kaka.
On the other hand, there was Gulshan Kumar, who had started as a fruit Juice seller in the capital city and with unprecedented industry and dedication, had built an empire in Mumbai and was giving breaks to many new talents like Sonu Nigam and Anuradha Paudwal. He also made inroads into movie-making and hit jackpot with films like Ashiqui which was both a musical and box office success.
However, in his fairy tale success, the Music Mogul didn’t distance himself from his Sanatani roots. He promoted devotional music in movies, as well as non-filmy bhajans, which were also given a prominent platform by T-Series. Worth noting that the ‘T’ in T-Series denotes the Trishul of Mahadev. The label of T-series cassettes of Hindu devotional songs had flooded the music market and the middle-class household loved collecting the same and playing them on their occasions. Gulshan Kumar also started a Bhandara at the shakti-peeth Vaishno Mata which still runs. His video of the Hanuman Chalisa is one of the most popular Indian videos on Youtube with 1.8 billion views. This was the mammoth emotion Gulshan Kumar represented.
Back in the 90s, Bollywood was living under the threat of the underworld ruled by Muslim gangsters and its ransom demands, ransoms to just let the stars and producers stay alive. Gulshan Kumar too started to get these threats. Reportedly, Abu Salem had placed a demand of 5 lakh rupees to be sent to him every month to Gulshan Kumar, but the industry tycoon paid no attention to his threats.
The next thing we know, he was taken down at a neighbourhood temple right after this daily pooja. The time and place of the killing reeks of Hindu hate. It was not only the murder of Gulshan Kumar, it was an attack in the Hindu sentiment as if mocking that the gunmen are taking him down right in front of his God, and after his prayer, challenging their existence. When the gunmen’s small talk, “you have done enough pooja. Now go up and do your pooja” reeks of Hindu hate, his detestation for an ardent Hindu performing his daily rituals. By committing bloodshed at the temple, the gunmen also desecrated the temple, a routine practice of Islamist criminals right from the times of the first Muslim invaders.
After Gulshan Kumar’s demise, the course of Bollywood took a turn toward Hinduphobia in the guise of secularism. The objectionable “Kafir” word started to be romanticized, lyrics were flooded with words like “Maula Mere Maula”, “Ya Ali”, “Khudaya”. Bollywood films don’t do bhajans anymore. A Hindu boy Janardhan (Rockstar) finds his awakening by singing a Sufi song at a Mazar. The irony hits close to home when in a T-series production, a Hindu couple sings about performing “sajda“, doing “dua” and praising the “kalma”, while dancing at a Hindu temple.
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