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Class privilege at its worst: Farhan Akhtar defends receiving vaccine at center where only senior citizens and specially abled above 45 are eligible

After he was called out by netizens over the matter, the Bollywood actor defended himself saying that the drive in facility was for those above 45 years of age. Even then, he responded with extraordinary meanness and arrogance.

Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar on Saturday announced that he had received his first Covid-19 vaccine dose at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai. He expressed his gratitude towards the Mumbai Police and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and even had advise for others. There is just one problem, however. He is apparently not eligible for the vaccine at the particular site.

According to reports, the vaccination at the Andheri Sports Complex is a drive in facility available only to those above the age of 60. Farhan Akhtar clearly is not above 60 years of age. Therefore, it is unclear how he received the vaccine at the particular site.

A report by the Indian Express states that civic officials claim the site is not yet under operation. Assistant Municipal Commissioner K-west (Andheri), Vishwas Mote, reportedly, did not respond to texts or calls.

The discrepancy has not escaped the attention of people online as well. Unless authorities issue a sound clarification over the matter, it appears that Farhan Akhtar secured a Covid-19 vaccine for himself using his class privilege.

The questionable justification by Farhan Akhtar

After he was called out by netizens over the matter, the Bollywood actor defended himself saying that the drive in facility was for those above 45 years of age. Even then, he responded with extraordinary meanness and arrogance.

However, the BMC clearly said in its tweet that the drive in facility was only for those above 60 years of age.

There was another tweet where the BMC did say that the drive in facility could be access by specially-abled people above the age of 45 as well.

Farhan Akhtar surely does not look like someone who falls under the specially-abled category.

The reality of Class Privilege

While it is unclear if Farhan Akhtar is eligible for the vaccine at the center, it is easy to understand why ordinary citizens are not pleased with the series of events.

It cannot be denied that there exists a distinct class privilege in every society. People in the upper echelons of society have greater excess to resources for themselves. It is a universal feature of human civilization. There is no country in the world where this principle does not hold true.

Even in the USA, no ordinary person expects Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden to be held accountable for violating laws. Even if they do violate, which is especially true in the case of Clinton, there always appears to be magical loopholes that appear out of the blue to their rescue.

The same exists in India as well, only that it is far more prominent. It is for this reason that Prashant Bhushan can get away with contempt of Court by paying a measly sum of 1 rupee while others can get slapped with significant fines for frivolous petitions.

It is for the same reason that someone like Yogendra Yadav can incite protests amidst the Covid-19 crisis without any repercussions while ordinary people can be harassed by the Police for not wearing a mask inside their own car.

It is for the same reason that the doors of the Court can be opened at midnight by liberals for terrorists but a petition related to Bengal violence has to wait much longer to have its day in Court.

Class privilege operates at all levels and is dependent on the circumstances in the concerned circumstances. The discussion around class privilege often sparks derision from people not the non-Left bent because Communism as a political philosophy is based on class solidarity but the existence of class privilege cannot be denied.

Often, the ones who use their class privilege to gain access to resources are the ones most vocal when it comes to preaching egalitarianism. Farhan Akhtar himself appears to be one such individual and so are many of his liberal comrades.

Farhan Akhtar: The quintessential hypocrite

For all his moral sermons, which are offered a dime a dozen, it appears that Akhtar did not even have to think twice to gain privileges access to the Covid-19 vaccine in the midst of a pandemic. All moral sermons go for a toss in the midst of a pandemic and understandably so.

Many hypocrites such as Farhan Akhtar are often the strongest proponents of Communism or left-oriented political parties. Such personalities will cheer for Aishe Ghosh by day and use their class privilege to subvert the law by night.

Farhan Akhtar was one of the most vocal entertainers to have spoken out against the Citizenship Amendment Act without any knowledge about the facts of the matter. It is understandable why he did so. It was important for him to virtue-signal on the matter so that the other million occasions on which he used his class privilege to gain unfair advantage does not receive adequate attention.

Such hypocrites feel such a sense of entitlement that they do not hesitate to arrogantly admonish ordinary citizens if they dare to question them. When a concerned Indian citizen had asked him to ask people of his camp to not go around destroying property, he had labeled the person a bigot.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, Akhtar would not hesitate to gain access to resources in the midst of a crisis. It is the sheer sense of entitlement that leads to a general disrespect for the law among the populace. When people recognise that others can flout the law and get away with it without any repercussions, why should they go out of their way to uphold basic human decency?

Such antics at a large scale inevitable leads to a moral degradation of a society. The age of the Royals may be over but Aristocracy is a feature of human existence that will last till eternity. No one really expects class privilege to go away and every reasonable person understands this. But when the aristocratic class of a society becomes parasitic and does not feel a sense of duty towards ordinary citizens, the consequences are always devastating.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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