Dharun Ravi’s parents Ravi Pazhani and Sabitha Pazhani lashed out at the media in the Middlesex County courthouse today during the sentencing hearing of their son in the Tyler Clementi webcam spying case.
Addressing Judge Glenn Berman in the New Jersey court, Dharun’s father Ravi Pazhani said:
Prosecutors are saying this trial is not about suicide, you concur, Tyler’s family said they don’t want to hold Dharun responsible for suicide. But the media paints a different picture, any printed story, any report on TV starts with suicide, ends with suicide and Dharun is used to connect the two.
Dharun’s sobbing mother Sabitha Pazhavi was no less severe in her condemnation of the media:
When it all started and the media was ripping him apart with their misleading facts and the wrongful statements of prominent people, he was absolutely devastated and broken into pieces. The media misconstrued the facts to the public and misconceptions were formed about Dharun and his character….The media’s influence on this case is devastating.
Dharun’s parents, who hail from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, now live in Plainsboro, New Jersey.
Judge Glenn Berman handed Dharun a 30-day jail term starting May 31, 2012.
Whatever may have been the media’s role in influencing the public or the jurors, there’s no denying the fact that Dharun Ravi pulled the trigger on this disaster by his obnoxious behavior vis-a-vis his roommate Tyler Clementi’s trysts with a gay man.
Ravi Pazhani Full Address to the Court Today:
My name is Ravi Pazhani, father of Dharun, a long time New Jersey resident, a first generation immigrant and more importantly a proud citizen of the United States. I stand by what this nation stands for and its beliefs, core principles and I will never compromise that position even if it means to sacrifice everything I have. This is my country and home. Don’t force us to go back.
For the past 20 months, history has been in the making and we have witnessed several chapters of vengeful, malicious, selective prosecution filled with lies and injustice. Now it is time for the final chapter.
Honorable Judge, we all know you have the power and final say but please show heart today, to make sure the last chapter is all about truth, justice and preserve the sanctity of American judicial system which is widely believed to be the best in the world.
Our judicial system advocates “Presumption of Innocence.” Probably this is one of the cases that violates that golden rule, where Dharun was first found guilty, followed by case build up, a trial and here we are waiting for sentencing. In addition, he was convicted of Bias Intimidation under a “muddled law” as described by yourself.
Your honor, with your actions please ensure the final chapter of this sad story ends on a good note and not the beginning of “American nightmare.”
In Sept. 2010 we lost a fine young man, prematurely, and ever since our lives changed inside out in many different ways. We have all come to know how talented a violinist Tyler was, how he could ride an unicycle while playing violin, kindhearted, quiet and admirable young man, a son and a brother. But what we would never know is what a gentleman he would have become, all the positive contributions he would have made to the society to make it a better place for the next generation had he lived longer. We will never know.
As an American, I may look different, may have a different skin color, may speak differently than most, but believe me I am a parent first and my parental instincts are no different from any other parents out there. The rest of our lives will never be same again.
Rest in Peace Tyler, you will always be in our thoughts and prayers until our last breath.
Every coin has two sides and so does this story.
In this case, until the trial, no one cared about the more truthful side of this story because it was not sensational, doesn’t help media ratings, doesn’t give any political mileage and doesn’t help advance lobby group’s agenda. Even it meant going against the constitution and denying Dharun the fundamental constitutional right, “presumption of innocence.”
Someone said, a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance. This has become so true in Dharun’s case. A monster, ruthless bully, hateful character was given birth instantly to dump everybody’s collective guilt. The people in power could have done the right thing by providing the facts to the media clarifying in timely fashion, that there was no video recording nor any video was transmitted over the Internet and Dharun Ravi was not charged for Tyler Clementi’s suicide. This is where truth was compromised and the story became a media storm.
Unlike the rest of the world, honorable judge please consider the fact that Dharun on Sept 2010, was 18 and not a fully grown adult at that time this happened and barely about a month out of high school. He has been living in self-exile for past 20 months. Since then he seldom leaves the house for any social activity and has completely withdrawn from his friends. As a 20 year old how much more is he expected to endure?
Contrary to the false propaganda, we are not homophobic family. Dharun was not raised to hate Gays. He didn’t grow up in such an environment. We live in a diverse community. What is surprising as his parents is, how can a person who has never acted as a bully at school, from KG to Senior in high school or outside in social circle go from that passive child to hard core bully overnight? Every single prosecution witness corroborated he had never had any hatred nor said anything derogatory against Gays.
All the good comments Tyler made clearly shows bullying has no role to play in this case. It is all the imagination of people, who want to further their agenda at any cost even if it means burning an 18 year old, my son Dharun, alive.
Dharun has been the target of nonstop bullying by prosecutors, media and politicians and well-connected lobbyists.
Dharun is punished for what happened after that the incident. This trial didn’t comment explicitly on the suicide in the trial process but prosecutors got the benefit of it by keeping it hanging out there for jurors. As a result Dharun has been charged for something and punished for something totally different resulting in an unfair trial. In addition, he has been convicted of a hate crime Where the law applied is itself “muddled.”
Honorable Judge, My son Dharun, has been ridiculed for everything he has done since the story came out. He is being criticized for saying something and blamed for not saying anything. He has been dragged through the mud all along, but what has been asked all along is him NOT being remorseful. Dharun apologized to Tyler Clementi for his actions via email and text but that no one has ever accepted the apology, rather it has been ridiculed. We tried to reach the family through their attorney, but the doors were shut on us.
Prosecutors are saying this trial is not about suicide, you concur, Tyler’s family said they don’t want to hold Dharun responsible for suicide.
But the media paints a different picture, any printed story, any report on TV starts with suicide, ends with suicide and Dharun is used to connect the two. Many jurors interviewed after the verdict reaffirmed that their decision was overwhelmed by the suicide. Just asking the jurors to ignore the suicide apparently didn’t work in this case. For my son, Dharun, to get a fair trial the actual reason for suicide should have been disclosed before the trial and also allowed to be admissible in court. I know it is too late now, but please give us closure on this.
As a father of Dharun, a young man, who has spent last 20 months in isolation with bleak future if he is sent to jail today, I am standing here helplessly and never felt so powerless in my entire life.
I’m requesting you to take courage use your discretionary powers and prevent my son, Dharun, from going to jail today and allow my son to become a productive member of this American society.
I belief in our American Justice System, and while the world is watching, I hope that common sense prevails today.
Thank you for giving me opportunity to speak today.
Sabitha Pazhani’s Address to the Court:
My name is Sabitha. I have two kids, one is 20 years old, Dharun, and another younger boy is 10.
In 1997, when Dharun was barely 5 years old, we moved to America with only two suitcases in our hands, leaving behind our family and friends. All we had were lots of hopes and dreams for Dharun’s education and a bright future in this wonderful country. When we came here, Dharun could barely speak any English. Soon, he learned and quickly adapted to this culture and environment. Now he can barely understand our Indian language.
He started kindergarten and entered into the Gifted and Talented program, and when he was in fifth grade, he got into the CTY (Center for Talented Youth) by John’s Hopkins University. He had been attending their programs through high school.
He is an enthusiastic learner. When he was in high school, he started showing his passion toward programming in computer, track and field and Ultimate Frisbee. Since we are first generation immigrants to this country, my son Dharun knows he has to work hard to establish (himself) in this great nation. He always puts forth lots of effort and hard work to excel in any area, one of which is computers. He started exploring programming when he was 15 and still is trying his best to improve his skills.
In September 2010, he entered Rutgers with his dreams and hard work in his mind. Even though he has passion toward computers, he chose economics for his major, since he got interested in it from his junior year in high school.
After his high school graduation, in August 2010, Dharun went to India and got blessings from his grandparents and started his college full of excitement and plans for his career path.
As a mother, it was very hard for me to drop my first born in the dorm, away from home. But I was very excited for him. It is always a pleasure for me to see him grow into a wonderful person. He is very well-mannered and a self-content person. Since he is very open and likes to make new friends, he didn’t choose his high school friends to be his roommates.
I still remember the move-in day, when we entered his dorm room. No one was there, but the well-organized left side of the room showed that his roommate was already there and had chosen his side preference. So, we started organizing Dharun’s stuff on the right side of the room, where the bed and desk were already placed.
Within half an hour, Dharun’s roommate entered the room with his parents and he sat at his desk and started doing something on his computer. We exchanged hellos and had a brief talk between organizing.
After a while, his parents left and I stayed there for an hour more to help Dharun fix his things as his roommate was sitting at his computer the whole time. What I thought was, “Once I leave, he will start to talk to Dharun.” I rushed to finish everything and said goodbye to Dharun and went to his roommate and shook his hand and wished him good luck in college and left.
In the following days, whenever I talked to Dharun, I asked him how his roommate Tyler is and he told me that he is very quiet but is nice. I thought eventually he will come to our house with Dharun. It is so sad that he chose to end his life early. My heart goes out to the family.
Dhraun is very affectionate with the family. When he started college, even though he has lots of friends and a new social life, he came home all the weekends during the three weeks he stayed at the dorm, to see his younger brother and our dog, Lance. Our younger son adores Dharun. When Dharun left for college, he missed him a lot, and now Dharun is always home and he doesn’t understand what his big brother is going through. It is very hard for me to explain the whole situation. He always asks me, “Is he going to be okay? Can you promise me?” It really breaks my heart.
From the end of September 2010 to this day, what my son Dharun is going through, there are no words for me to explain. The smile and his bright eyes are all gone from his face.
When it all started and the media was ripping him apart with their misleading facts and the wrongful statements of prominent people, he was absolutely devastated and broken into pieces. The media misconstrued the facts to the public and misconceptions were formed about Dharun and his character.
I was watching him helplessly and all I could do is hug him and cry. I didn’t have any power to stop all of this and save my son and prove to the world what a kind-hearted and loving person he is. He doesn’t have hatred toward anybody.
These past 20 months, my son has been sitting home, holding all of the stress and pressure inside. He had not gone out anywhere to socialize or to meet friends or just grab a sandwich. With all this going on in his life, he tried to put his focus on completing his online courses he has signed up for and the programming he is working on.
He is spending his whole day reading and learning new technologies on his own. He completely drowns himself into these. Food has not been important to him for the last 20 months. He literally eats only one meal a day as he suppresses his hunger. He has lost more than 25 pounds going through this ordeal.
Although this is hard for me to watch, the thing that worries me a lot is how the stress building up inside him is affecting his health internally.
Dharun’s only comfort now is his younger brother and our dog Lance. When I see Lance cuddle with Dharun, I feel that he understands the pain he has been going through and tries to console him with his unconditional love.
Dharun’s dreams are shattered and he has been living in hell for the past 20 months. It is hard for me to say but my son is physically alive in front of everyone’s eyes. While I am sharing his pain, I make sure he knows that I love him.
As a mother, I feel Dharun has really suffered enough the past two years. The media’s influence on this case is devastating.
My 20-year-old son already has too much burden on his shoulders to face the rest of his life. I strongly believe the honorable judge will give him a chance to try his best to lead a normal life.
I am hoping and waiting to see Dharun eat as any 20-year-old would.
* Source: NJ.com with some minor editing by SI