Before you read this post, let me state a few things because I have observed that maybe not everyone reads the whole post before jumping to conclusions on my stand.
1) I don't want the documentary to be banned.
2) I don't say that we should hide unpleasant, stark realities of India from the world.
3) When it comes to the ground realities in India, I don't care about our so called 'image', if we have a problem, well, then we have a problem.
4) I'm not worried that India will or will not be shamed because of this because the problem is far greater than a false notion of shame.
I find it amusing that someone would actually approach a convicted rapist for his views on women. No really, I do. Actually, I can’t quite decide whether Leslee Udwin was looking to make a documentary on an important issue plaguing our society focusing on Nirbhaya's cruel rape and murder or was her aim only to spread the unremorseful views of a rapist and his dim-witted lawyers. I, frankly, wonder if she was just being reckless, and blatantly too. But I’ll reserve judgment on that.
Aren't you also curious as to why she didn't interview and seek the opinion of the man who tried to save Nirbhaya? And then what do I say about the authorities? How could they have been so naive as to giving Leslee Udwin access to Mukesh Singh is beyond me. However, banning the documentary is something I don't condone. But I can’t stop every fatuous act, can I? Hence, if someone purposely decides to give a mouthpiece to a living scum there’s not much I can do except maybe refuse to accept it as responsible social commentary?
India has its share of
problems especially when it comes to women’s safety, problems bigger than anything even Hercules could have lifted. That’s no secret, you know
it, I know it and your pet dog knows it too. But before dissecting our problem I would like to mention that India is not the only
place in the world with these problems; there are places where the conditions
are far worse. But you don't see a Leslee Udwin making a documentary on Saudi Arabia, do you? However, I stress, that is no excuse to ignore the problems we as
Indians face, we as Indian women face. Because like it or not, only a very small percentage of Indian women are actually free and independent in the true sense. And when it comes to safety, well, the danger is posed on all sections, educated or not, independent or not. Not only that the sermonizing is free for all.
Hence, what the convict and his contemptible lawyers preach in the documentary, I agree, is a line of thinking deeply seeded in the minds of many in India. Both male and female. But giving them a sound byte is what I don't think is wise. I cannot deny, in fact no one can, that we have a horrible mess at
hand when it comes to how we treat our women. But I cannot stereotype the entire
Indian society on the basis of that, even if the sane amount only to a fraction.
Yes, we have a problem and quite a
number of us acknowledges that as well. And believe it or not we raise voices against
it too. But I don’t believe a convicted rapist has the right to be heard.
Seeking his opinion is like asking the khaps its views on women. Do you see the
problem with it? It’s wrong on so many levels. I don’t find any
rationale in pursuing answers from a person who along with his libidinous companions
raped and murdered an innocent woman. But then again I also never quite understood
why the so called ‘social or human rights activists’ always fight for giving a second
chance to such perpetrators.
'But you don't see a Leslee Udwin making a documentary on Saudi Arabia, do you?'
In my humble opinion, yes this discussion is important but do you bring detestable parties like this rapist on the table? Do you show his guilt free take on an incident which ruined a family and took away a promising life? Well, I say no because as evident he doesn't believe he is wrong. For him it was just a fun evening with his friends, the heinous act a leisurely activity to which the woman shouldn't have protested even. If anything, his views if heard may give a push to more like him lurking in the shadows.
But maybe, just maybe, there is a positive side to this too? Maybe the ridiculous notions of this man and his misogynistic lawyers will jolt the conscience of those who openly or secretly subscribe to these views. Maybe they will see how ludicrous blaming women for rapes is. Maybe they will realize that women are not pieces of meat to be taken by dogs. And the streets belong as much to women as to men.
Do you know where the problem lies? Among many other things, a large section of our population, including
men and even some women, have a misplaced concept of honor. For some strange
reason, it is wrongly identified with female sexuality and how they carry
Needless to say this ideology is wide of the mark. Controlling
women and their lives is given the name of culture, the stamp of tradition.
What a woman wears, where she goes, whom she talks to, how much she earns, in
fact if she should be allowed to earn– all of these are conveniently linked to
a family’s honor with the sole motive of clipping her wings. There
is an appalling fear of women in any form, more so of the educated and
empowered women. Remember Malala?
Another root cause is the bend
towards the male child. Yes, it very much exists today as well. So when a man
commits any crime against a woman, there is a strange need to protect him or rationalize
his act. And that happens by brandishing the woman, the victim here, to be in
How else do you explain the cruelty shown to rape and acid attack victims? How else do you justify a father declaring, and quite proudly too, that he would burn his daughter alive, in front of his family, if she dares step out of her home at night?
Of-course, instead of fighting this
we tend to spend our time on non-issues like AIB corrupting our mindsets and how many children a women practicing
a particular religion should bear. So, that’s there.
It must be because what she was
It must be because she was out
It must be because she is too ‘forward’.
It must be because she asked for
It is because she has a boy friend.
It is because she has been westernized.
But sadly our society, a section of it certainly, says it over and over again.
Well, my dear society, no she didn't ask for it. She never does. Trust me she never does. I dare you prove me
wrong. And we certainly didn't need a Leslee Udwin documentary or a rapist to reiterate these things.
Patriarchy, Sexual violence and misogyny are problems we cannot turn a blind eye to. But how do we fight it? Well, one word, feminism. A relentless movement in which not only women but men join in as well. I know many women who keep themselves away from this word. They are skeptical of it. But trust me feminism is neither a strong nor a bad word. If anything, it's a much needed word, a much needed uprising. So don’t be on the sidelines and take a safe stand. Feminism is not anti-men, it is just pro-women. And it
is much needed. So join in and do whatever you can.
This year the theme for the
International Women’s Day
is to make it happen.
I ask you, men and
women alike, to help us make women’s lives better. Maybe not in the sensational manner as Leslee Udwin's but something more constructive. Will you? It could
be anything to ensure that you make a difference, however small.
So, tell me will you
paint it purple to support the women in your lives too? Will you make it happen for all of India's daughters? I hope you do!