'India's Daughter Banned?' It Should be Compulsory Viewing

Published: March 04, 2015 18:15 IST
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Shobhaa De is an established writer, columnist, opinion shaper and social commentator, who is considered an authority on popular culture.

 

Rajnath Singh  has missed the point... and lost the plot.

Come on, Mr. Home Minister , what exactly are you "furious" about? That the world will soon know what our men in India think of us - the women of this country? Or that India will get a 'bad name' internationally, thanks to the documentary aptly titled "India's Daughter"? Rajnath Singh is worried about the "embarrassment" the documentary will cause to our Bharat Mahaan, where women are compared to exposed sweets left by the roadside for dogs to attack (this priceless quote comes from ML  Sharma, one of the defence lawyers handling the Nirbhaya case).

Just look at the irony of it all. Instead of acknowledging the gravity of the situation and promising to tackle crimes against women on a war footing, the Home Minister is diverting attention from the tragedy itself and concentrating on prison procedures (who granted permissions to the crew to shoot inside the infamous Tihar jail? Why?).  

Instead, shouldn't Rajnath's fury be reserved for the lack of political will in tackling rape and related acts of brutality against women of our country? If he cannot address the real issues, he should step back from getting involved and finding convenient scapegoats, like the film-maker or those seeking to broadcast the documentary.

Will banning the documentary achieve anything? Stop future rapes? There is no face left to save in any case. The international community is aware of  India's shame and openly labels Delhi the 'rape capital of the  world'.

59- year-old  producer ("East is East") Leslee Udwin's expose, shot over two years, merely highlights ghastly truths about our rabid, anti-women society. When Mukesh Singh, the driver of the killer bus, blatantly tells his interviewer," censored by authorities" (censored by authorities) Yes. It's that grim.

Mukesh issues a direct threat when he says,"censored by authorities" (censored by authorities)
   
Advocate ML Sharma states brazenly, "Indian culture is the best culture (right! Tell us about it!). In our culture there is no place for a woman." Shocked? I'm not! Once again, I can visualize millions of heads nodding in agreement. Leslee Udwin, armed with 50 questions, and assisted by a psychologist, interviewed eight criminals inside Tihar Jail. She herself was a rape victim, she says, in an effort to explain her strong motivation to make this particular documentary. Instead of anger, she experienced a "sense of overwhelming pity" for the brutes, she admits, because ".... we live in a world where women are treated in such a degraded and depraved manner."

Udwin must be a really evolved woman to rationalize her feelings in this manner. I felt waves of unbridled rage, indescribable revulsion and a deep sense of loathing reading Udwin's interviews. When she added, "What they (sex criminals) have in common is the belief that women are of a lesser value.  They feel that if women break restrictions men have imposed on them, it is a reason to attack them."

ML Sharma's responses bolster Udwin's theory. He blames Nirbhaya's parents squarely when he says, "Why did they send her with anyone that late at night? He wasn't her boyfriend. Is it not parents' responsibility to keep an eye on where she goes and with whom?" Mukesh also echoes the opinions of many men when he says,"censored by authorities ""(censored by authorities)

A "decent" girl  should not be out at 9 p.m. That's the cut- off limit for establishing a woman's decency - get it? Men's indecency does not come into the picture at all - regardless of time.

These are arguments one hears over and over again. Blame the parents. Blame the victim. Blame movies. Blame music. Blame clothes. Blame alcohol. Blame cigarettes.  Blame night clubs. Blame , blame , blame. Assume zero responsibility. Do nothing.

Punish the victims - but not too severely ( the underage criminal who raped Nirbhaya  will be roaming the streets and stalking  other  victims  just three years from now). The other two, Akash Thakur and Pawan Prabhu, displayed no remorse when confronted on camera, and calmly pointed out that the same levels of brutality  were committed in the Rohtaak and Barabanki sex crimes. Almost as if that's "normal".

This has got to be the most chilling aspect of the documentary - the  absence of guilt and regret on any level. Men who can stare straight into the camera and say, "She asked for it!" Or worse, "She deserved it!" And even more worse, "We will do it again... and again... because women need to be taught a lesson."

What if women block their ears, minds and hearts... and refuse to conform to diktats?

What happens to women who dare to dream, laugh, go out, have fun, have a drink. Women who have ambitions, work hard, get ahead in life.

Women with minds. Women who value their many freedoms.

Such women are dangerous to society. Such women must be fixed. With rods, nails, chains and ropes. Play by 'their' rules. Or, pay the price.

For if women are not shown their place, men will become irrelevant. How can any society handle that - men being rendered irrelevant?

Perhaps Rajnath Singh has the answers.

'India's Daughter' must be made compulsory viewing in our schools, colleges and government offices.

Because if there is one thing any society that calls itself civilized must not shun, it is the truth.

Rajnath Singh - hold up a mirror. See what's going on around you. Deal with it. The real 'embarrassment' India needs to confront is its own horrific reality... and the shame that goes with it. Not a bold documentary.


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