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Thursday, March 5, 2015

India's Daughter Is India's No More........

Yes, there has been a lot of hue and cry of late, as India, or should I say, the Indian babu, has decided to turn our beautiful (yes, we still have that hope, don’t we!) country into a ban-pradesh (a country that bans everything, faster than you could wink that wink mind you!).

First came the beef ban in Maharashtra. Well, I don’t eat beef, not for any ‘specific’ reasons, but just because I haven’t developed that taste yet. And looks like the government made up its mind that it wouldn’t let me develop that taste either. So what about all those amazing eating joints that are so popular in Bombay (oops, sorry wait, did I just use the banned word Bombay when I should have said Mumbai?) and are always a big crowd puller? Or, okay, if you did decide to ban beef, what did the poor chicken do? Or the tame lamb? Did their cluckety-cluck or bleating not reach your ears? Or were you just trying to grab those vote banks and tuck them safely in your expensive babu suits, telling the masses that you were putting a restraining order on serving the ma of the country (yes, in India, a cow is considered a mother, yet so many daughters like Nirbhaya are…well….) while actually the truth is that it is bullocks that come under this act? The Maharashtra government already has a very old ban on serving cow meat and this time round, the political party simply played a smart move by saying they are banning ‘beef’ which was easily and majorly interpreted to be as ‘cow’ meat (smart na!).

Okay, that was a gastronomical issue…one that is definitely going to have many repercussions.
So now that we are done with the ma of India, the next topic – of course, the daughter of India, or, India’s Daughter.

How many of you have seen the offensive video that apparently disturbed certain ministers so much that they decided it was one of the most derogatory things they had ever seen and had to absolutely protect the public’s sentiments from watching it?

I have. And what I saw was something that made me realize exactly how important it was for the public to see it.

So what exactly is this documentary titled India’s Daughter about?

The documentary was made by British documentary maker Leslee Udwin over the past two years (she left behind two kids at home and in her own words, the amazing amount of protests that took place in India over the December 2012 rape of Nirbhaya (a name that was coined for the brave young girl who later succumbed to the horrific brutality inflicted on her) made her come to India and show the world how the country has said no to such brutalities and gender inequality.) Her documentary repeatedly states and stresses on the fact that she made it as a mark of love and respect for India and that it would be her gift to India. The documentary is made as a look inside the mind of a rapist, to tell us what it is that goes on in the minds of these otherwise regular looking people who go on to carry out such unimaginable crimes of violence.

The biggest issue that apparently made the Indian authorities ban the screening of the documentary is the comment that comes from one of the rape accused Mukesh Singh.

In the documentary, the accused is shown sitting inside the prison, his face completely blank and devoid of any remorse, and in fact, his eyes are full of a kind of confusion – what is the fuss all about? Why did you guys get so gung-ho over this? That’s exactly the kind of reaction he gives. And now, here’s what his comments were.

Mukesh Singh says in the documentary that it was the fault of the girl that she got raped, because she asked for it. She was the one who was out at night, roaming around with a male friend, and that these days, girls dress in a bad way and make bad gestures, go to clubs and pubs and do all these dirty things like wearing clothes that show skin, so it means they are asking to be raped. According to him, when the girl was being raped, she should have quietly gone ahead with it, as she clearly had asked for it with her behavior, and just because she gave a fight back they were forced to resort to violence. 

It was not at all their fault, mind you - understand what he is saying.

This is the man people...

Going ahead with this logic, the accused’s lawyer puts it this way – ‘If you place sweets on a road then dogs will come and eat it. Girls are like flowers, smooth, priiiiitiiii flowers, like soft, they take care at home and they look after the house. And men, men are like thorn, powerful (bunches his fingers into a fist to show power). The thorn has to protect the flower. If it does not protect the flower, the flower goes (makes a downcast face) phusss…..’ Really, there are no background checks involved and anyone can get up and become a lawyer in India (go inform all your friends from all parts of the world who have not been able to get a job, am sure they can become lawyers in India). 

Put a face to him:

The documentary shows us the truth behind what happened, it shows us how, despite being in the 21st century, women are still considered as objects to be placed in a bubble wrap and locked in a safe room in the house. How, despite all the efforts, a certain set of minds still feels that women are only meant to stay at home and cook food and if they dare come out, then this is what they deserve (no big deal about it). The documentary also shows the various doctors, family members and others who talk about what happened and how things should change. Every angle is shown and everything brought out clearly in the open.

Then why the sudden outrage? And why the allegations that Leslee Udwin violated permission and was in breach of conduct? I saw the entire news coverage on NDTV where she produced each and every letter that clearly gave her a clean chit, permissions given clearly on paper and all norms followed – everything to the dot. And suddenly, now out of nowhere, come the allegations that she flouted norms? How? And more importantly, why?

What did our ministers have against the documentary that was so dangerous to be shown? According to them, the film contain remarks that are derogatory. But hello respected ladies and gentlemen – that is the point! To show what is going on in the minds of those perverts. To show you why you should understand this psyche better and how you can help prevent these from happening in the future. That is what the documentary aims at. At how the younger generation is rising up and raising its voice against atrocities and showing solidarity in face of such crisis. There is so much this documentary is about. And before you say the film maker does not understand the sensitivity of the issue, let me tell you she is a victim of rape herself.

And all you care about is that the rapist said certain things that sound derogatory? And what about what he did? Wasn’t that derogatory? Wasn’t that inhuman? Didn’t that deserve instant hanging, or better still, be fed to the dogs while you’re still alive and aware? Of course it is the Indian system and we treat our prisoners with love and affection and the tax payers’ money, and of course punishments like hanging and such are a violation of human rights (I’ve had that debate earlier with a few and really, they are no better). 

And if all this is derogatory, then there are so many other derogatory things that go on without any censor on our screens the whole day – women who are dark skinned are no use (all those get fair and get lovely ads that have now even circulated towards men), that women who are stay at home moms are really no good, that women who do not color their hair are not worth it, that women who don’t use a certain brand of perfume won’t get a man, that women who don’t wear makeup are just behenjis (plain Jane), that women who don’t cook the perfect roti and don’t wash clothes and don’t scrub the floors are not the perfect wives and daughters in laws? 

What about all this bullshit that is always always always shown on Indian television through ads and TV serials and movies? And you know what dear respected politician, people actually watch these and get influenced. From young girls to young moms to single moms to the mother in laws and husbands – everyone gets influenced you see – and all for the worse. It’s a little derogatory, wouldn’t you agree sir?

Anyway, the whole point of this documentary was to show us what is wrong in our society and how we can try and prevent it. And as grown-ups, I feel we do have a little understanding of what is right and what is wrong. But then, you don’t give us the opportunity to use our brains much, you do most of our work for us, by banning everything before we even have a chance.

Thanks for not letting India’s Daughter come to India. It’s a sad day dear sir. But still, I have one request – watch it with an open mind and with the eyes of a father, a man, a brother or a son, and not the eyes of a politician. Maybe then you would understand what all the fuss is about.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

And like I always believe in and say:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

Debolina Raja Gupta