The controversy about documentary “India’s daughter” has forced me to think how we got to this state of affairs. A rape has to be most violent and heinous crimes. It leaves victim with so many scars and even stigma in our society. The horror, helplessness and the loss of faith in humanity cannot be comprehended.
The thing that strikes you most while watching this documentary is complete lack of remorse expressed by rapist. He believed that girl was equally at fault for being out late in evening. The two lawyers for the rapist also expressed same thoughts and assassinated the victim’s character. One of them even said that if his own daughter stayed out late, he would burn her alive.
My issue is how did we reach a point where a rapist and defenders of law seem to think alike. I was struck by the rapists life stories and deprivation that they faced. All of them were either illiterate or minimally literate. They started working at a very early age as forced labor. It is a fact that young children working anywhere face violence including physical and sexual. These children are abandoned by us all including families, social services, government agencies and society in general. I wonder if they were shown some kindness, had education and social support, could they have turned out different! I am not trying to defend their crime or them. I just want to understand how people can turn into such monsters.
If you follow news closely, there are different set of laws for privileged and poor. The film star, while drunk can run over 5 homeless people, abandon the scene of accident and not even get charged. There are more than 150 MP’s with serious criminal charges. Why would a common criminal not feel that he can get away as well?
Most puzzling part is government’s ban on the documentary. Indian movie industry makes some of the crudest, sleazy and historically inaccurate trash. The Censor board has no problems. Indian news and printed media regularly makes baseless allegations and claims without any accountability. There is not even a governing body to hold them accountable. But this documentary had to be banned!
The documentary has a 360 viewpoint and is fairly balanced. The documentary shows strength of character of the victim. Despite growing up in very poor conditions, she dreams to become a medical professional and succeeds. It tells us about her parents who sell pretty much everything they have to fulfill her dreams. It shows heroism of activists and protestors. It gives a voice to victim’s parents, her friends and rapists as well. It shows a mindset that unfortunately is very prevalent.
The arguments that at least I have heard for banning are as following:
1:Why restart the “problem” now? As if the problem has gone away.
2:BBC wants to give a bad name to country. Yup! They wake up every morning just to do that.
3:We don’t want a rapist gloating and not even feeling sorry. So would we feel comfortable if the rapist felt “sorry” after committing this crime.
4.Why doesn’t BBC show problems in their own country or USA? These people are so ignorant that even trying to answer them is a waste of time.
5.The rapist was paid for the interview. There is no evidence for it.
6. The victim’s parents are publicity hungry. I don’t think people saying such things about a couple who have lost their only child, can be human.
We are caught in this pseudo-nationalistic pride where acknowledging a problem is considered an act of treason. It is better to cover, hide and pretend than to face the problem. Every time someone reports on such issues, abuse starts. These are almost always men for who rape, eve teasing, sexual harassment and sexism is not an even issue. For them a “super-power” India and its image is way more important.
I will quote a union minister who is on record saying that it is international conspiracy to defame India. Yes Minister! We don’t have any eve teasing, sexual harassment, rapes and crimes against women. This is all an international conspiracy. We also don’t have dowry deaths, female feticide, violence against women, pay inequality or less graduation rates among women. Again these international conspirators are at work. To his credit, minister immediately after making this statement, went and put his head in sand.