India’s Daughter :Why ban the documetary ??

The whole controversy over the release of Documentary ‘India’s Daughter’ has again brought out the fact that we are too quick to criticise and dismiss without looking into the truth of the matter . A whole lot of views are being aired … from disgust to cry for the convicts to be hanged to musings over BBC’s conspiracy to stereotype Indian men as rapists . A lot of people say we don’t want to go through the trauma of watching it all over again. Like closing our eyes will make it all go away.

The trend of banning is growing strong. A clipping is released and the whole thing is judged on that. All the hoolaboo is created … long debates and discussions are aired. Ironically without most people actually watching the thing. Why do we participate in airing views without actually seeing with our own eyes .

Watching the documentary was not an easy experience. But I do not think we should dismiss it just because it is hard to watch. It happened . It is real . As opposed to the crime series telecasted mostly to sensationalize crime for larger TRPs. This documentary just documents the unseen facts which the media was never able to compile in a cohesive form. It is a mirror to our society. It was for the first time in this documentary I came to know Jyoti Singh as she was from her baby pictures to what she looked like as a young lady. Her struggle and ambitions and her will power all narrated by her parents. She emerged as a person for me …. real and human. Not a media created image of ‘Nirbhaya’ . I saw her as Jyoti a young medical student whose parents showed the world that they had so much faith in their daughter that they could come upfront and take her name with pride ‘for the person she was’ and not just as the ‘rape victim’.

On December 17, 2012 when I held the newspaper in my hand and read that piece of horrifying news my reaction startled me . I was suddenly shivering and I threw the newspaper.When the initial wave of rage settled I just switched on the TV and I witnessed the rage I felt was shared by all conscious citizens of the country. A people’s movement was unleashed. People came on the roads .. men and women alike to protest , to demand justice. It went on unabated . Women were beaten up alongwith men to disperse this movement. But it grew. It couldn’t be curbed . The whole country got engulfed in it. We all have witnessed it and it was an unforgettable moment in the history of this country and in the history of raising voice for women. This documentary showcases this  to the world . At the same time reminds us how we rose to the cause of women and for their safety. How the pressure created by the masses and media could fast track things and the verdict came along. Though we were made to face many questions when the juvenile who was most brutal recieved just 3 years sentence! Was it right? Do we need to change definitions of rape and juvenile age group?

The documentary tells how changes in the law were made through setting up a committee in record time.

The most controversial feature of this documentary that has led to it’s banning is the interview of the rapist Mukesh Singh . He has made outrageous statements remorselessly blaming Jyoti for her rape. He feels he had the right to teach her a ‘lesson’ in morality . A bunch of uneducated men drunk on a sunday night heading to GB road in a bus to have paid sex felt they were entitled to teach a lesson in morality!! Now people find it objectionable to have provided a rapist such lavish airtime where he unabashedly spits out his sickness. Now this convict wasn’t imported from Mars nor he was conjuring up things , what he said is the same things which his defence lawyers said in the documentary.

One of the defence lawyers , A P Singh , said he would take his sister to a farmhouse and burn her down infront of his family if she has pre-marital sex. Taking media air time to proudly admit that he intends to practice violence against the women of his own family and reaffirms valididty of honor killing. In the documentary he says he stands by his earlier statements in the media.. M L Sharma the other defence lawyer so audaciously says in the documentary ” Ours is a great culture and there is no place for women in our society ” He isn’t being sarcastic or narrating a problem . He is saying it as an acceptable truth that he is proud of. this makes me finally believe that mere  degrees can’t automatically mean that a person is educated and enlightened

People objecting airing of the rapist’s views argue he is afterall sick and a sociopath,’ what else would he say ?’. But the shocking thing is what this rapist says is not very different from what these godmen and men at high government a political posts have said in the aftermath of this rape .

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Statements like these were made by some women too who placed the onus of the rape on the victim and also shared their sympathy at the same time saying that “She should die. It would be a better fate . If she survives she would just be  living corpse.”

This documentary gives our society a mirror. To stop for a while and introspect.

Why are we feeding young men with this mental trash?

Why are they made to think they are the ‘masters’ and any form of violence they practice against women is valid , trivial and of no serious consequence?

We need to ponder why despite such a great movement such men are still alive and have not yet come to terms with what they have done . As Mukesh tries to justify their act as trivial as compared to the one gang rape in which the eyes of the girl was gorged out. So now we his analysing and making comparitives of brutality. He also goes out to defend himself that they were good enough to leave her alive but if they get death sentence all rapists will kill the victims. Everyone in this country knows that we have failed to curb rapes even after this huge protest and getting a hanging verdict from the High Court. The supreme court sits silent.

There are bloggers saying that the documentary is trying to label Indian men as rapist . What I interpreted from the documentary that the focus was mainly the mindset .The documentary has featured Jyoti’s tutor who represents the young men of the country who are progressive and believe in gender equality. So I did not feel there was any deliberate attempts to label Indian Men as rapists .

The documentary tells a story about Jyoti where her purse was snatched by a street urchin .He was caught while running and the policeman started beating him. Jyoti rescued the boy and tried to understand why he did that as she firmly believed that a beating would make him do worse things in the future . The boy said he wants to have a watch ,shoes, good clothes and eat burger like everyone else. She bought him all that and took a promise that he would not repeat this act.

This act is a lesson for Indian society that we need to understand the causes and  find solutions so as to effectively  prevent the creation of any other night  night where 6 men  rape and brutally kill a innocent woman in a frenzy in a bus without guilt or remorse. We need to make sure that no one in the society ever defends an act like that . We need to make sure that Joyti and all other women get justice. We need that exemplary punishment is given in this case  .

The ban on the documentary is unecessary .India’s daughter  according to me  is a tribute to a brave girl and imposes some serious questions to our society. I would recommend every Indian to see this documentary with open eyes and an open mind.