8 years of womensweb

India’s Daughter: Let’s Move Away From The Misguided Focus

Posted: March 26, 2015

We discuss India’s daughters very often. They may be raped, molested, murdered in the name of honour or burnt alive. But can’t we do more than just discuss?

Dear India,

Wake up.

The media did this, the media did that; what did you do?

We live in a country that has been nurtured, bred and conditioned by an indefatigable cancer. As we christen anything and everything with a name, it would be remiss if I did not identify this cancer by its true name: patriarchy.

A country shaped and often warped by patriarchy; the country’s people being a perpetual prop in the grander scheme of chauvinism; a ‘culture’ that has gained so much dirt and disdain that it seems unrecognizable now; we belong to a nation as diverse and dysfunctional as any other.

By the force of nature or because of a herd mentality, most of us tend to shatter our self-induced cocoons and voice our opinions only when it is in the form of a backlash.

Why don’t we air our opinions so that it is an action and not just a reaction?

India’s Daughter

‘India’s Daughter’ has got a lot of traction ever since its release and more than its due after its ‘ban’ in India. A fair bit of column space has already been dedicated to topics related to the documentary; be it The Hindu, the Hindustan Times, Al Jazeera or The Guardian; be it podcasts and debates online; be it thousands of essays, poems, monologues alike; thoughts about this film have sneaked their way into the visor of the whole wide world.

Whether or not the documentary deserves so much attention is debatable; but now that it is well and truly the prime focus of the frying pan that is our attention span, a bit more of pointing and shouting could be done.

To all those commentators

To all those out there who have been reacting to the documentary ‘India’s Daughter’, obviously, you felt the need to be vocal about your thoughts. Be it positive or negative, many of you have been candid in your appraisal of the documentary film.

But really, did you need such an entity to start being vocal about your thoughts?

Sure you need a start; you need some point to embark on this ‘sojourn’ of criticism. But rape, oppression against women, patriarchy have been all too common themes in our country. Most of us are familiar with them at some level at least.

If you had felt as strongly about the subject before itself, this documentary need not be the precipice for your ire, right?

The person behind the lens

Does it irk you that it was a foreigner who shot the documentary? Are you flushed with outrage that people from other countries are out to shame India? Do you feel that there are people who roam around in the name of art and just smear sand on our beloved and sacred country’s name?

What I ask you is, do we really need someone from some other country to do all that for us? These men, these offenders have already done that. There is nothing more that these foreigners can do to tarnish the nation’s name further.

But if you really do care about how rather average India becomes in the eye of many an outside observer, just because of these incidents, do you think you are ready to change those perspectives? Are you up for it?

You know, the director of the film had an outsider’s angle to it. You, on the other hand are right in the midst of the turmoil here, if you choose to awaken to those unquestionable scents. Can you help stir change? Why don’t you think about that instead?

Men

People who have been in vogue with crimes related to women must at least have the semblance of an idea as to what kind of men commit these crimes. It is not a tough path to trace.

The portions of the documentary, which went viral post its release were those that showed one of the perpetrators. His comments have shocked, angered and irked many a viewer, and many a passive person too.

While it still is tough to digest that there do exist individuals who can inflict such harm on others, it has become obvious – through time and many such occurrences – that there are many more like these.

People must have had a vague idea of what these men must have thought of before raping women.

Did you expect remorse from them? Did you expect them to be petrified of their state now? Did you expect them to wilt at the collective gaze of the colossally terrifying digital world?

You are kidding yourself if you expected that.

With blissful abandon and panache, the comments of that particular offender have set fire to many an emotion across the world.

But honestly, did you expect anything different?

Think about how different comments from the other rapists would have been. Think about how our young citizens get to know about what these offenders think.

The media

Do not throw pellets at me that have ‘media’s fault’ written on them. The media has always had its idiosyncrasies. It is a child, you must understand that. Its attention will be grabbed by anybody and anything that attracts and allures it the most. Over time, the media, due to its share of a kaleidoscope of shenanigans, has become the perpetual fall act for any mishap of any degree.

Stop blaming the media. Leave the passive ones to it.

What is India?

Is India a land of rapists?

Are Indians rapists?

Owing to the widespread reach of this documentary, if anybody chooses to believe that India is a land frugally embroidered with a variegated bunch of molesters and rapists, let them deal with it. After all, the outside world has always had stereotypes about our nation. To many, we still remain ‘the mystical land of snake-charmers’. For those who take the easy route of stamping a ‘benign’ tag on the forehead of a nation, believe me, the problem is theirs.

Does ‘India’s Daughter’ have to tell you who you are and where you belong? Does ‘India’s Daughter’ even have the right to put to you a different notion about your nation?

Just because it is out there it does not mean that it is gospel. At the same time, just because it is not gospel it does not mean we turn a blind eye to it.

But the image that you have of your country and its people cannot be camouflaged or shooed away by any misguided notion of any other person. If you think that this documentary has tarnished India’s name, don’t you also think that you can do something, something, to undo that?

Rape still goes scot-free

What has been banished to the wayside and has been a rather inconspicuous bystander in this melee has been the actual issue: rape. Rapes continue to pop happen. Women continue to be oppressed. Men continue to think they are the superior species. Women continue to be viewed as property only. It seems like a vicious, unending cycle.

Despite everything that happens, despite all the widespread publicity that these issues get, they continue to flourish. Rape is still strong.

We should commend the never-say-die spirit of these offenders, should we not?

After all, who cares about change, reform and renaissance?

Image of an eraser deleting the word patriarchy via Shutterstock

Lackadaisical engineer. Student journalist. Football is love. Jam is ecstasy. Dogs: heaven. Reading = breathing. Madras

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