2015-03-15

Nirbhayas re-visited: The Udwin Leslee video, selective portrayal and our mindset

There is no difference in character and thought between on one hand, lawyers, ML Sharma and AP Singh and on the other hand, rape convict Mukesh Singh. It gives me goosebumps when I read the comment of the criminal who said that Nirbhaya deserves to be raped. There is raging debate whether the video aired by BBC should be banned or not.
First of all, I am against any form of ban and, after all, it's a question of freedom. Let people decide whether they want to watch it or not to formulate their opinions. I have an issue with the video for some reasons. It lies in the fact that I am dead against the idea of glamorizing a crime like rape and making the rapist heroic. Certainly, asserting your superiority or giving vent to male aggression doesn't make you a man and unfortunately many have this filthy attitude. I am not prepared to watch the movie because of the gory details, confessed by that mentally deranged person who showed no remorse at all. I mean, who does such kind of things? Only someone without a heart and calling him ruthless is an understatement. He is just a demon that deserved to be flogged and humiliated in public.
However, what irks me in this whole episode is the way we reacted to the video. Ok, like me, you may disagree with the film made by Udwin Leslee but there are certain things we cannot ignore. In fact, the film, now that it's already been made, is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the mindset of people across the globe. For sure, this mentality is not restricted to India and reference is made to UK where 24,000 rapes were reported in a year where conviction rate has gone down. You can check the article by Suzanne Virdie in Times of India blog.
Let's face it: Several of our MPs has made unfortunate comments about a girl dressing scantily, roaming freely at nights and that they ask for rape. Should the video shock us? Doesn't it say a lot about our attitudes, bred since an early age, on what we think of women and we are scared of equality between both men and women? 

Like Javed Akhtar has rightly pointed out, the perspective by the rapists and his lawyers is a mirror image of the sick society in which we live. It's not a question of men against women. It starts with educating our boys to respect women and mind you, it cuts across social class and religion. In that sense, I am comfortable with re-visiting the Nirbhaya case but certainly not in the fashion advocated by the video,
One is tempted to ask whether it is psycho-analytical, physical or emotional aspect of rapists across the globe. What makes men commit rape? Is it the patriarchal attitude by controlling women in society that she should always listen to the husband, don't venture out at nights or come late, that leads to rape? The video has nicely ignored freedom of women and the act of rape that mutilate not only her body but soul. There are thousands Nirbhayas in both urban and rural India that are the victims because they are not 'good girls' and having sex outside marriage or for that matter, showing their desires as human beings.
The video is tale of selective portrayal when it comes to rape. Now, will someone explain to me why a toddler or five-year old is raped or a daughter in the household? Certainly, she must be at fault according to the logic of people like ML Sharma and AP Singh. This is an issue that Leslee selectively failed to explore. Or, Madonna who was raped when she first came to explore the world of showbiz.
The fact is that our legal system is flawed or else, how come a rapist is unafraid of the consequences of justice. We shy away from prosecuting the rapists and case in point, is the so-called adolescent. The fact is that many of us are a by-product of the system, a disease by 'punishing' a woman for her outrageous views or life style. Let's change our thoughts since there are many who have similar echo to the rapist. 



Both Kiron Kher and Jaya Bachchan are right in their own ways when they point at hypocrisy in our society. It's a question of deep-rooted patriarchal mindset that remains enshrined in our society that leads to such cowardice aggression. Who are we to decide what a woman wear, jeans, Burqa, Saree and what is the relationship between rape and garments? Even a man wears short, showing his leg! It's high time we change our attitudes by educating not just children, in particular young boys in school but their parents. It's a tragedy that we stifle sexual freedom calling it dirty or make red light areas illegal. Prostitution is not the problem, our thoughts and sexual oppression are! We think of ourselves as the biggest moral authority when we question the life of a woman, she stays up till late, party hard and comes home after midnight despite being married. I mean, who gave me this right to decide on the life and body of a woman?
Now, I come to another important aspect of the debate. Unfortunately, with the backlash, I think twice before genuine complimenting a graceful woman oozing hotness or sexy for that matter. There is an inherent fear of being labelled as such. Yes, the backlash is killing the joy of healthy flirting and  add salt to injury. The ludicrous take of Rose Chasm and her India phobia depicting the country as a land of rapist where every single man who wanted to 'rape' her, be it on the street market or people filming her and friends gyrating to music. (http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1023053)
Come on! In every country, there are rapists Miss Rose Chasm and you make it as if all men are rapists and it can only happen in one part of the globe. While I am angry so many girls are mentally harassed through stares and are subject to even more than that which I may not be able to understand, but the whole point reaches insanity on your part. I know many wonderful men who respect women a lot but the way things are being painted about India is simply lingering on the height of insanity. However, I do understand the problems faced by women in public places which gets worst by the day. It's up to us to do something and make things better. Why do we need a foreigner to come and tell us things. Let's be the change. alter our mindsets even if it means in a radical manner.
I think I've made my case on the video, trying to cover as many points as possible from ugly patriarchy, to issues with Leslee work and over the top Chasm's neuroticism and our attitude towards women in this lengthy post.

PS: Check this post: http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2015/03/indias-daughter-bbc-documentary/

Cheerz
Vishal

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