By the time you read this post, the Delhi High Court may have taken a decision on whether to lift the ban on the India’s Daughter documentary or not. We will now know whether the documentary will freely be circulated on YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter and WhatsApp or continue to be circulated mutedly WhatsApp circles with the demand to make it go viral.
This is the second outrage in India on social media in as many months demanding freedom of speech and from imposition of ‘unwarranted’ bans after the AIB Roast video take down.
The India’s Daughter documentary has done more harm than it can ever do good. Here’s how:
One, it is against the Indian Constitution. The final verdict of the 2012 Delhi Gang Rape case is pending with the Supreme Court and publication of any material that may influence a pending case is prohibited by the Contempt of Court Act. The courts can take legal action against the BBC if they wish. I’m sure the BBC knows this - they just don’t give a fuck. By demanding the ban be lifted and watching the BBC Documentary, you will abet a media house that deliberately has broken a clause in the Indian law - the law which you so badly want upheld in our country.
Two, the 'India's Daughter' documentary has harmed the image of the Indian male worldwide. We are now looked at as a demographic of rapists who do not respect the fairer sex. Don’t believe me? Here’s an e-mail from a German professor who rejected an Indian candidate’s application for internship because India was a country with ‘rape’ problems: “Unfortunately, I do no longer [sic] accept any male Indian guests, trainees, doctoral students, or post docs due to the severe rape problem in India. I cannot support a society which is not able to respect females in any aspect…….. Many female professors in Germany decided no longer to accept male Indian students for these reasons, and currently other European female association [sic] are joining.” Happy? Can you also imagine the number of Indian males abroad who will be ridiculed and physically assaulted because of the image of our’s that this documentary portrays of us? Just because the media won’t report them doesn't mean it won’t happen. This is going to lead to round two of ‘curry bashing’ in developed countries. Thank you BBC!
Three, a lot of wrong has been done during the filming and production of ‘India’s Daughter’. For the documentary, the accused, Mukesh Singh, demanded ₹2 lakhs from the BBC. The latter paid him 40,000 rupees. Wow! 40k for violating a girl and becoming the star in a BBC documentary! Sounds terrific, doesn't it? Plus the boy who was with Jyoti Singh (I will call her by her real name, not Nirbhaya) on that fateful night has stated that the documentary is a fake. It also shows that anyone can walk into a jail and interview a criminal.
|Do you really want to watch it?|
Which brings me to the following questions: Will you readily justify all this so that you can watch the documentary? Why do you want ‘India’s Daughter’ to be aired? It has been shot by a media house which is definitely not Indian. Were we not living until now without seeing something as disturbing as this? And if we really were keen on knowing the mindset of a rapist, why wasn't this shot by an Indian? We had 2 1/2 years to do it, didn't we?
Here's what you will do if the ban is lifted from the BBC documentary: Plaster social media platforms with the video, chastise derogatory comments made shamelessly in it and demand justice for Jyoti. Time that should be spent by parents in embedding values in their children will be spent on writing blog posts about how horrible our culture is, how lax the law is and how spoilt we men are. And it will all be forgotten in a few days. Remember the Sarita Devi episode? The internet broke with support for her when she refused to accept the medal. And what did we do when the International Boxing Association banned her for a year? Thenga! Sachin Tendulkar was the only person who came forward and encouraged the Indian Boxing Federation to support her.
Are your videos and blog posts going to reduce the number of cases? Each 'Like' or share brings down the number of violations by 1? If yes, please go ahead… by all means. But if not, get over this hypocrisy demanding freedom of speech and from censorship.
You don’t need to watch a fucking documentary if you want to make a difference. Most criminals (not just rapists) come from poor and broken homes. They have never known values, responsibility or respect. Their crimes stem from frustrations of poverty and the craving for recognition. The government is working hard towards the former. Why don’t you help with the latter? Teach lesser privileged children about morals and respect. Help them stand on their feet. You will be surprised at the number of stories of underprivileged people who have turned over a new leaf because someone rescued them from the dumps. That will really contribute towards the improvement of society, towards respect for women and their safety, and towards a better tomorrow.
This is my second rant in as many months. Looks like I'm growing old and grumpy like 40-year-old men. But I hope that this post convinces you that the need of the hour is not action on social media, but action in real life. I'm laying the groundwork and am ready to walk this path. Are you?
image Courtesy: Google Images