What’s special about today, March 8- just like any other day?
My phone’s been buzzing since 00:00 and that has never happened with me before. Not even on my birthdays! At first, I tried to ignore it thinking of it as some glitch in my phone but later realised that almost everyone in my contact list had wished me a very ‘Happy’ Wo[men]’s Day! OH! What a huge favour they had done?! Honestly speaking, I don’t think that women need a day to celebrate Women’s day, they do it every second in their own little ways- each day is theirs as long as they want it to be.
Well, I received a variety of messages which ranged from stupid memes, misogynistic quotes (phew! Even today) and the best one was the one about seven stages in a woman’s life- right from her birth to the role of a dutiful wife and mother and then finally death! So, there’s a new rape story the newspapers are covering today where the man raped a six year old with a four foot iron rod. Seems like they never get tired of it- or may be the people don’t. This is where humanity leads to in today’s time. Rape and Murder!
Wake up, India!
Even today a woman is not known by her name and is only raised to be given away to someone else one day- she carries along the family name with her. The name just changes from her father’s to the husband’s. She can only be a man’s daughter, dutiful wife or a caring mother because her subjectivity is never her own- she is always looked at through the subjectivity of ‘some’ man. Hence, comes in the need to understand why the documentary on Nirbhaya was named India’s Daughter! Annalisa Merelli rightfully points out in her article why Jyoti Singh isn’t India’s daughter. Why couldn’t she be India’s promising medicine student instead of India’s Daughter she argues? Did any of you even think about it? What did our country give her- just those protests, candlelight marches and then it all faded away to nothing. The judiciary has not even punished the accused till now and the worst part which none of us paid attention to is the fact that the juvenile in this case will be released by the end of 2015- That’s justice well served!
What makes me proud?
India for ‘many’ is a country as the defence lawyer of the accused in the Nirbhaya rape case, Mr. M. L. Sharma stated, “We have the best culture. In our culture, there is no space for a woman.” How true is that? He even compared a woman to a flower which always needs ‘protection’ and the man is just like a thorn. Strong, tough enough. He expressed his views on how women nowadays are getting influenced by the imaginative film culture. Not only this, he went a step forward when he compared women to diamonds and if these diamonds are left on the streets then the ‘dogs’ will definitely “take it out”. The other defence lawyer A.K. Singh stated how he would have burnt his sister and daughter alive in front of the whole family had they kept any ‘such’ relation before marriage. “This is my stand. I still today stand on that reply”, said one the ‘greatest’ men I have come across in my life so far! Who gave these ‘moral upholders’ of the society the right to speak on behalf of every Indian? How different are we from people like these because if not now but once we have all made remarks on the similar lines. Haven’t we? Men and women both are embedded in the patriarchal set up in such a way that no matter how liberal they call themselves- we know the reality!
What mistake did BBC commit?
Not many know that one of the accused Mukesh Singh who was interviewed by Leslee Udwin for BBC was given a sum of Rs. 40,000 after he demanded Rs. 2 lakhs from the documentary makers. Also, the most controversial news doing rounds is the fact that the permission for the documentary was granted only for psychological study and not what was presented to the world. So, if BBC decided to do such a great favour on India by presenting the ‘reality’ then why didn’t it abide by the laws everyone should abide by? I want the guilty to be punished too and I must have been one of those first who watched the documentary at 3:30 a.m. when it was released worldwide but then there is a reason why the government tried to postpone the release! This isn’t some argument about the ‘offence’ to nation’s pride but much more than that. The sick psychology of the people needs to be exposed. Had there been no ban, how many of us would have actually bothered to watch the documentary. Not many, I believe. Because then, it would have been just ‘another’ thing on Nirbhaya. The documentary should have been aired but then when you are in some other country, you are ‘expected’ to follow the rules and abide by the law. Telecasting the documentary at 3:30 a.m. on March 6, 2015 rather than March 8, 2015 as earlier promised was shoddy. This only sent out a wrong message about the documentary and made people wonder why the documentary makers were being sneaky about it. One needs to stand by one’s work and fight for it if it is for a right cause.
Why this ambiguity regarding the truth?
Leslee Udwin admitted that before releasing the documentary she had shown it to the ‘top Supreme Court judges’ and they had in return given written opinions as an approval. If that is the scenario, then who exactly are these Supreme Court judges involved and why aren’t their names being highlighted? It must be understood that the appeal regarding the December 16 rape case is still pending before the Supreme Court of India and any obstruction in the proceedings of the case might affect the case altogether. The hate speech against the women in the documentary is another major area of concern since it violates the law. However, the Bar Council of India did send legal notices to both M.L. Sharma and A.K. Singh for their outrageous remarks. Mukesh Singh stated that now, “The death penalty will make things worse for women…Now, when they rape, they won’t leave the girl by ‘doing her’ like we did. They will kill her…Death.” What shocks me is the fact that the film maker did not once think about the violence and danger inflicted in the man’s remarks who I do not even consider worth being called a human being. After all the reports I have read multiple number of times, the film constantly focuses on slum areas and the constant talk of BPL. Is it only the poor who rape? Well, the movie does hint at things like that!
I am not against the documentary and like I earlier said that I would have been among the very first to watch it. But, that doesn’t change the question. Does it? The documentary is not a part of some “international controversy to defame India”; it does try to bring out the fissures in our judicial, social, political and psychological setup! However, the way it was dealt with wasn’t the right thing to do. The laws are made for us to learn and follow and if we start breaking them, then who will step forward and take responsibility of the society at the individual level?
The documentary is especially a comment on filmmakers as well – you pay the actress half of what you pay the actor and then talk about women’s day and need to see this documentary – change yourselves first and then talk about anything else. The whole notion of ‘violation of modesty’ and ‘rape victims live everyday as death’ – the whole relating rape with ‘izzat lost’ is a mindset which needs to he confronted.
Celebrating Womanhood: Yes, I am proud to be a woman!
When in every realm of life one practices discrimination against women, the falsehood of celebrating a day for them is like giving a child a lollipop to shut her mouth. I would rather see evidence of the reforms which need to be implemented with immediate effect than have a documentary over which politicians express hurt & media houses wage war against each other. Enough with these emotional burstouts.
I don’t want to be dissapointed with my country and I don’t want to conform to the norms that surround us today. I want to live freely, with full freedom not because I am a woman but I am a human being first. I deserve to breathe, dress up and let the wind sing its songs to me. I want to live and not as some lost soul but someone who can embark on this long journey called life ahead.
Economy Decoded invites you to celebrate womanhood with it. Not just today, but every single day! :D
Till then, Halla Bol!
Picture Credits- Google images
Special thanks to Jaee Sherlekar for her inputs. :)