I woke up to find Twitter screaming about a new ban. This has been a week of outraging about bans, the last one being the ban on the production & possession of calf, cow and bullock meat, better know as #BeefBan. Today’s outrage was over the Indian government banning the BBC India documentary about the 2012 Nirbhaya rape. Much had been getting made over the fact that it included an interview with Mukesh Singh, one of the rapists.
My first instinct might have been to cry ‘Down with the ban!’ given we’re rapidly becoming a country that bans things for reasons that seem unjust, biased and regressive. But something held me back, possibly a couple of conversations I had earlier this week. So this is what I posted to Facebook this morning. I’ve spent the day defending this stance, trawling through the sewage of male bullying online (#NAMALT, regionalist abuse, patriarchal statements etc). I’ve had heated conversations with people, mostly outside this country whose stance sounds convenient and armchair philosopher style apathetic. I’ve debated with friends and peers within this country who hold other viewpoints. And I’m so worn down by this.
Three hours after I stopped watching the Twitter streams, I still can’t stop the ringing in my ears that says WE FAILED HER. WE FAIL WOMEN. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN ME. THIS COULD BE ME. I’m going to say no more. Here goes –
I don’t think the ‘India’s Daughter’ film should be available for viewing. True, this is censorship and as a writer, I should oppose that.
But this is a country where politicians say women should not be given mobile phones, where godmen decree that eating chowmein leads to rape, where girls who were raped & hung, are accused of enticing the perpetrators. We prove time and again, that we are a culture that hates women with a passion that surpasses all logic and justice.
We are also the same country where hundreds of young men drew lit matchsticks across their tongues, in blind imitation of a fictitious character in a Bollywood movie.
Rape culture & misogyny are deeply embedded in our psyche. I think this documentary will be seen for what it is, by a few who already think that way, so it’s just preaching to the converted. For the rest, I think it will only humanize a monster and glorify his actions. I fear to think of what a world of me-toos will look like.
Can’t you just see the average boy on the road thinking, “Usne to saaf bola, girls deserve this for going out after 9”? I can.
Edit: I found the actual documentary as well as number of excerpts & analysis about it on Youtube. Take a look down the comments there to see how India responds. It’s sickening.
Edit 2: Watched the whole documentary. Utterly sickened. First by reliving the incident and then realising that the entire video is just one long #PovertyPorn saga. It doesn’t present any new facts, needlessly highlights tear-jerker sequences around the rapists and offers no real value except repeating the dysfunctional mindset of this country. Watch it if you enjoy real life tragedies being exploited for a privileged audience’s entertainment.
You’ll find plenty of material about why the ban should be lifted. Here’s just one more voice that matches what I had to say and this time, it comes from a man: A Short Rant On The Longest Known Evil.