Thursday, 5 March 2015

Silencing India's Daughter

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India's motto is brave. It says, "Satyamev Jayate": truth alone wins. Not truth also wins. Not, truth may sometimes win. Not, we hope that we will let truth win.  Not, that we trust in a God to make sure that truth will win. It states unequivocally that truth will win.

It is, therefore, ironic that a country whose motto is to seek the truth has chosen to ban the documentary that tries to do precisely this. How can the truth win, if the collective consciousness of an entire nation is sought to be buried deep into the Earth?

Those that sought the ban said:

  1. We will not allow anyone to profit from the misfortune of another
  2. The country has been shamed
  3. This is a conspiracy to defame India
  4. There was no need to interview the perpetrator, this will only titillate others of similar mind set.
This last point stirred up even those who don't normally propose banning as a knee jerk reaction to every uncomfortable truth. They sought to ban this because, who in their right minds would want to revel in the details of the crime? Having watched it, I can say that the documentary does not revel in his description of what was done to Jyoti Singh. My reaction to the documentary was that it was very sensitively done and very balanced. It tried to get to the heart of the problem. It tried to start a very necessary conversation about this problem and most importantly it conveyed a very hopeful message that there will be a solution for it. 

So why did a documentary that was not at all about the lack of remorse of the perpetrator become all about it? May be it was because this was the unfortunate tag-line that the TV networks decided to go with to promote the film.

But, let's take a step back from all this hysteria. Forget what anyone thinks of the country or the culture or whether the West is saving the East or anything at all and just ask ourselves the only real question that matters:

do we want to change the status quo for women in India or not? Do we want to make it safer for not just women but everyone else, or not?

I am hopeful that there are enough rational people in the country who will then move to the next important question: how can that be done? And the answer to that is in the quote from documentary, which for some reason has received no attention at all.

This quote from Gopal Subramanium, Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court and Co-Author of the Verma report, is where the solution lies, "Nobody is a monster that he is excluded from the society.... any society that has rapists has to take responsibility for them. This is the first thing that the feminist scholars that came before the Verma commission said ..... that these are our people. These men are ours". This truth needs to come out into the open. This needs to be digested so that we can heal and move on and make the society a better place. For all of us.

The documentary is available at :

My letter to the Verma Commission is here:

And here is why I refuse to give up hope:

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eugene said...

More English women than men feel rape victims should share the blame for being attacked if they wear sexy clothes

Sangitha said...

Precisely. The real question is what we want for women in India (and men too, actually!). There's a lot of good in India, a lot of bad too. Highlighting both work.

Sangitha said...

Precisely. The real question is what we want for women in India (and
men too, actually!). There's a lot of good in India, a lot of bad too.
Highlighting both works.

Agnija Bharathi said...

True. These problems are so inextricably intertwined that conversations and actions must happen at all fronts if we want faster solutions. There is enough room for everyone that cares to pick a cause and back it.