India’s Daughter – Banned – But Still Seen
‘India’s Daughter’ is banned in India but Jyoti Singh’s story cannot be put under wraps, it cannot be muzzled. It is all over social media, and it needs to be seen and seen by a lot of people, especially the gatekeepers of patriarchy.
What happened in Delhi on 16 December 2012 has come back to haunt people, and to see that justice gets done. It is said that a woman is raped in India every 20 minutes and the time is not for complacency. To those who say the documentary ‘India’s Daughter’ should be banned, there is only one thing to say – watch it and then decide.
I watched the film this morning and felt the sadness, the anger we all felt when this young medical student was gang-raped by six men on a moving bus and then beaten and stripped naked and thrown out into the dark streets by the assailants.
I watched this film reluctantly for who wants to relive a nightmare?
India’s Daughter – the BBC documentary – The film has been removed from Youtube internationally. Here is a short clip of the film.
In the second video, Kirron Kher talks in Parliament about the ban of the film.
Post-Nirbhaya: A Girl Named Jyoti Singh
In the film you meet Jyoti’s parents and learn about her dreams. You learn that her parents distributed sweets when she was born even though relatives mocked, ‘You’re celebrating as if it’s a boy!” These loving supportive parents even sold their ancestral land so that they could send her for a medical education. Family members asked, “Why are you selling it for a girl?”
You root for Jyoti Singh who took up a call center job in order to pay for the school hostel, working from 8 pm to 4 am besides attending school.
Then the film takes you to Tihar Jail where you meet one of the rapists – Mukesh, driver, 28. He is sentenced to death for rape, unnatural sex and murder yet there is no remorse in those eyes. Well-groomed and well-fed, he shifts the blame back to the victim: “You can’t clap with one hand. It takes two hands to clap. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy.” He says very clearly and with total confidence, “Boys and girls are not equal.” The roles are defined, according to him – housework and housekeeping for girls, not roaming in discos and bars. He says, “Only about 20 percent of girls are good.”
The Power of Patriarchy
This powerful film reveals much about patriarchy, about how it colors the attitudes toward both males and females. Mukesh, the rapist, believes it’s a man’s right to rape a woman. “When she was raped, she should not have fought back. She should just be silent.” That’s the way it’s been through generations – keeping quiet and bearing the shame. He thinks none of this would have occurred if she had taken it quietly without a fight.
The most heartening thing about this grim documentary is the power of protests and how thousands of like minded men and women came out to share their anger and despair. They risked police arrest and lathi charges to voice their frustration and take action. Actually Indians can take pride in this show of civic sense and unity of its young generation. Change can only come if the people in power don’t block its path.
Do watch ‘India’s Daughter’ and share. It takes you into the mind of the rapist and shows you how important it is to educate both our boys and girls about equality and the human spirit. It has to begin in the home where the respect for all human life – male and female – has to be inculcated.
Background information on ‘India’s Daughter’
This month India’s government banned the film while the BBC moved their planned broadcast up by days and ignited a new controversy. BAFTA winning filmmaker Leslee Udwin, herself a victim of rape, went to India inspired by the protests against sexual assault. With an all Indian crew, Udwin got exclusive, first time on camera interviews with the rapists and defense attorney, none of whom express remorse. The defense attorney goes even further, stating that “immodest” women deserve what happens to them. An impassioned plea for change, INDIA’S DAUGHTER pays tribute to a remarkable and inspiring young woman and explores the compelling human stories behind the incident and the political ramifications throughout India. But beyond India, the film lays bare the way in which societies and their patriarchal values have spawned such acts of violence globally
“This film does what the politicians should be doing… this documentary’s determination to shed light on the country’s rape crisis should inspire change.”
The film is available from Women Make Movies
Interview with director Leslee Udwin on NDTV