The Nirbhaya documentary that the British film maker made for BBC has really touched a raw nerve in India. Anyone with even a modicum of human decency and emotional sensitivity would not venture into such an endeavor.
If Leslie Udwin, the British film maker’s intent is an academic study of “issues of mindsets and gender inequality” (her interview as reported in The Hindu, March 04, 2015, p.7), it is done in strict confidentiality. Instead, she takes a highly specific and traumatic incident in the life of a country and tries to build around it her study of “mindsets and gender inequality”. Worse, she wants to generalize it and air it on a highly respected channel like BBC4 for her European compatriots to appreciate it!
But a horrendous drama, the unfolding of which was already before the eyes of the world in December 2012 itself, has all its script ready. The revulsion felt by the people, the disgust expressed by the women’s groups and their single-minded and whole-sale male-condemnation, security lapses, defense of the accused…
In short, Ms. Udwin takes up a completely predictable situation in so far as her study on mindsets is concerned. Here is a situation that is polarized in such a way that, leaving all the nuances to the winds, quasi-totality of the Indian community that are witness to the crime – right from women’s lib to politicians to commoners – could only chorus against men’s attitudes towards women. After all, it is woman who has been the most cruel and ruthless victim of a half a dozen men!
And, Ms. Leslee Udwin, what else did she want to add further to an already emotionally surcharged and a highly polarized situation – The convict Mukesh’s testimony to buttress the truth of Indian male attitudes? – The re-voicing of the single track understanding of male chauvinism by the women’s groups? Quick silver deflections practiced by the suave and countless Western abettors? The statistics – number of cases of rape reported, registered, disposed off, those still pending, the kind of punishment meted out, the number that escaped… etc. The proverbial judicial delays… So that the picture is foolproof to show how India continues to live in the middle -ages with a completely male-dominant society where women live fear-gripped unlike the free and liberal Western women.
The very fact that the BBC brought forward, by 3 days, screening of the Nirbhaya documentary itself reflects ulterior motives behind of the making of the film – Otherwise, why this indecent haste? Why this insensitivity towards an entire country’s predicament? Did BBC think that if their European viewers do not learn at this very moment about Indian attitudes, they would grossly be missing something? With the Indian government making efforts to get the documentary screening banned worldwide, it is obvious that the prestigious BBC does not want to get entangled in political issues. After all, BBC, as a British organization, is expected not to damage their country’s image as a modern, civilized country!
In other words, Ms. Leslie Udwin makes the documentary knowing full well its thematic scope and its socio-cultural ramification. It is known beforehand the negative outcome of such a study pointing an accused finger at India. The prestigious BBC lends its platform to diffuse the documentary, knowing full well that such a move amounts to a sort of authentication and direction to its European spectators. That is why they do not want to differ its screening even as a sort of civil gesture! But then what do they want? Simply tarnishing India’s image? Or catching Indian political management in quandary?
No. These are secondary or tertiary issues. By emphatically recreating the situation, they want to operate that Superior-Inferior divide. They are impressing upon their fellow citizens in UK and elsewhere in Europe, as they did decades ago by focusing on the issues of India’s hunger and poverty that India after all is an inferior society, that it has not attained the zenith of civilization à la West – And implicitly exhorting their people to take to that attitude when dealing with Indians.
But are they really unaware of the organized rapes that take place systematically all over Europe? In the name of Cultural exchanges they invite students and scholars and people of other fields to their countries and let it be known, at an opportune moment and through appropriate voices, to submit to rapes by their women-folk (or men-folk). Then the recalcitrant is let known the futility of resisting because that would attract all round destruction of his/her carrier – that is, socio-professional and financial ANNIHILATION, that is, unleashing of an invisible terrorist net minus overt violence. And is it by 4 or 6 wo/men? No, it is countless till their voracity is satisfied or the non-native’s stay ends. Of course, they may not be crude or cruel like the perpetrators of the Delhi rape. But what more cruelty is needed other than being handled as compulsive sex- toys in their hands?
It is of course true that those endowed with practical sense foresee the final outcome and submit to such rapes without much ado (just as Mukhesh desired of rape victims) And it is not out of place to recall that the feminist groups of the West themselves proclaiming, loud and clear, that non-consensual sex amounts to rape! Surely, it is one (some) such rape-victims that were instrumental in procuring Ms. Undwin the MHA permission without the request being put to the then Home Minister’s consideration.
Will the learned film maker have the guts to make a film on these lines and tell the world that Europe fairs worse in that it systematically organizes rapes but shields it from the eyes of the world where as in India, as elsewhere, the open rape is a sporadic act neither part of their cultural tenets nor is condoned by people at large? Will Ms. Udwin be able to say to her European compatriots that Mukesh is a semiliterate living in modest conditions but the European perpetrators are highly educated well placed in administration or other social positions but have no qualms whatsoever in silently coordinating their efforts? And that the basic European intent is to use people from developing countries as so much of ‘human material’ to sub-serve interests of their societies and countries?
Will she be able to bring home the point that while Nirbhaya’s gory death shocks to the core, ANNIHILATIONISM carried on for decades together, thereby imposing a socio-professional death is anything less cruel? And in the process, denying the native country the services, contributions of its educated citizens, that is, rendering the recalcitrant useless both to his country and to his profession, all in the name of cultural cooperation accords! Can the BBC muster journalistic commitment required to fight against its country and government to diffuse such a documentary that places organized European practices alongside terrorist practices?
It is strange that the West considers it an expression of liberty to throw their bodies at any Tom, Dick and Harry (or Mary, Susan and Lilly). But the fact of the matter is that you respect yourself, your body, your person only by judiciously using it not abusing it. And only in that process you would come to respect the other as a human being as you yourself are and not so much of a human material to be used for various other purposes. Sex-scandals, for example, are powerful deterrents and threats. Only such restrained attitudes can have a salutary effect on sexual behavior of a society.
But taking advantage of a situation that already potentially operates a certain form of attitudinal equation, given the surcharged nature of the situation, is neither scientific nor honest. The “study” is then forced in view of other less respectable goals using the situation as an alibi of objectivity.
By: Dr. Codadu Pratap