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#Indiasdaughter – Salil Tripathi and Vrinda Grover review the film #Vaw

Vrinda Grover Facebook

 

I have seen the documentary film, India’s Daughter.
I think we need to take a position of engagement rather than posit it simplistically as a ban or no ban issue ( which to my mind is much more convenient but not necessarily a helpful position)
One significant issue here is of rule of law; fair trial and rights of victim and accused. It is critical to remember that the legal prcoess has not yet concluded, The appeal is pending in the Supreme Court of India.

The other concern is that the film serves to amplify hate speech against women and broadcast misogynist views.

It is quite interesting that today NDTV has spent a major part of the evening discussing the issue of VAW, including the problems with the criminal justice system , impunity etc. This to my mind is the ONLY unintended positive fallout of the Udwin documentary.
What is terribly misleading in NDTV’s programmes through the evening however is the projection that Udwin’s docu film discusses or raises these issues.

In fact the precise problem with the film is that it does not probe sexual violence as a systemic issue, it isolates the 16 Dec gang rape and murder accused. It profiles poor Indian men as rapists.

Thus on the one hand the film will serve to incite the wrath of the public and very soon cries of death to the rapists will resound, for they now carry the tag of ‘monsters’.
On the other hand the film will for many others, particularly men, reinforce that women deserve rape and their lives must be circumscribed by misogynist and patriarchal notions.
Either way it is a lose- lose situation for women in India.
Telecasting this film, even as legal proceedings are pending does not advance the cause of women’s rights or the rule of law or the right to a fair trial.
I do not subscribe to the government’s stance that the film defames India. India should be ashamed of each and every act of violence against women.
This film is however not an act of global solidarity.
March 8th marks the day of struggle for the rights of women. The telecast of this film on that day will provide a platform for the broadcast of hate speech against women on International Women’s Day.

 

 

 

Facebook, Salil Tripathi

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I’ve now seen the film, India’s Daughter. If you are Indian, or know India well, and have followed the debates around rape over the years, it doesn’t tell you anything you didn’t know.
It has been sensationalised by the film-makers and badly advertised as though the “scoop” of the interview with Mukesh trumps everything, it shows how poorly the accused have been represented – the two defence lawyers are caricatures. For context, the film interviews Maria Misra, an Oxford academic, often – they could have done a lot better using any of India’s great feminists instead. Despite her best efforts, and despite her Indian-sounding name, she comes across as an outsider “mansplaining” India to the West.
But it fails to show the larger context of rape in India – how it cuts across class/caste barriers; how it is a saga that goes back to the Mathura case, nor does it talk about other glaring rape cases like the one of Priyanka Bhotmange (Khailranji case), or further back, the Sanjay-Geeta Chopra (Billa-Ranga) case), or the armed forces or the politicians, nor even Asaram – to show truly how widespread the issue is.
I read in articles that at the end of the film “global” statistics would be shown. They weren’t, in the version shown in London – if you were a Martian you’d think this is a big problem in India, and not elsewhere, and this is the single-most important case in India.
That said, the film should not be banned. I don’t know if it would influence judges and their verdict. But I do know it perpetuates for viewers abroad that Indians are helpless and hapless and need external assistance (what Kavita Krishnan calls the “White Saviour” problem); it also shows the exceptional character and bravery of Jyoti Singh’s parents, a point which Nilanjana Roy made today; the utter destitution of the families of the four men and the juvenile; and in India, it threatens to sharpen demands for instant justice and executions, because the accused in the film, and the two lawyers, are poster-boys of callousness on one hand, and retrograde views on the other.

But do remember – what is it that the accused has said that has not been said by khap panchayat leaders, by politicians, by police officers, and by our elders?

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Comment (1)

  1. Sherna Gandhy

    I think the issue of banning the film is crucial and not ‘simplistic’. Over the days one has heard many different interpretations, views and debates about the film. Isn’t this what any film/book should do? We don’t all look at things in the same way and we should be given the right to take away what we want. For example Grover thinks the film will reinforce the idea that women deserve rape because that is what the convict says. I disagree. Are we never to have obnoxious views held by people aired on tv or in books with the aim of showing just how obnoxious they are? This is a ridiculous contention.
    Moreover the film does not set out to be a treatise on VAW, so to criticise it for not going deeper into the issue does not hold water.
    Since the convict nowhere says he committed the crime – in fact he stoutly denies it – how will it compromise his appeal in the supreme court, which surely is not interested in his views on the crime but only whether he committed it or not.

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