Augustine Veliath

India’s Daughter was banned. Let us look at seven unasked questions in this debate. Was banning the film a knee jerk reaction? Are we evading the real question? Is the conversation around women across the country  so damaging? What do we need to do change this conversation?

Unasked Question 1

1. Did we get caught in a channel war?

One of the channels was supposed to premier this documentary. They had already created a hype. Did the other channel swung into action and black mailed the rest of us ” with a very emotional pedophile question.  What Mukesh said and much more was carried several times over by the channels newspaper. The Channel anchor at that time had not brought up the pedophile or other emotional arguments.http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/indias-daughter-how-india-tried-to-suppress-the-bbc-delhi-gangrape-documentary-10088890.html

Unasked Question 2

2. Do we have a governance mode which is quick to ban and punish and slow to engage and mentor?

Did our home minister get carried away. Would it have been better for him if he had asked a few trusted experts to watch the documentary first and advise him. Did the Home Minister  get influenced by the atmosphere created by hysteric channel?  Why did he not ask for a screening and check out that documentary does far more good than harm? Do we have a governance logic which is quick to ban and punish and slow to engage and mentor.http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/sons-and-daughters

Unasked Question 3

3. Are  our parliamentarians anti women? Will they have code and guideline on what to say on gender?

Are our parliamentarians sold out to patriarchy ? Are they anti women?  Are they averse to or lazy to seek evidence? Irrespective of which party they all belonged to  they all spoke of “protecting” women, never on “investing” in women, investing in new masculinity norms. Just no one spoke of once seeing this documentary and acting on evidence. One senior minister even saw an international conspiracy in this documentary. How long will we be in this victim mode? Will parliamentarians and political parties have some education on gender and a guideline and a  code on what to say and what not to  say on gender issues. Women in India are sick of being told how many children they should bear, what they should wear, the jeans and the chow mien. Have mercy

 

Question 4

4. Why are our Police and its Commissioner  always in a “punishing mode”

Why is the Delhi Police Commissioner so hung up on punishing the  makers of this documentary? This film is perhaps the only attempt to show case the enormous work Delhi police has done to track down the vehicle and find the culprits within days?  It does justice to the police point of view and carries unedited the Delhi police assurance that the city is as safe as any in  the world without a snide comment. Since the documentary .  Yet the Delhi police and its commissioner are bent on all those who made this documentary and all those who “allowed this to happen”. It will be interesting how this will play out especially before the judiciary.

Unasked Question 5

5. In this digital era and time can we really ban a documentary?

According to Hindustan  Times over 25 versions are available for down load. In a front page article titled Banned Documentary Runs Rampant on  Net the paper says “millions have already seen the documentary”. Oscar winning Merry Streep Frieda Pinto will be attending the US premiere. The idea of banning films and books is an offshoot  reforms and renaissance days where the elite ruled the roost. knowledge belonged to the priestly class. Privileges went to the feudal lords and the masses were told to behave.

Unasked Question 6

6. Why are we so worked up when none who has seen the film found it offending?

None who has seen the film finds it offending, that includes both the parents of the unfortunate victim. On the contrary, all of them have said the film should be seen and by all. So was the banning a knee jerk reaction taken in a hurry?  Is it a case of  the blind leading the blind?

Unasked Question 7

7. When will a concerted effort on changing the conversation around gender start?

If anything , the documentary gives us glimpses the conversation that is taking place on women, their sexuality and their rights. These demeaning and denigrating conversations will not go away unless there is a deliberate and systematic attempt to do so. When will that attempt start. Who will lead that national campaign. There is a vacancy there. Who will bell the cat?