The Delhi gang-rape shook India in 2012. It questioned the perception of women in society, it questioned the safety of women in society, it left all of us heartbroken. Jyoti Singh, the pride and light of her parents, was only 23 when she died after being brutally gang-raped and beaten, by five men and a boy. Five of the six rapists got the death sentence, whereas the boy only had to serve three years in a juvenile prison. One of the rapist’s committed suicide while in prison. Four of them remain in prison. One of the four was interviewed for a documentary entitled ‘India’s Daughter’.
India’s Daughter has been making headlines on social media websites ever since the rapist’s outrageous comments were viewed, “when being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy.” This lead to a massive debate in India about whether or not the documentary should be aired. Some claimed it was disrespectful toward Jyoti Singh, others claimed interviewing a rapist is similar to crediting him for what he did, others claimed the film-maker used the rapist and made the film for commercial purposes, and some claimed the film-maker recorded the rapist illegally. The documentary was subsequently banned in India. It was aired today on Youtube and BBC Four for the rest of the world to see.
Personally, I was against the banning of the film. Why? Because in it we see the rapist’s point of view. We see how women are, to this day, viewed in society. Through the film, we understand the intensity of the situation that involves women’s safety. Many many people said “how can you interview a rapist? that is like giving him importance.” They were outraged. I saw the rapist’s view, but I did not value it. And, it is not this rapist alone that perceives women in this manner. “The victim is as guilty as her rapists. She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop. This could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don’t think so”, claimed God-man Asaram Bapu. And this is just one of the many, many claims India’s ‘big and respectful’ people have made. Furthermore, the general public share the same, or similar views. There are dozens of misogynists out there who believe women deserve to get raped, with people claiming that “it is not rape if you scream surprise!”, this issue is far from over, and such views are not only thought so by convicted rapists.
So the point of the documentary is to make people comprehend the urgency of this situation. To understand that this is how women are STILL perceived in society. And to question our beliefs, and to ultimately work towards changing them. The documentary is a reminder that we have still got a long way to fight for women’s freedom and their safety. I urge you to watch the documentary while you still can. Jyoti Singh’s father, too, has urged everyone to watch the documentary, “what the documentary shows is the truth. It holds up a mirror to our society. It’s not about this rapist, it is a general statement on what kind of people we create in our society”, he said.
India’s Daughter has been banned in India. Read that sentence over again and over again, and tell me you don’t see something wrong with it. ‘India’s Daughter has been banned in India’. That sentence alone says so much about how women are perceived in the Indian society. Yes, they’re banned. Their rights are banned, their freedom is banned, their safety is banned. India’s Daughter has been banned in India for a very long time.
I have one question for you guys out there, why do we refer to India as Bharat Mata, when we cannot even respect the women that our society consists of? Why do we pray to Mataji when we cannot respect the women before us?
Rest in Paradise, Jyoti Singh, know that your death is not forgotten. We are fighting for you. For us.
Now, forever and always.