Why the Documentary ‘India’s Daughter’ should be aired

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 10.55.12 PMThere is debate as to whether the documentary that has the Nirbhaya Rape accused Mukesh’s Interview be aired. Many say yes and Many say no. Without seeing the interview it is tough to say especially in a time when media’s race for TRP has seen breaking many ethics in Journalism. Also this has become a a Media against Media issue with TimesNow going openly criticizing NDTV and BBC. Even Kavitha Krishnan has put forward her apprehensions about the documentary. Not on the intention of the producer but on the expectation that it will create a sea change and a global campaign happening.

The first point I want to make is that Nirbhaya should not be forgotten, Nirbhaya should live within us always showing us how incapable our system and society had been to protect her. She should not be forgotten because her rapist is now doing an appeal. She should not be forgotten because we have very bad memory when it comes to such incidents and it is important we be reminded of our responsibility. She should not be forgotten because convicting and punishing her Rapists will not make our society any more safe unless we take the measures to stop or deflect the rapists and ‘to be rapists’ who now roam freely in our society. She should not be forgotten because our society made a minor also act in this heinous crime. Nirbhaya should not be forgotten because there is so much work pending before we can say there is nothing more to fear.

I don’t agree with the TimesNow argument that by airing the documentary (where the Rapist accuses Nirbhaya to be responsible for the Rape) is demeaning to Nirbhaya. Because what the Rapist says shows his sick mentality not validity of his statement. I am not even clear why TimesNow is objecting on this. I also feel many people object because this is not just about the Rapist and Nirbhaya, it is about Gender inequality that exists in the society. We all know that there are still people educated and in power who have a pretty twisted mindset when it comes to Gender equality. I think people hate to hear that linked here.

The Rapist might be saying everything to save himself from punishment but many feel that what is said will reflect badly on the society and  directly impact some existing norms in the society that will need to be forcibly changed. The people who object the documentary from airing in my opinion also fear that the discussion of gender inequality in the light of Nirbhaya case and the interview of the rapist will open up a lot of unpleasant questions that our society is not yet ready to face clearly. But that is the whole point, the unpleasantness should happen. When we hear Nirbhaya we need to feel uncomfortable and unpleasant because we are part of the society that let it happen.

Now coming to Kavitha Krishnan’s concern if this will have a sea change. I am not sure, but I am a strong believer that movies and documentaries and social media can bring out more people to act. She also raises the issue of airing it when an appeal process is underway. I think that depends on how you look it, even the the Rapist is trying to use the platform to make an argument in his favor. Also we have no reason to believe that this documentary would substantiate the Rapist’s argument and aid his appeal being sanctioned. She also has some issue with the title ‘India’s daughter’ which I did not find very convincing. Anyway I don’t agree with Kavitha either and feel the documentary should be aired.

That being said we all should understand that punishing Mukesh is only one tiny part of the change needed. How do you stop other Mukeshs. How do you stop minors from committing these crimes. How do you make people look deep and see if gender inequality had anything to do with this whole incident. It is very easy to just punish Mukesh and get over with it and punish the next Mukesh when he comes and then the next. Where does that end. When does the society be really safe and equal for women?

In a country where we air documentary and make films on people like Veerapan and Shobraj and sell autobiographies of killers, make movies glorifying the underworld what is wrong in one documentary that tries to explore the bigger issue that needs be addressed. The documentary should be aired, Nirbhaya should be in the mind of everyone. If you forget Nirbhaya you can never remove fear from the minds of people. And I agree with Kiran Bedi here who said every rapist and criminal should be interviewed because we need to know why it happened and why they did what they did….

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One Comment Add yours

  1. vinodnarayan says:

    I was reading a few arguments on line against airing the documentary and thought to add the response in the comments here..

    1. One argument says airing the documentary will paint all Indian men in the same way.

    Response: That is not true, let us be honest here; it does not generalize the ‘Indian male’ and don’t be touchy about how a documentary paints all Indian men alike. Does a movie that shows all police officers as corrupt paint the Indian police service. But after this documentary if anyone says that women should not go out alone because they will entice and lure otherwise innocent males, then there is a problem and it will be right to say that your mentality suits that of the convicted Rapist. If you say that women are supposed to sit at home and take care of family and bear children again your mentality will be questioned even stronger than before

    2. Another argument was that showing the Bus driver Mukesh would spark emotions against north Indian bus drivers.

    Response: How many of you see an auto rickshaw driver and first think of auto Sankar all the time. How many of you stopped using Auto after the auto sankar incident. How many of you stop going to doctor after you saw Amir Khan’s shows on the medical industry.

    3. Portraying Mukesh alone as the face of evil is not right.

    Response: I don’t think anyone is doing that, it is just that this documentary has Mukesh Singh and does not mean you forget other faces of evil, You should remember every other face. But the sad part is we have very bad memory especially about things that did not directly impact us. Nirbhaya has impacted you and your effort should not be to shoot down the documentary but see how airing such a documentary can benefit in a campaign

    4. The Documentary will provoke violence on women

    Response: This is more a Govt. level censorship argument for me and I am not clear how a documentary that does not glorify the rapist but has an interview with the rapist provoke other people to embark on violence against women. If you say that people will agree with the Rapist argument and use that as a reason, then that damage is already done as the statements are out, not just by the Rapists but also by the lawyers who kind of support Mukesh’s claim even if it is to defend him. And if you say a visual narrative will influence more, then we still have a problem because we might have a problem in media in general because there is a big generation who is being influenced by what they see on TV. What all will you Ban.

    I agree that without watching the documentary it is tough to make a call, but saying this documentary wont serve any positive value in helping the fight and also saying it will create a big negative impact both in the same breath is contradicting because our society is not filled with all saints or all villains. I believe we have more good apples than bad in our society and if it is other way round that the bad apples become stronger with the documentary, we are already in shit and this documentary is not going to make anything bad or good.

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