Tuesday, March 10, 2015

India's Daughter - Why the Ban is justified!

For the past one week India and the world at large have been vertically split into two: one supporting the ban on the #NirbhayaDocumentary (titled: India's Daughter) and other vehemently opposing it.

There appears to be a larger conspiracy to malign India and stereotype the Indians as one with rapist mentality and those who doesn't believe in gender equality. There are these pertinent questions which needs rational answers.

1. The documentary was directed and produced by a little known filmmaker Ms.Leslee Udwin; who have no proven credentials to speak off apart from couple of low-budget movies. She was apparently given permission to interview inmates of the Tihar jail with the clear undertaking that it would not be used for commercial purposes. However, the documentary was subsequently sold to BBC. Did BBC use Ms. Leslee Udwin as a conduit to get to the dreaded rapists, as authorities would have been more alert if approached directly by BBC? Also it is amply clear as she never claimed to have been producing a documentary on #NirbhayaRapeCase when soliciting permissions.

2. The documentary at any point of time looked highly scripted and non-impromptu while interviewing the rapist Mukesh Singh, Nirbhaya's parents as well as her so called tutor Mr. Satendra. Satendra's narration of the incident and about Nirbhaya's life sounded cooked up. How was he privy to what had happened on that fateful night, as it was Nirbhaya's friend Mr.Avanindra Pandey who was accompanying her and not Satendra.

3. Mr. Avanindra Pandey (Nirbhaya's friend who accompanied her on 16th Dec 2012) has categorically labelled the film as "fake" and has also claimed that he had denied being part of the documentary as he was unsure of the filmmaker's motives. The film sidesteps of the role of Mr.Avanindra and completely ignores the plight underwent by him which in hindsight seems to be an attempt to make his version irrelevant as he didn't agree to contribute to the making of this film. ref: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/nirbhayas-friend-who-was-with-her-on-the-fateful-night-calls-indias-daughter-a-fake-film/533097-3-244.html

4. In the documentary, only the response of the rapist, the tutor and her parents are shown whereas what questions were posed to them is not shown. Hence, it leaves to guesswork on which questions the respondents are responding to. It is possible that questions were framed in such a way to derive a specific type of answer and then edited to show it as seamless.

5. The rapist repeatedly calls the fellow rapist as "juvenile" and never disclosed his name during the course of the televised interview. How can a riff-raff like Mukesh know sophisticated English word like "juvenile" and whose insistence did he avoid uttering the juvenile rapist's real name. This part clearly shows that Mukesh Singh was "well-prepared" by the filmmaker for this interview. It is important to know what were the questions and its corresponding answers to derive the context clearly.

6. Repeatedly it was mentioned that Mukesh Singh and his brother and Ram Singh were living in a jhuggi (slum) where he has quoted as indulging in day-to-day domestic violence and then the camera panned to show other slum-dwellers which makes one wonder if all the slum-dwellers behave and do the same as these rapists. The documentary appears to have purposefully stereotyped the poor Indians living in slums and clearly appeared to be catering to its western audiences who take a liking to view India as a poor under-developed third-world nation which is home to only snake-charmers and rapists.

7. The documentary clearly violated the law of the land by disclosing the name of victim, its parents etc. bringing disrepute to the victim and her family at large. It is definitely below journalistic standards to use a dead person and that too a brutal rape victim for commercial gains.

8. As soon as BBC learnt of the apparent ban imposed by the Indian government; it pre-poned its scheduled release in UK thereby ensuring the documentary is spread to the public domain through various video sharing websites like YouTube, torrents etc. This clearly shows BBC panicking and appear to pluck the low-hanging fruit quickly.

9. How did Ms. Leslee Udwin manage to fly under the radar for so long if she was filming the documentary from 2013? If it was for humanitarian purpose, why didn't she announce the making of such a film in public before which would have surely drawn mixed reactions. This amply suggests that the film was made covertly to avoid media glare and public scrutiny at large.

10. This film is condescending the sovereignty of India and clearly smacks of Britain's colonial mindset towards the nations once it ruled. It appears to have done a good job at some one's behest to portray India and its ruling dis-pension in very poor light in front of the so-called developed western world.

11. The film in its rolling credits; thanks NDTV & its founders for providing it with news archives. It needs to be ascertained what were those archives exactly and address the  propriety issues as it can pose a greater threat to the security of India.

12. The graphic detail with which the rapist describes the event only added to the "shock-value" of the film and provided him with a platform to air his views. This is sure to create greater amount of panic and unrest among the females who would have got a chance to watch this film. Also, it generalizes Indian men as beasts; who can go to any extent to satisfy his sexual thirst.

13. Will Britain do a similar documentary of their very own Jihadi John and ask him how he felt beheading the captives? Will they do a documentary of the racial crimes perpetrated by Britons on the Asian community living in UK? Will they run a documentary on the British paedophiles arrested and convicted in India and elsewhere ?

14. Why did Ms. Leslee Udwin flee India when there was a clamour in some media reports that she be taken under police custody for querying. Why is she afraid of; if she has no dirt on her hands?

Considering all these loop-holes it looks germane that the government of India was indeed right on its decision to ban the documentary. However, the govt.'s public relations team should work harder to reach out to the world and Indians at large to tell its side of the story in a clear way rather than side-stepping it.