Indian students and activists hold placards and candles during a memorial ahead of the one-year anniversary of a gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student that sparked massive protests in the Indian capital, outside Vastrapur Lake in Ahmedabad on December 14, 2013. The savage attack spurred intense debate about the way India treats its women, and led to a stiffening of punishments for sexual abuse. AFP PHOTO / Sam PANTHAKY
Sambidhan Mohanty
‘India’s Daughter’ Controversy Exposes Our Hypocrisy

Problem is that we need a scapegoat to blame – for our misery – instead of accepting that the fault lies within us. In most cases, the scapegoat is the government, irrespective of whether the government actually heeds us or ignores us. The problem is that we are becoming highly impatient and self-opinionated

Over the past few days, we were busy expressing our outrage against “India’s Daughter”, a documentary on the Nirbhaya Gangrape case produced by BBC, which showed the interview of the Rapist, Mukesh Singh. We justified our outrage by claiming that the documentary glorified the act of rape and degraded our Indian society. However, once the government decided to ban the documentary, we picked up our shields, pens and forks to express our outrage against the government for its “Ban” mentality.

I agree that the mindset of the rapists needs to be exposed to kill the similar mindset that exists abundantly in the human society.  This is the mindset that creates monsters. Monsters, who evolve to commit such heinous crimes. I believe that it’s our responsibility to change the mindset of the society starting right from our own friends and family members, who hold similar opinion about women.

However, coming back to the documentary, it’s not right to blame politicians alone for the ban – as it was more or less a reactionary & legal move.

Almost all media houses starting from Times Now and News-X to Headlines Today, ran 24/7 shows against “India’s Daughter” calling it a big shame for India(except NDTV which got rights to air the documentary in India and held the same views as Mr. Javed Akhtar). Most panelists in the shows, news anchors (read arnab, sardesai, etc.), experts, etc. actually blamed the government for not taking necessary steps to prevent BBC from interviewing a rapist & airing it.

There were protests in several places against the documentary by women welfare organizations. Nirbhaya’s mother & father were interviewed by several channels. They were in tears and spoke against the documentary saying it’ll hurt their dead daughter’s soul and requested the news channels to not air the documentary.

There was a huge outrage in social media with various quarters demanding a ban on the documentary. #Nirbhayainsulted, #BanBBC & #DontRapeAgain continued to be the trending topics on twitter, 4 days after the documentary fiasco. PILs were filed all over the nation against the documentary. What made the matter worse was that the makers of documentary had flouted legal rules by interviewing an under trial, so the final nail of the coffin came from the Delhi High court after the court stepped in and asked the government to ban the documentary.

However, once the documentary was banned by the government, some media houses, panelists, arm chair activists, politicians, social media activists, etc. did a u-turn on their opinion and claimed that a ban can’t be justified. They blamed the government, again, for being too authoritarian. They felt that the documentary was needed to find the root cause behind such monstrous crimes and shame ourselves and our society, so that crimes like Delhi Gangrape can be prevented in future. Post ban, the opinion of Nirbhaya’s father changed as well, as he claimed that the Documentary was needed to expose the rapist mindset.

That being said, all of them are absolutely right about their later opinion – that the documentary is somewhat justified and needed. However, they are guile for doing a u-turn on their original opinion that actually pushed the government to take the decision of banning the “India’s Daughter”.

We have issue when the court gives 3 years sentence to the juvenile, and demand that the government amends laws for strict punishments. When the government does amends laws, we cry that it is infringing the rights of minors. We call for strict actions and initiatives by the to prevent crimes, when the government starts surveillance program to wipe off crimes, we call it an invasion of our privacy and blame the government again. We implicate the government as authoritarian and raise our voices against article 66A or the PILs filed against AIB roast – terming it as an attack on our Freedom of speech. However, when Yogis, Saadhvi, Swamis, Maulvis, start spewing venoms we demand an action by the government, we call for a ban on these religious bigots, disregarding the freedom of speech that we were advocating, not so long ago. We, express our outrage against the law for banning cow slaughter in Maharashtra, without being bothered to know that cow slaughter is actually banned in Maharashtra since 1976 and is banned in 20 other states as well. We become animal rights activists by protesting and demanding ban on Animal Slaughter during Hindu festivals, but claim it’s communal to ban Bull and Ox slaughter on normal days.

Problem is that we need a scapegoat to blame – for our misery – instead of accepting that the fault lies within us. In most cases, the scapegoat is the government, irrespective of whether the government actually heeds us or ignores us. The problem is that we are becoming highly impatient and self-opinionated. We are becoming hypocrites within our own limits. We tend to forget that the reason politicians do a u-turn so often, is because that’s actually what we, Aam Aadmis, do as well,U-turn. We tend to outrage without reasoning and jump the fence when the flow goes against our own opinion, to end up in the opposite camp.

I am actually reminded of the widely dispersed fable – The miller, his son and the donkey. A modified version of this tale, which had the son replaced with a wife, went viral over the internet, 2 years ago. In our day to day lives, we blindly follow the paradox by becoming one of those passers, who has a conflicting opinion and perception about the trio. Yet, we share that picture on the social media expecting the society to change.

It all ends with a question and a plausible answer –

What is the society?

The answer is – We are the society.