The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Ruchira Chaudhury, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
It is pretty apparent that in India, rape is no more an act of gender-based violence but rather an exhibition of a deep-rooted cultural mindset. The reaction to the British filmmaker Leslee Udwin’s documentary, India’s Daughter, better known as the Nirbhaya Case, exactly projects this at the backdrop. Thus, arises the question, “Can an entire society and not just an individual, or group of individuals be subjected to rape?”
Though the definition of rape goes as an act of physical sexual violence on another person, it is actually a foray into the collective psyche of the society as a whole. This, being the first inaccuracy in the definition, the second being it’s sexual nature. When rape involves extreme torture and physical violence, as happened in the Nirbhaya case, has nothing to do with sexual desire or sex. It then becomes an act of dominance to the extent of erasing the human identity of the subject and reducing the human to dead meat, redefining rape to a form of substitute cannibalism.
The official response to India’s Daughter was a revelation of callous complications. For example, in the event of “shoot the messenger”, where the Delhi Police registered an FIR against the filmmaker, and she had to leave the country as a result of this threat with the fear of a lawsuit being filed against her for gaining unauthorized access to the inmates of Tihar Jail.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh is quoted as saying, “I was stunned and deeply hurt when I came to know about it. I spoke to the authorities and made sure all steps are taken to stop the broadcast.”
The actual tragedy is that ‘the authorities’ didn’t take ‘all the steps’ to prevent the monstrosity that the documentary showcases.
Backfiring and rightly because of this, India’s Daughter did go viral on social media, along with Udwin’s parting words, “This was my gift to India and it was rejected even before it was released… this is a sick society.” The government’s clumsy and completely misguided reaction to Udwin’s film reflects appropriately how deep-rooted and widespread the gender astigmatism sickness is in India.
The social stigma connected to rape doesn’t lie at the door of the rapist but at that of the one who survives rape, or who bears public witness to it. It is this inverted responsibility and guilt that makes rape not an individual incident, but a continuous process, which includes the government’s in-vain attempts to censor India’s Daughter.
This rape of reason, a violation of human prudence and sensibility, in reality involves all of us, irrespective of gender. And, it is this violation that begins much early right in the womb. Thus, India’s Daughter might as well have been titled India’s Female Foeticide!