The Furore Over “Daughters”

It’s been more than a week since social media has been set ablaze by the storm of protest that ensued – the aftermath of the BBC documentary “India’s Daughter” going viral, despite the best efforts by the Indian government to contain the mass outrage. Leslee Udwin may not have dreamed that her documentary could set off such a monumental chain reaction, and what a reaction it is! The Indian government may have managed to secure an injunction against the screening of the controversial documentary for now, but the damage has already been done. The irony is that the imposed ban, which was probably more a knee-jerk reaction than, has further aided the rampant outrage. Whatever happened to “Freedom of Expression”!? The government had no qualms about placing the documentary on its proscribed list, allegedly out of fear that the derogatory statements and the content of the documentary in general, might spark fear and insecurity in the minds of Indian women. Therein lies the massive irony.

The broadcast of the controversial documentary in the face of opposition from the Indian authorities and its subsequent prohibition brought on a public outcry on an unprecedented scale. The candlelight vigils, massive outrage and the protests staged, following the death of India’s Braveheart, that had since diminished in fervor, were kindled. The public lashed out against the disgustingly insensitive, cold-hearted remarks made by the defense lawyers and the death row convict. The following video response, in particular, gained my attention

I count myself unfortunate for not getting an opportunity to view BBC’s controversial documentary (I haven’t watched it entirely! I’ve caught a few snippets.) that delves into the minds of the accused and his defense lawyers among others. I was absolutely stunned by the barbaric views, the justification offered by the convict! I was even more enraged at the juvenile accused being let off lightly, the punishment that did not reflect the transgression, comments made by the lawyers. But most of all, what infuriated me was the ban imposed on the documentary. For all they said, the defense lawyers could have defended the crime!

The politicians can keep up their game of pointing fingers at anyone involved with the documentary – from Leslee Udwin to the authorities that sanctioned the permission as if they were the ones who orchestrated all that happened during that ill-fated bus ride on that night in Delhi. What has happened, has happened and nothing will alter the facts. It might have been banned in India, but it was received with a red carpet, no less in New York. Whatever might be the controversies shrouding the documentary, these are the thoughts that left my mind reeling afterward.

  • Why does the Indian government feel the need to keep its citizens in the dark?
  • Despite being a part of the gang that committed such a heinous crime, come December and the juvenile convict will be let off lightly, after three years of imprisonment.
  • The documentary might reflect badly on the mindset of Indian men. But in any event, banning the documentary than the crime is no answer.
  • It’s as clear as day that the death row convict Mukesh Singh feels no remorse. If someone like him still lives to tell the tale, why should a ban be placed on the documentary?

While I’m totally against India being touted as a rape capital, I can’t help feel rising indignation that the ban on the documentary has not yet been lifted. Even Nirbhaya’s father was sceptical of the ban, despite his decision to comply with the Government. We deserve to know the truth. Every Indian has a right to be aware of what goes on in his country, and the ban is nothing but a sorry excuse for prompt justice.

That being said, “India’s Daughter” might portray India in a bad light, but the views and comments made in the documentary do not reflect that of the populace. Not all Indians are rapists, and convict and his defense lawyers are but part of a small community that harbouring such animosity. I am in awe of the German envoy Michael Steiner ( as shocked as I was, by the attitude of Prof Dr Annette Beck-Sickinger, who later tendered an apology for her unwarranted remarks ) for speaking up for the Indian student who was denied an internship at the University of Leipzig, on account of India’s “rape problem”.

Meanwhile, in the UK, BBC has come under fire for digging up controversies elsewhere, for attempting to divert attention. Days ago, an Indian man Harvinder Singh had vented his ire against the BBC for tarnishing his country’s image, by releasing ” UK’s Daughters “

There is no escaping the fact that developed countries such as the U.S. and the UK are not immune to these heinous crimes. It’s not a question of tarnished images, or who’s to be blamed. There is no reason to turn the spotlight on the underbelly of India. So far, we have had ” India’s Daughter ” and ” UK’s Daughters ” take the social media by storm. One cannot help but wonder where the world is headed off to. To quote Mr. Harvinder Singh, ” Daughter is Daughter, She is not Indian or British “. Prevention is better than cure. Lash out against the root cause, not the agents that threaten to expose it. Condemn the crimes and the convicts, not the hapless victims. It’s time that things change for the better, for the women. Let’s strive to make the world a better place.

© 2015 Shweta Suresh. All rights reserved.

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