Tuesday, March 10, 2015

AIB to India's Daughter: All that keeps the bakchod Indian's interest alive

The helplines are buzzing with life. The agitation of living in a ban republic is driving everyone nuts. The first caller can't handle his anxiety to see the banned sadomasochist "Fifty Shades of Grey" though he assiduously backs up his hard drive with the porn downloaded from DC++. The second caller is deeply hurt at the banning of "India's Daughter" though he watched it only after it was banned just to realize that it's a polished version of "Gaur Se Dekhiye is Insaan Ko" that made each viewer relive the ghastly memories of Dec 16, 2012 to no effect. The third caller sulks at the controversy about the AIB Roast video probably because he hasn't seen other ROAST videos that hit way below the belt but with a different class altogether. I cannot help but notice - are we concerned about turning into a ban republic OR sulking about everything banal that is banned in this republic? There have been multiple things that have been restricted in the past,  on grounds of threat to law and order or the sensitivities of varied sections of people or for reasons not understood by us. But if we do want to use our voice to fight for the freedom of speech and expression, isn't it fair that we judiciously use it for  a work that is great in quality and truly deserving of a backing. Though discussed in the Jaipur Literary fest, why wasn't there any anger when the noted author Perumal Murugan had no option but to apologize for the classic Madhorubhagan (One Part Woman) and renounce writing forever ? Have we really lost the ability to decipher what needs to be agitated upon? The recent chaos and the bugle sounding over mediocrity relegates into the background a tolerant India that as a nation breaks its silence and fights back only on things that matter.

3 years ago when "India's Daughter" battled for her life, the whole nation woke up to fill the streets not only to India Gate but also to discreet chowk of the quaintest Indian town. We can hardly imagine what a victim of abuse be it Nirbhaya or the Badaun girls or the child molested in Bangalore wished to be different. Would things have been different had sex education been compulsory in schools, if she had known that his touch was a bad one, if he had known that there are boundaries that need to be respected and " a no is a no" ? Would things have been different had she been taught that no form of violence should be tolerated by a woman, that it's prudent to step out and report in the first stage of any oppression rather than wait for things to get worse in the hope of saving the honor of the family? Would things have been different had the police understood the concept of "emotional violence" and lodged an FIR without any proof of gagging or abuse marks? Leave the serious ones, let's talk about what happens daily? Would things have been different if we rubbished the gossip that a colleague got promoted not for talent but for sleeping with the boss, if we kicked in the butt every sexist assumption that we encounter every day? No one knows the answers. What we do know is that it's a long battle that requires us to use our voice from time to time. The Justice Verma recommendations and the consequent reform in rape laws bear testimony to how much our angst matters. The furore is like antibiotics- effective only when used judiciously, not to be prescribed for daily bakchodi.


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