By now most of you reading this post have already watched the much discussed BBC documentary, India’s Daughter, a documentary film about the heinous crime that took place in Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012.
The Indian government decided to ban the film in India in true reflection of the prevalent traditional attitude in the society of hushing things up. Lets push it under the already over-heaped carpet and pretend it never happened. Well, that is impossible in the age and times of the Internet and Social Media. Clearly the power of which was underestimated.
Several links floated on different social media channels and like many of you, I watched the film. I read that the film has been globally banned now and this is beyond my comprehension. Why?
Enough has been written and said about the documentary already. I have spent hours reading posts and opinions on the film. Yes, the statements from the defense lawyers were beyond outrageous, the accused interviewed did not bear any signs of remorse, the sentence for the juvenile in comparison to the crime committed is non-reconcilable and this is a wide-spread broader issue of how women are looked at in the country. The documentary is about only one such case.
My piece of writing, after seeing the film, is solely dedicated to the courageous and forthright parents of Jyoti Singh.
For when they spoke of their girl, it was with the kind of love one has for their children and with the grief that one suffers on losing a child. The mother narrates that her first words to her daughter after the incident were that they would stand by her, no matter what. That is rare in the sub-continent where women are shamed for the crimes done against them – domestic violence, harassment for dowry, sexual assaults and rapes. Shamed by the society. Shamed by their own family and loved ones.
A victim becomes a social outcast and most often is disowned by her own family, her own parents. But here the parents stood by her, fought for her even after her death and would have still been by her side today if she were alive. They did not feel shamed for what was done to their daughter. Instead they stood strong, spoke for her and fought for the cause.
That speaks a lot for itself. That must have taken a lot of courage. They must have faced a lot of hurdles. But they have also set an example for many parents who fail to shelter their own children in the face of meaningless norms and boundaries created by the society.
Shame? Who should be shamed? The victim? Or the accused? Is there any other form of crime where we lay the blame on the victim?
Why blame the society when even the girl’s parents look in the wrong direction in such cases. There is a deep-rooted culture of misogyny in the Indian society and universally as well. One that education cannot diminish single handedly. It will take much more than that.
If education alone could eradicate such behaviorism, we would not have heard those remarks from the “educated and qualified” defense lawyers, said so unflinchingly. Change in mindset begins at home, within the family first. In the patriarchal society, children grow up observing and knowing that women could be treated with disrespect and that treatment is deemed acceptable.
For this reason, Jyoti’s parents are no less than heroes. There stood the grieving eyes of a father holding the fond memories of once teaching his child how to walk, giving her wings to reach her dreams and then living the nightmare that overpowered it all. But their daughter was and will always remain their pride. She will always be loved. She will always be defended no matter what. Some one will always be there to fight for her. Someone will not worry about the stereotypes.
I have nothing but my utmost respect for them. And I hope and pray that every girl has a parent like them. That every daughter is loved and respected at home, even when she has been wronged outside.
Written By : Piya Mukherjee Kalra