• Ankur Mithal
  • India
  • Mar 13, 2015

We can hold our heads high. Our leaders are leaving no stone unturned to protect us. British filmmaker Leslee Udwin’s documentary ‘India’s daughter’ has been banned. And why should it not be? It defames the country. It seeks to unearth the ‘truth’…asking searching questions about male attitudes towards women. Of course it is quite possible that in the process of interviewing the accused, some laws may have been broken, which the Home Minister has been at pains to point out. And that needs to be addressed. Because the common man is extremely upset about it - which is evident from the fact that amongst the milling crowds at bus stops, people at corner shops, panelists on TV shows - and even headlines in newspapers - nobody is talking about it. The documentary, among other things, portrays the accused blaming the victim. We need to shelter the public from such ‘honest’ confessions, especially the adult male population that, though it currently doesn’t, will start thinking like the accused if exposed to his views. Who knows what further atrocities women will be subject to as a result of that? And whoever has heard of a debate on an issue of importance doing any good in our society? Whoever has heard of the presentation of a true picture ever leading to catharsis in our society? Whoever has heard of debate and counter-arguments leading to society gaining a clearer understanding about itself? There is no need to waste time on such trifles. In any case, since we know that ours is a rich culture, there is no need for a debate or the presentation of a true picture of what people really think - especially men about women. We know. We know that all our men only possess clean and noble thoughts for women. It is only the rapists who are caught that possess a sick mind. And we know that men have the right to decide….what women should do, what they should wear, where they should go, whom they should talk to or meet, and what they should say or publish. 

Our political leaders most definitely need to get into the act – though they rarely need any excuse for that. We should be happy that our leaders do not undertake half-measures. They address such issues whole-heartedly. They will make sure that defamation is now never able to raise its ugly head in any sphere. Political leaders have prevailed upon the Board of Control for Cricket in India to use its clout to treat all games where the Indian team loses, as not having been played - with retrospective effect. Every person who does not wear ‘foreign’ clothes or does not talk in a western language will henceforth be removed to an area especially reserved for such ‘misfits’. After all, if an overseas visitor were to interact with such a person and see India’s ‘reality’, would it not create a poor impression - which is tantamount to defamation? Many other measures have been prescribed. But nothing is foolproof. To cover that eventuality, legislation has been enacted requiring citizens, in the manner of Mahatma Gandhi’s three monkeys, to ‘hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil’. In simple terms, bury your head in the sand and pretend that all is well. In the interest of transparency and openness and in order to protect against defamation, there will be a clamp down on all divergent views, particularly ones that call upon men to introspect about their attitude towards women. We now know that the country’s defamation can only happen when a foreigner is involved. An Indian can, at best, cause regional defamation, State-level defamation or religious defamation. But defaming the whole country? No, an Indian can never hope to rise to that level. However, there is something to be said for the irresponsible actions of foreigners. Only a foreigner can unite the country across region, State, caste, creed and religion.



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