Documentary ban reflects India’s deep divergences

By Su Tan Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-10 0:13:07

In protest against the controversial ban by the Indian authorities on broadcasting BBC's documentary India's Daughter, Indian news channel NDTV halted programming for a full hour on International Women's Day Sunday, during the time the documentary was scheduled to air, as a move to call for freedom of speech. The film has been screened in the UK and was set to make its US premiere on Monday.

The ban by the authorities in India has further flared up controversies over the documentary after an Indian court ordered last week to block the broadcast and the Indian government backed the order later. The film tells the shocking story of a brutal gang rape in 2012 in Delhi that led to the death of Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old medical school graduate.

The public divergence was spurred as the documentary director Leslee Udwin interviewed one of the convicted rapists, Mukesh Singh, who blamed the victim for the fatal gang rape. "A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy. She should just be silent and allow the rape," Singh said, while his two defense lawyers appallingly expressed similar ideas.

The Indian home minister said the broadcast would cause "a huge public outcry" and make the rapist a celebrity on social networks, while opponents hold that the film would help reveal the heinous rape crimes and the bias against women in India.

In India, Mukesh Singh's remarks that disdain and even blame women for rape are shared by many, as suggested by the concern of Indian authorities about the public outcry. Although after the 2012 rape case that aroused worldwide protest and concern, commentaries from all perspectives were published in Indian media, a profound reflection on the rapist's shocking remarks is apparently needed to mull the ways to truly enhance the respect for women in the patriarchal society.

Gender inequality and rape is a global challenge, but it turns out to be particularly grave in India. Following the deadly gang rape in 2012, the Indian government has made some attempts to enhance safety for women, such as promoting a kind of cellular bracelet to deter rapists, but they haven't worked out well.

Every country has to face its domestic headaches. As the largest democracy in the world, India has boosted its efforts to enhance its international recognition and standing. However, the frequent reported incidents of rape mirror an India that is still domestically bothered by a variety of problems deeply rooted in its imbalanced and inadequate social development. It is also a challenge India cannot evade to fulfill its ambition.


Posted in: Observer

blog comments powered by Disqus