In the defence of a documentary
Apropos of the column “Why not ban the RSS?” (February 6), the government’s hasty ban on India’s Daughter—a documentary about the horrifying Delhi gang-rape case of December 16, 2012—is a regressive step, especially in this day and age. For all its assertiveness, the government could not dissuade the BBC from airing the documentary. Underpinned by extensive research, the documentary is a realistic narrative that brings out the correlation between the real act of rape and the cultural moorings biased against women. (The documentary is all over the internet.) Given the documentary’s potential for sensitisation of the viewers on the gender issue, showing too much desperation to conceal Indian men’s attitude towards women and their treatment of them from the outside world can be self-defeating. India is mistaken if it thinks that it can manage to deflect international attention from the “ugly things” under the guise of nationalism as it once successfully did with avoiding reference to caste as a form of sanctified apartheid at a UN forum. Further, the argument that the screening of the documentary will prejudice the judicial process still under way is specious in the face of irrefutable evidence of the crime. At the same time, all those who see women as lesser beings than men and objectify them cannot escape some share of indirect responsibility for maintaining a social environment in which women are violated with brute force.
G David Milton
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Why the ban?
The ban on telecasting the BBC documentary India’s Daughter in the country is unjustifiable. Snatches of the documentary, based on the December 16 gang-rape case, already aired on TV channels, have generated outrage over the views expressed by one of the convicts and, more than that, the two lawyers who represented the convicts in the court. The documentary, which is anyway all over the internet, throws up several issues but the Centre has skirted them all in its trivial pursuit of scapegoats. Following the December 16 incident, the Supreme Court set up fast-track courts to expedite sexual offence trials, after criticism over judicial delays and low conviction rates. However, the convicts’ appeals against their death penalties are pending for nearly a year in the Supreme Court. While due processes must be followed assiduously, the inordinate delay in the appellate process necessitates judicial reforms. The Nirbhaya Fund to be devoted for women’s security has been doubled this year but both central and state governments remain clueless on evolving apt schemes. Though gender sensitisation programmes have been proposed for the general populace, and not just in schools, the discourse has not moved beyond academic circles. By preventing the airing of the documentary in India on International Women’s Day, a self-righteous establishment has only ensured the perpetuation of societal hypocrisy.
Bhagwan Thadani, Pune
Apropos of the news report “Spectrum auction for 4 bands to start today”, generally it is the highest bidder who wins the auction. But the irony is that if spectrum is allotted to the highest bidder, then the highest bidder or the company which wins the auction will then pass on its high cost of winning the auction ultimately to the end-consumer only. This way by allocating the spectrum to the highest bidder the government can fill its coffers but this burns a big hole in the common man’s purse. Then how can any government claim it is “the government of the people, by the people, for the people” or it is serving the citizens of this country?