If there’s anything home minister Rajnath Singh should have considered banning, it was not British filmmaker Leslee Udwin’s documentary India’s Daughter, but the live telecast of our parliamentarians debating it.
Barring in a few cases, the arguments came out as flimsy, and the priorities all wrong.
In all likelihood, the government’s lumbering efforts to stifle the film in the age of the internet will lead to the Streisand effect and India’s Daughter will find more and more viewers in the days to come.
And, rest assured, after watching the narrative –based on the December 2012 gang-rape in Delhi– no sane human being would feel this was a platform for the convicts to rationalise their abominable act.
There is the danger, however, that our politicians will make us look guilty and the world will buy into some of the stereotypes the film projects.
If we thought a film was easy meat for the ban-it brigade, the Maharashtra government showed us different.
While the state had already prohibited the slaughter of cows about four decades ago, a twenty year-old bill became law this week after President Pranab Mukherjee signed off on it. An inspired Jharkhand is likely to follow suit.
India is a hypocrisy masquerading as a democracy.
Though our Hindu-majority country claims to worship the female form as well as the divine bovines based on ancient beliefs, girls are slaughtered both inside and outside the womb while stray cattle are forced to devour plastic bags and other hazardous refuse that lead to agonising deaths.
Domestic cows are frequently shot up with illegal drugs that boost milk yield but shorten the animals’ life expectancy. Others are forcibly impregnated or made to haul heavy loads till they collapse under them.
If a lady fits the patriarchal definition of a “good woman”, she is often described as a “gai” – as gentle as a cow. Is it any wonder then that their fates are so similar?
The views expressed by the author are personal