Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mukesh Singh : A Reflection of Our Mindset!

On a cold Dec evening in the year 2012, five men gang raped, disemboweled a young woman in a moving bus. The gang tried to kill the woman and her friend by running the bus over them. A documentary film was made based on an interview given by one of the convicts. It was believed that the interview was done for the purpose of understanding mind of a rapist. In the interview, Mukesh Singh appeared to tell chillingly, may be coached by his lawyer,  that “it was the girl who was to blame for her rape and subsequent death. She should not have resisted the rape in the first place. If rapists get death penalty, in future rape victims would be killed.” 

Indian home minister and members of parliament expressed outrage at the video. According to parliament, it was a conspiracy to show India in a bad light. It was also argued that the director of the documentary had violated pre accepted conditions for shooting the film. Government got a stay order from the court and prevented broadcast of the film in India. However, BBC broadcaseted the documentary in England, US, Canada and may be also in Europe. Documentary, many believed, gave a forum to Mukesh Singh, a convicted rapist, to air his grievance. Documentary, some suggested, contained graphic details of how Nirbhaya was raped. BBC would very likely not broadcast a similar show in England, yet they did not extend the same sensitivity towards Indian audience, which included family members of the victim. Apparently, when threatened of legal action by royal family, BBC in the past did not air a program on royal family, yet they defied Indian court orders. This may show double standard of BBC. 

I did not watched the interview myself. Whatever little I have seen on TV, two points emerged. First, Mukesh Singh threw cold water on the face of people who argued that his death penalty should be commuted and the Mukesh be allowed to reform. At the time of interview, Mukesh showed neither remorse nor any proclivity towards reform. May be Mukesh will reform after long long time, may be in next 30 – 50 years, provided government wants to keep him in jail that long.

Second, at least to me, It appears ridiculous to stop telecast of the interview. If purists thought India looked bad because of BBC broadcasting interview of Mukesh Singh, I think, India looked bad they day Nirbhaya case came to light. India looked bad when it became clear that police were unaware when bus, in which Nirbhaya was being assaulted, was plying illegally right in front of their eyes. Now also, India looks bad every time a woman, a girl, a toddler is raped by men old enough to be their father, uncle, or grandfather. Statements made by Mukesh Singh, made him look terrible and made all viewers very uncomfortable and angry. Mukesh Singh depicted a medieval, barbaric and crude mindset.  In a way, Mukesh Singh showed a mirror to Indian men. I think mindset of people like Mukesh Singh is further bolstered by easy availability of pornographic material that commodifies  women. 

A concerted effort at changing male mindset may be the only way forward. I think government should come out of the mold of moral policing and get involved in actual governance.
Tags: BBC, Governmen of India, Men, Mindset, Mukesh Singh, Nirbhaya, Parliament, Rape, Rapist, Violence

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