“It starts with me!” Mindset change lies in the hands of very son and daughter of India.
Don’t watch the documentary if you have NOT watched the trailers and sensational teasers featuring the driver, the brother of one of the main accused. But if you have watched those teasers or read the media reports quoting Mukesh Singh’s outrageous responses, you must go ahead and watch the whole documentary. Else you will be liable to be tarred with the same brush as Leslie Udwin, who has put limited excerpts of an interview and sensationalized it and undermined its effectiveness. Disjointed answers to unheard questions leave a vast scope for totally out of context manipulation based on individual mindsets.
Banning the documentary is not an answer in this age of social media. That led to this unwarranted publicity. Nor is the knee-jerk response that India’s sons have warts, but America’s sons have more and Britain’s sons have the most – so there!
It’s not a game of one-upmanship. Covering up the mirror doesn’t make the warts go away. We should address this head on and resiliently strive to correct the mindset.
“It starts with me!” That was the mindset of the thousands of youth who braved tear gas, lathi charges, water-hoses, lock-ups and relentlessly continued their vigil and protests at India Gate in New Delhi. A valiant self-led selfless army of citizens who forced the Government to recalculate its stance. This documentary gives us a second chance to ensure that those protests were not in vain and lead to substantial changes in the law at the constitutional level and the setting up of a strong rape response system at the police and judicial level.
India is a nation that non-violently moved the colonial rulers from the sun-never-sets-on-the British Empire back to their (at times) sunshine-less island. It is the land of Buddha. Maybe each of our granddaughters will be able one day, to write about India as the country she feels the safest in? If a billion minds determine that “the change starts with me”.
But the best piece of reflection after reading the countless articles and responses in the social media today is this: The complaint of those who don’t want this documentary aired is that with as many, if not more, cases in the West why target India. Maybe the West which has become apathetic towards these daily horrors looks to India as the country that can still act as a catalyst for change? Amongst the vastly spread Indian diaspora isn’t this airing of views and outrage a sign that the Indian society has not gone numb to the issue of rape unlike the West.
Now that the documentary is made and aired there is no going back. However a few questions do beg an answer.
If this was Tony Smith a white British male awaiting capital punishment in England, would NDTV be allowed to interview him for 16 hours and air a documentary discussing aspects of his case while his appeal was pending?
Why is the Government of India taking swifter action against a documentary affecting tourist arrival numbers than in making sure no tourist gets raped on Indian soil?
If a crime shocks the conscience of society as a whole, it merits speedy justice, but if a similar crime doesn’t get the same coverage it can be judged differently?
And lastly don’t you think it’s time India instituted caning -like in Singapore – as a strong deterrent for Juvenile rapists, who just because of a number get away with a short jail term for a horrendous crime?