Leslee Udwin is appealing to Narendra Modi not to ban her documentary about the gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh – but of course Modi is not the guy to undo that kind of ban. Modi is a Hindu nationalist, a right-wing patriot; of course he’s not going to listen to some liberal woman from the UK who is sullying India’s good name.
Shortly before her statement was released, the parliamentary affairs minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, declared: “We can ban the film in India. But this is an international conspiracy to defame India. We will see how the film can be stopped abroad too.”
Yeah good luck with that.
In her appeal on Wednesday, Udwin said: “India should be embracing this film – not blocking it with a kneejerk hysteria without even seeing it. This was an opportunity for India to continue to show the world how much has changed since this heinous crime. Sadly … the banning of the film will see India isolated in the eyes of the world. It’s a counterproductive move.”
For India as a whole, yes. For Modi’s party, maybe not so much.
India’s home minister, Rajnath Singh, told parliament that the government would ensure that “under no condition should this documentary be telecast … no one should show it on electronic media.”
The government would also block the dissemination of the film on any other platform, such as a web portal or on social media, he said.
Singh assured parliament that the Indian government was already exploring ways of stopping the worldwide broadcast. A notice had been sent to BBC4, which will show the film on Sunday in Britain, he said. “We will not allow anyone to leverage such unfortunate incidents [the 2012 Delhi rape] for commercial benefits,” he added.
A notice? What sort of notice? “We demand that you not show this documentary”? What does he mean they will not allow? They can’t not allow. They have no say in the matter.
It’s all just pandering to the constituents, no doubt, but it’s repellent all the same.
However, a BBC spokeswoman confirmed that India’s Daughter would be broadcast as planned. “This harrowing documentary, made with the full support and cooperation of the victim’s parents, provides a revealing insight into a horrific crime that sent shockwaves around the world and led to protests across India demanding changes in attitudes towards women,” she said.
“The film handles the issue responsibly and we are confident the programme fully complies with our editorial guidelines. The BBC will broadcast Storyville – India’s Daughter, in the UK on BBC4. The documentary has the backing of a number other public service broadcasters; however, the BBC is only responsible for transmission of the film in the UK.”
The film is also due to be broadcast in Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and Canada.
But not the US, it would appear. I suppose PBS is too squeamish, or maybe it spent the whole budget on Downton Fucking Abbey.
The controversy over India’s Daughter has demonstrated how deeply divided India is on how to deal with violence against women.
The film is facing both vociferous criticism and support inside and outside parliament. “We have to confront the issue that many men in India do not respect women,” said Anu Aga, an MP and one of the country’s few top female industrialists.
“What the man [Mukesh Singh] spoke reflects the views of many men in India. Why are we shying away from that? Let’s be aware of the view and not pretend all is well.”
It’s about ethics in private bus driving.
Sunita Krishnan, a campaigner against rape who, like Udwin, is a rape survivor, described India’s Daughter as “a mirror for introspection”.
“It’s a fact that rapist language has been heard from prominent leaders in the country also,” she said. “By exposing a criminal’s mindset you’re not glorifying a rapist. The film is a platform for collective condemnation of such mindsets.”
I’m guessing Modi and his friends don’t want a platform for collective condemnation of such mindsets. Just a hunch.