Why giving airtime to a rapist doesn’t wash

Why giving airtime to a rapist doesn’t wash Yet another year and yet another women’s day is drawing close. The world celebrates International Womens’ Day on March 8 every year, celebrating the guts, courage and determination of some women who walked for equal wages in 1908. During the following years, Women’s Day has been observed albeit in the same spirit and, unfortunately, crying out the same theme. Years later, issues pertaining to women such as their safety, and right to a life of equality and dignity are still some sort of a mirage.

Ancient countries like India celebrate Women’s day too. Despite the fact that woman holds a special place in ancient scriptures and texts. India sure worships its women, but sadly, that only applies to goddesses and dead ones. How else would you justify crimes against women rising along with economic prowess of this third world nation that is touted to be the superpower and a vibrant economy of tomorrow?

Just the other day, Internet broke on the issue of ‘white-and-gold’ or ‘blue-and-black’ dress with celebrities joining in the race to tweet what they thought the colour of the dress was. A non-issue that was probably a way to kill time for someone who knew nothing better actually had people peering into their computers or devices with access to internet giving out their two penny in reply. That was then.

Today, the hot issue that sees the world being divided is the case of documentary ‘India’s daughter’ by Leslee Udwin. Should it be aired in India ever? BBC advanced the time of the show and the world watched it. But, it was banned in India by the government because it showcases the misogynist opinion of one of the rapists of December 2012 currently lodged in Tihar Jail, awaiting his death sentence be commuted.

Indian government is also mulling over initiating legal action against BBC and Udwin for the documentary that has ‘sullied’ the country’s image just when India is said to be in a ‘sweet spot’ with massive economic progress predicted.


The documentary by Udwin has Mukesh Singh, one of the six convicted rapists, saying the victim shouldn’t have fought back and that getting raped was something she sort of ‘invited’ herself. Her fault: She was out at 9 pm in the city when she should have been home. She was with a friend and they both raised an alarm and fought back the perpetrators when she was being raped in a moving bus and later thrown out to die. The physiotherapy student died later of grievous injuries, but woke up an entire nation which was chilled to the bone.

Mukesh Singh who was a non-entity till now, even the most hated person for the ghastly crime he committed along with his partners, has suddenly become the voice of some dark corner of the nation. Just when India thought with his death sentence, the justice was going to be done; he popped out like a skeleton from the closet.

But, what’s with giving him a prime airtime and showing his face on television and allowing him the privilege to speak like a celebrity? This, for sure, amounts to abuse of technology and access that was provided to the filmmaker.

No matter how much we would want to cry hoarse on the ‘democracy’ aspect, Mukesh Singh becoming the collective voice of perpetrators just doesn’t wash.

Why this special consideration towards him? Because we would want to understand the dichotomy that exists world over pertaining to women? Oh, thank you very much. But, tell us something different from what we already know.

Allowing a prime airtime to a criminal makes the entire thing look like he is presenting his case. And, what reasoning on earth do we have to justify this act? This way, we must be showcasing every serial killer, every school shooter, every murderer, every man who has claimed a victim in road rage, every rapist and dacoit should be given the ‘space’ to understand what’s working in their tiny heads.

It is not even about freedom of expression. It is about protecting the dignity of the dead. It is about the memory of a young woman who got an entire nation down on its knees despite her last days when she remained without her intestine, and gradually sunk into nothingness of death.
The man, who was among the responsible, today sits in his jail cell all hale and hearty speaking about the ‘mindset’ that he has. And there is a section that wants the documentary aired to understand the layers of it. Now, please! What else did we expect from an almost-illiterate rapist? That he would learn to respect women while walking to the gallows? Leslee Udwin should have known better, much better than what she has put together.