Poignant Open Letter to Indian Parliament Rep. - Do Not Censor This Protest Film

Earlier today I was reading about the Indian Parliament's decision to censor Leslee Udwin's documentary film India's Daughter (about the 2012 brutal rape and murder of 23 year old med student, Jyoti Singh - to be broadcast on Storyville on BBC Four on Sunday 8 March at 22:00 GMT), and I came across this poignant letter written by the friend of a friend on Facebook - and posted on my friend's page. She also took the time to go to her representative's Facebook page to post the letter as well. I have done that, and I encourage you to do that as well. And please spread this article around any way you can. The reality of this situation is horrific, but Kim's impulse is correct: as concerned citizens, we must say something. Please keep Jyoti Singh's spirit and voice echoing, and contribute to the idea that India "can indeed be shining."

Editor's Update (3/5/15 12:16 PM CST): Since publishing this letter last night, Arvind Sawant has contacted Kim directly to arrange a discussion, and has expressed a sincere willingness to further this dialogue and plant the seeds of change. Keep posting! Keep talking! 

 

LETTER TO ARVIND SAWANT, MP, SOUTH MUMBAI

Dear Arvind-ji,

I hope this finds you well and in good health and spirit. Its been a few months since we met, and I hope your new position is fulfilling and allowing you to do the things you had planned to do for us in Mumbai.

I am writing to you because, to be honest, I feel like i must reach out to someone, to anyone, who has the power to do something, or say something, about the absolutely despicable way Mukesh Singh has portrayed himself and our country to the International media. As you know, Mukesh Singh is one of the convicts in the infamous Nirbhaya case, and he has suggested his victim would not have been killed if she had not fought back against her attackers. He said, “A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy … A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night … Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes.”

The views he has voiced convey an underlying hatred the men in this country seem to have for women. What is even more atrocious, is the performance of his lawyer, who has said “If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight”. Mukesh was a bus driver, but his lawyer is educated and in a position where he is responsible for fighting for justice, not spouting his personal, archaic, horrific views.

Now I believe the government has banned the broadcast of these interviews, which are part of a documentary, India’s Daughter, made by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin, herself a victim, who has said, “My integrity and my objective in making this film is totally honest. I myself have been raped. There is no shame for me; the shame is for the rapists. The film tries to show the disease is not the rapists, the disease is in society.”

As a woman, and as a believer that India can indeed be ‘shining’, I find this appalling display of blatant censorship relating to current, crucial issues, is certainly not reflective of the image we are portraying both globally as well as on home ground, and I feel Mukesh’s lawyers should be prosecuted for inciting hatred and violence in the manner that they have.

I implore you Arvind-ji, to please use the voice you have been given, to oppose this ban, and to condemn the lawyers who have spoken out so shamefully. Why are we trying to hide this film from the nation? The film will be viewed globally anyway - and will shed immense darkness on any hope we have to be able to stand with other leading nations. It will also be available on the internet - surely the powers that be realise that nothing can be kept hidden in todays day. Your own Aditya Thackeray has himself been active in pushing for all night bars and restaurants - surely the Sena doesn’t believe that these establishments will only be frequented by men post 8pm?

I am not sure whether this letter will have any effect, and to be honest, I am not even sure what your personal views are on this subject, but i feel it is imperative that when one feels strongly about something, one should try and make an effort to be heard.

With Warm Personal Regards,

Kim

 

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