Thursday 5 March 2015

India's Daughter?

I know this is something different to what I usually post about but..
NB: The term “India” is used to represent the governance and legal system in India and not a generalisation of the population.

Many of you, particularly based in the UK, would have seen the harrowing documentary Storyville: India’s Daughters which aired on Wednesday night at 10pm on BBC4. The documentary tells the tale of Jyoti Singh – who was the victim of violent and abusive gang rape in South Dehli which later led to her hospitalisation and death. The angering interview with Mukesh Singh, the bus driver and one of the men facing the death penalty for the crime, highlighted the deep rooted patriarchal, sexist views that instilled into a lot of Indian culture – which needs to be changed; Whereas, conversations with Jyoti’s parents, who stated how important it was to them for their daughter to be educated and succeed, show this view cannot be generalised to paint a whole nation with the same stroke as the perpetrators and there is vast support from Indian citizens to see a change.

The Indian Government’s choice to ban the documentary from being broadcasted in India has sparked immense outrage. They state the ban is in place as the improper channels were taken to obtain footage and consent was not granted for interviews with prisoners. Yes I get that, but look at the bigger picture? 
This choice to ban it is something I really do not agree with and although condemning the programme has probably increased its appeal and media attention – What are India afraid of? The world coverage of the issue is, of course, raising awareness and breaking down the taboo of the subject  – yet again it is hidden the people who need to see the documentary the most? The people whose lives are represented, some of the people who can make a change? The Indian Government have indirectly presented the view that this is not something they wish to uncover and want to sweep it under the rug.

India’s Daughter? 
The somewhat powerful yet undermining title is something that doesn’t sit well with me. I add a (?) due to the fact the statement can be said with some sense of sarcasm and irony. Let’s think about it, so the title suggests Jyoti Singh was a female child of 'India'. Therefore, India must in fact be a parent. If this is so, what is the role of a parent? Personally, I believe a parent’s role is to protect you, to support you, to guide you through life and help you achieve your potential. Did India do this for Jyoti? Are there the right laws in line to which could have protected her that night from the horrendous crime that took place? OR have these laws been put into place now to protect India’s other “Daughters”? Is the government of India supporting her by banning the documentary from being shown? Was she helped to achieve her full potential, when the streets are not even safe for her to leave her home? Is she really India’s daughter? Because India is surely not matching up to my views of a parent.

I see the documentary has a positive means of spreading awareness across the globe about issues that happen so frequently in the “democracy” of India. I’m not saying the documentary will instantly change the attitudes of some people who hold these narrow-minded viewpoints regarding women, but let’s face it – it’s going to take a while (and more than a documentary) to shatter the attitudes that years of patriarchal views that have been embedding into Indian laws and culture. 

What I do think is important to take away from the programme is that it is time to put these views to bed. Education: parents educate your children – both sons and daughters – about the importance of gender equality and freedom. Laws: Make the laws reinforce the severity of violent and sexual abuse. Unity: Both men and women should stand together to show there is no room for sexism and abuse in any society.

Hopefully, over time this education will be passed down from generation to generation until we wipe out the old-fashioned sexist views and we will work towards a world where women do not have to live in fear.



  1. Hi! Great post! I also watched the documentary (based in UK) and was horrified and I completely agree with you that education is the key, and to educate is going to ensure change! Xxx

    Anisha ♥ All You Need Is Red Lipstick

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! - There is a role everyone can play which is to educate!

  2. I'm hoping in the future, people with our mindset will work to change how women are treated in India. Beautifully written xo

    Sharan |

    1. I agree! Hopefully over time the influence of old fashioned thinking will be wiped out! Thank you for reading xx


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