Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On the Subject of Rape in India; the Entertainment Media Is to Blame

Rape is again in the news. No, sorry, it has always been in the news in India. Everyday I open the paper to read about a father raping his three-year-old daughter, many men gangraping a minor, an innocent girl raped by her own uncle. It's downright sickening.

Now, enough, prattle, watch this video. It shows a journalist reporting on the rape of a medical student in a moving bus at 9 p.m. in the capital Delhi. The incident happened yesterday. The student and her boyfriend were returning home after watching a movie and they needed a lift to their homes. As so happens in the capital there are a number of private bus operators who run mini-buses offering rides cheap and the girl and her escort must have been tempted to step into the bus that halted in front of her. She must have done it a hundred times before without incident, moreover, her boyfriend was with her.

Four men inside the bus beat up the boyfriend and gangraped the girl, who passed out. Still the rape continued; the bus continued to circle the roads of the capital. They were abandoned after they were stripped. The girl is battling for her life in a hospital's intensive care unit. As for the boy, he must be traumatised beyond words.

About the video. Hm. As the journalist was reporting about the incident where it happened, a car stopped and its three inhabitants, all men, started teasing her. They didn't spare a journalist reporting on a crime! Unluckily for them, they were caught on camera. What have we come to, if we have come to anything at all?

Now, I always blame the entertainment media for spoiling the youth of the country. I have been told to shut up on this, which I do fairly easily. The objectification of women in the entertainment media is responsible and I can't absolve them of responsibility. Every time I watch television I cringe at the sexual thrusting of the "item girl" so suggestive, so come hither. The message sent out is "women are available, you just need to ask them, tease them."

Everybody knows this is what is wrong, but all of them shy away from pointing a finger. Because films are made by rich producers and rich stars. Even the item girls are paid two crores to do their pelvis thrusting. And our newspapers, upholders of morality, glorify these same stars who spoil the moral values of Indian youth. Two leading newspapers of India have nothing but semi-naked wannabe item girls on their pages, day in and day out. They don't even have a small space for a writer, poet, artist, or, struggling musician. All you see is short dresses, thighs and plunging necklines. What can they do when our Bollywood is like that only? Yeah, they can do a lot, for instance, why don't they write about it? Why don't they come out and say it's downright wrong and is leading the youth astray? I mean Bombay Times. It used to be an intellectual-cultural news supplement when Bachi Karkaria edited it. No longer. HT's Time Out is equally depraved. Every newspaper in the country today has a supplement that deals with flesh and sleaze. What right do they have to condemn a rape instigated by their own editorial policies? Yeah, I ask, what? 

I used to be in the thick of this money for editorial business, but I saw no reason to continue in it. I quit. I was a marketing something, something. I forget what. When these money for editorial guys would drop in on me I would ask them what the going rate was and I was astounded. They jack up the prices every now and then. They even have a rate card! And they measure out editorial coverage in square centimetres. They even have an annual contract with discounts thrown in and a guarantee to make you a page three celebrity. The last one is my invention of course.

Our youth have become spoilt and depraved. I have eavesdropped into their conversation and find they call each other "laudey" meaning penis. They don't call each other by their names or just a yaar. I have surreptitiously peeked into their SMSes and find that a a youth's girlfriend calls him "kameeney, kuttey," a very Bollywood invention. Where's their sense of respect? No wonder youth who use such language will naturally think of raping and throwing acid when their demands are not met. Need I say more?

(Disclaimer: The author has written the above in a haze of chagrin combined with outrage combined with helplessness. The contents may be taken in that spirit.)

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

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