International Women's Day: Celebrating the courage of India's daughters

Florine Roche

Mar 8: It is an irony that the much talked about controversial documentary “India’s daughter” was scheduled to be broadcast to coincide with International Women’s Day celebrated on March 8, every year the world over. Amidst the acrimonious war of words between those who support its ban by the government and those who oppose it the BBC brought forward and relayed the documentary on 4th March 2015 to the British audience. The channel claimed that three hundred thousand people watched the UK broadcast and it received 32 complaints with only four supporting it.

On hindsight, I believe we to have to accept the documentary film maker’s contention that it was her effort to create global campaign against rape in the backdrop of India fighting gender inequality citing Nirbhaya’s case as an example. However, the shocking aspect of this sordid episode which has now come to light is that this convicted rapist was allegedly paid Rs. 40,000 for eliciting information, which takes away much of the sheen of Leslie Udwin’s bona fide intentions.

The way the people reacted to the brutal rape assault on Nirbhaya was indeed extraordinary and commendable, no doubt. It was an incident not to be treated cavalierly by any right thinking individual because it stirred our collective consciousness and we responded with a sense of responsibility. It became a movement in our fight against gender inequality that has come to be accepted as a normal occurrence and we expected a slow change in our mindset.

Let us now come out of above thought process and see whether there has been a change in our thinking, behaviour or attitude towards women, their position in the society or to rape victims per se. All of us need to ask this question because Nirbhaya’s rape incident stirred our emotions, conscious, empathy and made us sit up and take notice of how brutal or savagery men can be and how antediluvian their mind sight is towards women. But our emotions fell short of a similar kind of reaction or movement if not more, when other brutal rape incidents came to the fore since the Nirbhaya incident. Has anything changed since December 2012?

The most recent one is the cruel and dreadful rape of a mentally challenged woman in Haryana by eight men on February 6, 2015. The post mortem results found that she was gang raped, tortured, mutilated, murdered. Doctors found her sexual parts stuffed with 16 cm long stick, stones and condoms. Her anus was filled with stones and doctors said it was brutal than the Nirbhaya rape case. No doubt rape is a rape but the degree of brutality inflicted on a rape victim clearly shows that there are men with a sadistic rotten mindset, which is nothing but an incurable disease. Despite the brutality that was widely reported in the media, we the people who were so moved, angered, agitated by the Nirbhaya episode, were apathetic to the Haryana incident as if it was something that has to be accepted as a normal occurrence. Soon the incident has gone out of our minds. Why this indifference within a matter of two years when we should have been even more loud and enthusiastic in our actions and efforts?

In fact our movement or agitation against such sick mindset (we have no right to call them beasts because that would be an insult to the animals) should have widened its frame. Our fight should have been against the systematic rape culture prevalent in our society and the denial of the basic rights and self respect to women. Our fight should have been vociferous against people like the defence lawyers of the convicts of Nirbhaya rapists and many others like them who may look may look like normal well groomed individuals but harbour only malice and a misogynist attitude.

These ‘educated’ lawyers and others like them are a disgrace to our society and our fight should have been against a medieval, barbaric crude and insensate mindset of men. This mindset in fact is equally or even much more dangerous than the actual rape itself. Our efforts should have been directed to douse with petrol this very attitude of male chauvinism rampant in our society. We needed to focus our attention on these misplaced priorities rather than crying hoarse about what Mukesh Singh has said. Because there are so many Mukesh Singhs in our country who harbour equally savagery thoughts similar to the ones expressed by him which have achieved normalcy. Frankly speaking I am not sure what we really need to do to bring about this attitudinal change we are talking about.

We only hope the juvenile who will get away from jail in a few months after completing his 3 year sentence will be ‘reformed’ completely repenting his acts of brutality and become a normal citizen to lead an average life. Let us pray the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 that has reduced the age of juvenile from 18 to 16 will soon become a law so that we don’t allow juvenile criminals get away with gruesome acts of violence.

Every year we celebrate International women’s day with great fanfare. What do we have to celebrate on International Women’s Day except highlighting the courage of women who have exhibited extraordinary audacity to fight against powerful men like Tejpal, A K Ganguly and Pachuri to name a few – men who were held in high esteem until their mindset and acts of sexual offences were exposed. We need to salute and celebrate the fortitude shown by these daughters of India. There might be many more wolf in sheep’s clothing occupying high positions and enjoying name and fame and we need many more daring women to expose their ‘shame’. Nirbhaya incident was only the beginning. We need to continue our efforts with the same fervour to bring even an iota of change.


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Comment on this article

  • ad, mangaluru

    Mon, Mar 09 2015

    what happened to the husbands, fathers and brothers of all women?

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Eulalia Dsouza, Bijai / Mangalore

    Mon, Mar 09 2015

    Lovely article Florine. Contents are apt for today's society and bitter fact of life for us. I am surprised to read few comments who talk about Women dressing, ask for Respect, fight for equality. It hurts when men still think that we have no right to live with dignity. Which one of the men here can tell me that you are not born to your mother, who is a Woman? A man may choose not to have any woman attached to his life. right. But your mother is the 01st Woman in your life. How can you even forget that.
    We wear clothes what we wish to, does that mean you judge us by the way we dress up? Come on guys grow up in your thinking. It is not every woman who dresses up so indecently. It gives you no right to lay your hands on her. She is not an object or a subject for you, she is a LADY in society and you aught to respect her.
    What pleasure is it for men to lay hands on minors who are 03 years/ 05 years / 07 years old..!! Were they dressed up badly ??
    Change your thinking men, please change your mindset. !!

    DisAgree [2] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • VR, Udupi

    Sun, Mar 08 2015

    Well written. What BBC could have done was highlighting the deficiencies of lethargic Indian justice and law enforcement system instead of glorifying the heinous act of criminals. More than reducing the age limit, police needs to be given free hand in investigating and apprehending the criminals and of course, special courts should be set up to speedy disposal of cases. They can create special cells headed by women IPS officers to deal with these kinds of crimes. And, India need to have a moral education class (not necessarily focusing on religion) at least one year during high school throughout India. NGOs and Government agencies should also launch awareness campaign to educate and empower women so that they can stand-up to their rights without fear.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alban D Souza, Udyavara/Bajjodi/Mumbai/Doha Qatar

    Sun, Mar 08 2015

    Wish all the best to women on International Woman's Day. Mother is the foundation for a child's future life to bring peace, happiness and love and unity in the family. Woman is the joy to the family,There are real women by example. Wah! There is Mother Theresa, Iron Lady Indira Gandhi, Iron lady Margaret Thacher,Great singer Lata Mangshkar, Asha Bosle, Beauty Queen Iswarya Rai, Space Lady Williams, and so on to name a few. They brought laurels to their respective countries.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse


    Sun, Mar 08 2015

    nothing wrong in having tea with a friend or brother. I always feel brotherly with a male whatever be his religion. We the older generation, had the privilege of mixing, partying, eating together with both genders and all religions. Feel sorry for the present generation that has been taught religious discrimination and hatred for the opp religion. POOR INDIA in this regard,though forward in educational field. What is the use if our children grow with unsound mind with hatred for companions of opp religions. God save our children.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Cyril, Managlore

    Sun, Mar 08 2015

    In one hand we are speaking womens day and the other we do not allow them to enjoy of their choice.

    What a stupidity.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • pete, Brahmavar

    Sun, Mar 08 2015

    Women are more respected and honored and protected by men as well as society few decades ago. Crimes against men increased after starting women's day there are many to name.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roshan Braganza, Mumbai

    Sun, Mar 08 2015

    The Irony of of Womens day is that , we stopped giving more emphasis for real woman , that starts from mother , sister , wife , daughter or friend. What media does is , it sensualises and glamourises brutal assaults to gain TRPs. It only shows feminist ideologies , celebrity endorsements ( like that bizzare matrimonial advt from bangalore).

    Media should put forward such women who sacrificed and contributed to society on macro base , which covers empowerment and issues of men too. Like for eg , Due to Anti men and biased laws of india , lot of innocent men committed by society , their aged mother , sisters and daughter also suffered.

    Also women should stop begging with 'RESPECT WOMAN' tags and that equality has to be earned. Any reservations be it caste or gender based be stopped and MERIT should be the parameter. Equality also means a well earning wife also have to pay her husband the allowance upon marital dispute.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse


    Sun, Mar 08 2015


    DisAgree [2] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • JD, middle east

    Sun, Mar 08 2015

    Thought for the day!
    Women, do you dress to feel good yourself, or to project yourself.
    Dress is to cover/protect the body - that is what men & children do, what do women do it for?
    If you are dressing to project yourself - are you not declaring that you are an object?
    Do women know to love, respect themselves by not becoming objects for others?

    Fashion industry is dominated by men, they are designing manufacturing things of their pleasure and women are donning it for them?

    DisAgree [7] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rita, Germany

    Mon, Mar 09 2015

    @JD muscat,I am quite surprised by your comments .do you mean that men rape women only because of their Dress?when children are raped do they too ?Think first.A educated man doesnt think of rape a child or woman,however they Dress.should one go around like a jombi?A well dressed Person can represent her home,her interests,or even her Company where she works.not as you wrote.dont go out of the way when comments.why men attack even Boys and assault,rape because they too Dress awkword?today I heard about women from maharashtra,delhi in men treat them as Dalit woman and social worker (Man)I know how men treat wives at home .do men respect woman at home.woman should not call her husband by Name but man can thrash her ,do everything .wehe she does to him!

    DisAgree [4] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ramakrishna A K , Mangalore

    Sun, Mar 08 2015

    We are celebrating Women's Day while in Melkar two girls are humiliated publicly by people and police just for drinking Tea with a boy of different community.
    Celebration of women's day is totally meaningless as long as Moral Policing continues in DK with the help of Khaki Police itself.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • vivek, herebile / abudhabi

    Sun, Mar 08 2015

    i wish "HAPPY WOMEN'S DAY"..for all Daijiworld women readers...

    DisAgree Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • richard monis, shakthinagar

    Sun, Mar 08 2015


    DisAgree [2] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

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