ABOUT #BBC & #IndiasDaughter

There is no doubt that the Nyrbhaya rape was horrendous. No doubt either, that specially in the North, men have often a huge sexual frustration.

But it’s strange, I am lived for nearly forty years in India and I have traveled the length and breadth of this country, like very few western correspondents have. I am even in close touch with villages of Tamil Nadu, populated only with OBC’s and Untouchables. And my experience has been totally – but TOTALLY – different. Yes, there are abuses on women in India, there may be some villages in UP or in some remote tribal belts, where female feticide is practiced (nobody dares say openly that it is mostly by Muslims who want boys); yes, women in India work so hard, toiling in the fields, looking after their children, cooking, cleaning, getting up before dawn and sleeping late; yes, men in India tend to drink a lot and sometimes abuse their wives. BUT I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANY OTHER COUNTRY WHERE WOMEN PLAY SUCH AN IMPORTANT ROLE, WHERE THEY SO WORSHIPPED, REVERED, PRIZED UPON.

The Western media is always keen to do stories on female infanticides, child marriages, or sati cases in Rajasthan. But who knows that no nation in the world has granted such an important place to women in its spirituality and social ethos? “Without Him I exist not, without Her I am unmanifest”, says Sri Aurobindo. Thus in India – and it is true that it is often a paradox, as, because of Muslim invasions, women and even girls who were raped by the millions, had to be hidden – and hence frustration of men grew – were for a time relegated to the background . Yet, the feminine concept as a symbol of dynamic realization, never died: “She is the eternal Mother, who is all Wisdom, all Compassion, all Force, Beauty and Perfection”. It is in this way that since the dawn of times, Hindus have venerated the feminine element under its different manifestations: Makalaxmi, Mahakali, Mahasaraswati, Maheshwari – and even India is feminine: ‘Mother India’. “She is the consciousness transcending all things, she is the emptiness beyond all emptiness, the smile beyond all smiles, the divine beauty beyond all earthly beauties”.

India has had many great female figures, whether warriors such as the Rani of Jhansi, or saints like Amrita Anandamayi (who by the way comes from the lowest caste possible and is worshipped by millions of upper castes Indians – so much for the caste divide, another favorite whipping horse of India’s enemies). Today, behind all appearances – arranged marriages, submission to men, preference of male children in some rural areas (but girls are loved in India like nowhere in the world) , rapes- the role of women in India is essential and it can be safely said that very often, from the poorest to the richest classes, they control –even if behind the scenes – a lot of the family affairs: the education of their children (men in India are often “mama’s boys”), monetary concerns, and men often refer to them for important decisions.

Westerners love to preach India on Human Rights. But countries such as France or the United States, never had a woman as their top leader, whereas India had Indira Gandhi ruling with an iron hand for nearly twenty years; and Sonia Gandhi, a Christian, a Westerner, and just an ordinary MP, reigned for ten years on India like an Empress ! The reverse would be absolutely impossible in the West, where there are proportionately less MP’s than India, which is considering earmarking 33% of seats in Parliament for women, a revolution in human history! This shakti concept is so rooted in the subcontinent, that you have had women Prime Ministers, such as Benazir Bhutto or Kaleda Zia, and now Sheikh Hasina, in Islamic countries (Pakistan and Bangladesh) which are predominantly male-controlled in a much stricter way than India.

India is a vast, complex, often contradictory country, peopled with different races, religions, ethnies… It is normal that there are problems. Rape is a crime and should be punished by death. But women have played and are still playing such an important role in this country, the Shakti concept is such a unique, vibrant, respectful and holy concept, that all Indians, including Indian Christians and Indian Muslims, whose women have somehow benefited from that concept, which seeped into their religion unobtrusively, should be proud of it. Long Live the Indian Woman and her astonishing Grace.

Finally what should be said about the film India’s Daughters, is that it was made by someone who has Pakistani blood – and hence animosity towards India. Secondly, that the BBC should not preach to anybody: some of its stars, such as Jimmy Saville (now dead) were confirmed pedophiles on prepubescent boys and girls. BBC still has a colonial hangover too and thinks it can lecture India. Finally, if you look at rape statistics, there are proportionately, many more rapes in the USA, Denmark and many other western countries than India.
François Gautier

13 responses to “ABOUT #BBC & #IndiasDaughter

  1. Having been a great admirer of your thoughts and writings, I am very disappointed with this piece full of cliched platitudes. What difference does this make–> “if you look at rape statistics, there are proportionately, many more rapes in the USA, Denmark and many other western countries than India”..Will you tell the Nirbhayas of India that hey, yes, something horrible has happened to you, but you know what, the same is happening in the US, Denmark..etc! In any case, if you want to compare stats, how about comparing female infanticide, dowry deaths, honor killings, male:female ratios et al. Just because the documentary India’s Daughter has been made by a foreigner, even an India hating one, as you claim, does it mean it does not expose the truth that exists..the deep patriarchism & misogyny.. apart from the rapist himself, whom one can at least excuse because of the abject poverty and deprivation that he comes from, how about what the lawyers have said? Besides, the documentary does not paint a bleak black picture over all..it also showed Nirbhaya’s mother and father, ppl of modest economic means, who sold their land to educate their girl child, going against the norms of our society; it also showed young India, the girls and boys, who came out in solidarity to protest against what happened to Nirbhaya and the misogyny that they know exists, which you, Mr Gautier seem oblivious of. It showed strong women like retd Judge Leela Samson.. And Mr Gautier, if you really want to know the misogyny that women experience every day, dress up as a woman and use our crowded public transport and streets. You will realise how un-Goddess-like women are treated.

  2. @Ritaputatunda
    Stupid, irrational ‘shoot from the hip’ response.
    When world media highlight Indian shame with jaundice biased mindset, statistics does matter & very much relevant.
    Proud, sensible, upright Indian should protest and expose the false fallacy of western superior moral high ground.
    India tormented, soul searching with N rape, does not need BBC or any foreign media to remind or humiliate India. India’s problem will be dealt by Indians & Indian govt.
    If L.Udwin was looking for rape stories, her homeland UK with 56 million, has treasure troves, don’t need India.
    Has she made any film on:
    * British paedophiles?
    * Yorkshire Ripper?
    * Child molesting
    * Young boys raped by Priest?
    Her target is un-civilised India, not so called civilized UK .
    She is not interested to highlight the women’s rights/issues, wants to malign India and earn fame, and may be an award in the future.
    She made a convicted rapist hero with Bollywood treatment. broke terms and condition of the Tihar Jail. She would be denied the same right in the UK
    Who the fuuck she is to sermon India about morality and woman honour?
    Is India not capable? Are we a banana republic? She must be sued, can not dictate India with her superiority complex stance
    Not all Indians are gullible like you to be brainwashed by a reactionary pretentious bleeding heart.
    Broaden your outlook, horizon before expressing ignorance in the public domain
    Well done Shri F.Gautier- a proud son of Mother India.

  3. I would like to appreciate ,acknowledge and accept the reality of Indian women as expressed in true spirit by Shri F.Gautier with Thanks.

  4. I think everybody is over-panicking on the documentary issue and the debate is going in wrong direction. Although I agree that BBC has no business in teaching us what is correct and what is not, we already know it.

    But, I would have appreciated such documentary from Indian news channel rather easily, let’s solve our problems internally. I will be happy to see counter answer to this documentary with another documentary produced by any recognized Indian news channel. (I am damn sure, we will exploit social media up to maximum extent for spreading the words, as we always do now a days!!!)

    We need intellectual honesty to solve such problems. Issues should be brought up in front of the society without any dogmatic thoughts and without purpose of showing others down. Every side of coin should be understood. This is golden opportunity for us to think about permanent solution to this problem. So folks, don’t just debate and blame each others. Come up with some nice solutions.

    Education is one solution which was mentioned in the documentary by the old lady (i don’t remember the name). But I don’t think it’s sufficient. There are many educated men who have committed rape crime. There is hardly any element of ethics/morality in the education which we formally get in schools and colleges. There are many incidences of abuse, molestation in schools and colleges itself. Hence, “so called education” is not the solution.

    We need to modify our education system for sure. I am not capable to comment how to do it. But one day, I may be! Until that time comes, you all wise folks are welcome to pitch in!

  5. Entire world and the global health organizations, did not believe that we (the Indians) have eradicated polio from the country permanently and completely. IF WE CAN REMOVE POLIO FROM OUR COUNTRY, THEN WHY NOT RAPE! Let’s make it happen! I am sure, we can do it. And that will be a slap on face of BBC.

  6. Was it mere coincidence that BBC was present during Indira Gandhi’s murder?

  7. These are some cullings from books i have read.
    Report of Megasthenes (4th century before Jesus) : “Megasthenes noted the absence of slavery in India, the chastity of woman, and the courage of the men. They required no locks to their doors. ABOVE ALL NO INDIAN WAS EVER KNOWN TO TELL A LIE. Sober and industrious, good farmers and skillful artisans, they scarcely ever had recourse to lawsuit and lived PEACABLY under their native chiefs … Megasthenes mentions that India was divided into 118 kingdoms” (W.W. Hunter, The Indian Empire, p.217)
    “A high caste male should emulate the praiseworthy conduct of a woman or a person of low caste. “Women should study the Vedic texts.” “That spiritual knowledge which nervous men take a year to acquire confident women acquire in twelve days.”
    A French Padre Abbe J.A. Dubois in his book Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies says: “I have never yet heard of a divorce being permitted because of incompatibility of temper nor have I ever heard of a man being allowed to put away his wife, however vicious she might be, simply in order to marry another woman. … A Hindu, and especially a Brahmin, would hardly be inclined to repudiate his wife even for adultery, unless her guilt were very notorious”. Abbe continues
    “A Hindu woman can go anywhere alone, even in the most crowded places, and she need never fear the impertinent looks and jokes of idle loungers. This appears to me to be really remarkable … A house inhabited solely by woman is a sanctuary which the most shameless libertine would not dream of violating. When travelling the men walk in front and the women follow some distance behind. … If they come to a river which has to be forded the women tuck up their clothes above the hip, and in this naked state they approach near enough to their travelling companions to permit of the latter stretching out a helping hand behind them to withstand the force of the current; but never would you see any one under these circumstances commit an indiscretion like that which caused Orpheus to lose his Eurydice. I have often spent the night in one of the common rest-houses, where the men and women lodging there were lying all huddled together anyhow and almost side by side; but I have never known or heard of any one disturbing the tranquility of the night by indecent act or word. Again he says
    Whatever may be said to the contrary, Hindu women are naturally chaste. I would even go so far as to say that Hindu women are more virtuous than the women of many other civilized countries. … whoever studies their character and conduct … will be constrained to render the same tribute to their chastity.
    Woman power in the North-East of India. A significant factor is the matriarchal law of inheritance which prevails in most of the tribal areas. The custody of property and family lineage is passed on through the female line, from mother to the youngest daughter.
    A quote is a quote and take it easy.
    Take care
    Vinodh Kumar

  8. Francois – you mentioned in the blog the producers of the film presumably Leslie Udwin had Pakistani ancestry – could you elaborate or send a link for the info – Her father was supposedly Israeli but there is no mention of her mother?

  9. With due respect to one and all…the very intent of Making a Documentary on this subject under the pretext of Educating…smacks of hypocrisy; whether by an Indian or a Foreigner is a matter of least importance. In short, Gautier is spot on as far as this documentary is concerned. K R Vaishampayan

  10. I absolutely agree With Mr.Gautier. india Is In A Sorry State Today. A Merciless ruler Can Change India.. That Will Sooner Or Some Time Later Is Going To Happen. Thanks Once Again for Your Sensible And Clear Understanding. I Know Well That Indian And That To The Hindus R Its Biggest Enemy… Others Add Butter/ghee To It.. for Fulfilling There Vested interest & That Is For Power, money, women And Status…

  11. @Vinodh Kumar, yeah yeah! The most chaste in the world 🙂 Please read this http://www.ndtv.com/diaspora/indian-american-woman-jailed-for-30-years-for-death-of-child-751150 . Go through the red light districts of mumbai and take a survey of how many are hindus 🙂 ! Uh oh! They are not true hindu women right? Deepika Padukone is not hindu? Well I consider Deepika a chaste woman though , I mean seriously though you might not. That is where we differ. You are so judgmental whereas I am not

  12. @Francois Gauthier : You might want to put some perspective in your writings. I can understand why you want to praise India so much. But please dont put down other civilizations. They also have chaste women, beautiful aspects of their culture.

    For eg. You wrote
    India has had many great female figures, whether warriors such as the Rani of Jhansi, or saints like Amrita Anandamayi (who by the way comes from the lowest caste possible and is worshipped by millions of upper castes Indians – so much for the caste divide, another favorite whipping horse of India’s enemies).

    Wasn’t Joan of Arc a french woman and a fighter regarded as a saint? How about the multitude of women in Europe that is regarded and worshiped as saints by the Catholic church? St Teresa of Avila, St Clare , St Brigid etc?

    Do they practice female foeticide in Britain or France? May be in Spain or Portugal or Germany? May be in Ukraine or Greece . Why don’t we give credit to where it is due. The western society regards their women so much highly than in Indian society. Even Indian women living in the west can go anywhere in the night at any time freely without being raped.

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