Saturday, April 11, 2015

Don’t judge a nation by the actions of a few!

Recently a German professor alluded to rape problem in India as a reason not to offer internship to an Indian student at a German University. She is not companion-less in stereotyping an entire nation or a race; there are many people across the globe tend to frame images based on one or few things they watch or read and become judgmental.

I am not refuting that there is a serious issue of violence against women in India, oh yes there is, similar to serious issues of paedophilia and racism in the western world. Is women’s safety worse in India than the west? Most definitely it is! Can we blame Indian upbringing for this problem? In some cases may be but not in all. Can we call all Indian men misogynist rapists? Hell no! Just like we can’t name all priests as paedophiles or Germans as Nazis.

While it’s wrong to have prejudices, it’s a monstrous human rights violation to act based on those and harm innocent lives. I understand we all have our prejudices and these prejudices tend to affect our decisions and actions but we must do everything in our abilities not to let them hurt righteous minds. In my opinion, ignorant people are more prejudicial than others. It is not because ignorant people are bad people, that’s again stereotyping, but it is because they have limited knowledge about others and make opinions based on those. Partly media and unwillingness to learn yet judgmental people need to be blamed for stereotyping. If there were fair and balanced reporting on all aspects of all societies we would not be living in this divisive world.

Recently BBC has aired a documentary titled India’s daughter. In that documentary, one of the rapist accused that molested victim was responsible for the heinous attack he committed. And then it goes on to document about Indian men’s attitude towards women. I am not refuting any aspects of what was presented in the documentary and I think it is decent piece of reporting. For some obscure reasons Indian government wants to ban the documentary. I do not support any kind of banning however controversial may be the issue. Freedom of expression is absolutely vital for a vibrant society and in no way one’s views must be curtailed because those views may hurt some peoples’ sentiments. Having said that, there must be balance in every reporting; and it essentially becomes the responsibility of the media. When English Defense League organizes match against immigrants in the UK, government allows another protest march from liberals supporting legal immigration. In the same way western media should give equal time on how men in India are fighting for the rights of women, how they struggle to get help for women in patriarchal India and report about Indian women presidents, chief ministers and CEOs. I understand it would not be necessary had western media not been portraying India just as a land of hungry children, yoga, snake charmers, and elephants and as a rapist capital of the world.

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