HYDERABAD: The brutal Delhi rape of 23-year old physiotherapy intern Nirbhaya by six men on a moving bus, is an incident that will remain in our memory for a long time.
She will be remembered for her fight to survive, for triggering angst among all sections of people, for speeding up the formulation of laws against rape and to have planted a seed for attitudinal change against well rooted patriarchy.
Like everyone outraged by the incident across the country, Vibha Bakshi, decided translate her journey in the nation’s capital post Nirbhaya into a film Daughters of Mother India.
Screened for a select audience in the city, at Tivoli theatre, Secunderabad by the Crime Investigation Department, Telangana state, the film delves into aspects like the psyche of the Indian society at large to the major impact of the incident on citizens.
The 45 minute - documentary begins with Vibha, the narrator travelling on the streets of Delhi in a bus, recalling the tragic incident in a voice that is deep, and resonates the sounds of the tragedy. This carefully flows into a paradox, that points out to another incident merely days after Nirbhaya, only the victim here is a five-year old.
The story of this five-year old Gudiya becomes the anchor with Vibha taking the viewer back and forth, touching upon all spokes on the wheel of gender crime.
Inside the control room
She takes us inside places one has never seen on celluloid. For the first time, a set of cameras entered the Delhi Police control room and Command room. Vibha takes us to the 24 hour call centre that was set up to address the concerns of victims of gender crime. Here focus is on the police officials on duty who give us a first hand account of how women are now registering complaints.
This is followed by a reinforcement sessions of gender sensitisation, that has Suman Nalwa, head of Delhi police, women and child unit giving us an insight into what happens in the session. The genuine concerns of the police officials are taken into account here like being branded as useless, trying to reason their stand – that crimes like these happen in private, and it can’t be addressed unless they are brought to light.
The need for police officials to pass the message that they can be approached, that they are here to protect, forms the crux in this sequence.
Role of patriarchy
Dr Dibankar Gupta, Sociologist and Professor takes us through the deep rooted patriarchy, that starts with how women who are victims of rape are labelled to have lost their honour. He talks of Kanyadaan, the most important part of Indian marriage institution that makes the bride’s family inferior to the groom’s. Hence, it is only natural that the woman is the one who loses, honour.
Factors like the kind of rapes that happen in India, where more than one man indulges in it, showing that woman is not considered as a person and is just an object is dealt with by by Kiran Bedi, retired IPS officer, Suman Nalwa and others of their likes. The focus also shifts to teaching boys to respect women, from womb to tomb.
Kiran Bedi’s self defence sessions for young girls, teaching the difference between a good touch and a bad touch to smaller children and the efforts of the Asmita theatre group conducting street plays to raise awareness. There is not one area left untouched the documentary. Delivering the fundamental message, and the only solution – to trigger people’s thought process.
The judicial members of the anti rape committee formed after Nirbhaya’s incident, shed light on the
journey of coming up with the legislation to address gender based crimes within a span of thirty days, in an empathetic tone. They recall how Nirbhaya’s death, and the power of people just led to the legislation that lists voyeurism and stalking as gender crimes.
The technicalities too do not deter, with Bollywood cinematographer Attar Singh Saini’s photography making the visuals as impactful as the plot.
Over all, the documentary is a touching tale, with a different tone that says, every body is finally trying, in a way they can.