Skip to main content

The Official Arrival Of #MeToo In India

American civil rights activist and founder of neo-feminist movement #MeToo, Tarana Burke asked women to open up about sexual harassment they've experienced in the past, or facing it right now. She said, “You don’t have to tell your story, you just have to say Me Too.”  Since then, there have been shocking accounts of women describing their unfortunate experiences, and thereby holding a mirror to the civilised society. They range from stories of assault to stalking to intimidation. With each further account making clear that there was a systemic pattern of abuse and silence.

Now as a hashtag, #MeToo symbolises solidarity and support of thousands and is today one of the most momentous contemporary movements globally. The reason for the success of this movement, obviously, is the popularity of social media and the involvement of many well-known people mainly from the entertainment industry of Hollywood.

MeToo Arrives India

metoo in India timesup for sexual harassment

Now, it seems that MeToo has arrived India. Meltwater, a media intelligence company, tracked and analysed mentions of the hashtag and movement. What the data indicates is that the movement is new to the Indian shores – with 17,500 mentions of #MeToo in the editorial news in the last month, 95% of which were in the last seven days alone. Of the considerable number of global mentions of #MeToo, the word “India” trended alongside it with 46,000 mentions which solidify the fact that the movement is making waves in India. But, it’s not something to rejoice. It is a moment of shame and must disturb us all.

C:\Users\Philippa\Documents\Meltwater\metoo new 2.jpg
Credit: meltwater

It was discovered that globally, India has been the most vocal about the #MeToo movement with 25% of the chatter stemming from India overtaking even the USA. On the social media front, there are no signs of slowing down with over 2 and a half million mentions globally in just one week. there is another hashtag #TimesUp that trended in India along with the #MeToo, which can be seen as an extension, or Indian version of the latter, where abuse survivors demand that “Time’s Up” and sexual harassment, in any form, will not be tolerated anymore.

C:\Users\Philippa\Documents\Meltwater\metoo new 1.jpg
Credit: meltwater

The recent bump is created after actor Tanushree Dutta’s allegations, in an interview in end-September, of harassment at the hands of actor Nana Patekar on a film set a decade ago. Tanushree Dutta and Nana Patekar, along with a group of journalists, for speaking up against former Union Minister M J Akbar, can be credited for bringing or reviving this movement in India. But actors and politicians who are used to say lies on purpose; hypnotising people, taking them in confidence. They cannot be trusted blindly, their real life is a complete mystery. So let’s just stick to the issue and not delve deeper into Bollywood or Hollywood.

#MeToo Tells A Story Of Melancholy

There was a time when influential people, those in power or holding an important position in a company or government department, can harass working women for their enjoyment at their will. Like a piece of cake. And many times they’re told that “it’s your fault miss”. The victim cannot do anything but get subdued in the patriarchal society. With a false sense of humiliation, they chose to remain silent, only to embolden the offender. This is another reason that explains the low participation of women in the workforce in India. Who can work being susceptible to bodily abuse? Besides, there is emotional torment too, making the environment prone to doubts, suspicion and insecurity. As a measure of precaution, their family will never allow them to join in the first place. The lower number of women working means lower female literacy, which in turn means a backward society, lower sex-ratio as a result of the higher number of female foeticides. How much social evils linked to one thing! Such things exist even now. But with awareness and some rigid laws, things have improved significantly. Hope it'll improve further.

India has so far been better placed in terms of sexual harassment at the workplace. Mostly because most women stay at home; not because all Indians are like sanskaari babuji Alok Nath, the man with incorruptible morals. However, in a shocking #MeToo account, he appears to be not-so-sanskaari in his real life. See I forgot that it is too just an allegation right now. But India performs very poor in case of sexual harassment at the private places.

An Elite Movement

As there are celebs and high-profile people involved, there will be an overemphasis of certain cases, and also those involving politicians. Therefore, it'll give people entertaining news material. Matters they can discuss when they’re getting bored. It’ll also give rise to the celebrity wars. In this way, the revolutionary movement, as per claims, will be trivialized, or reduced to an elite movement. Also, a hashtag cannot provide justice, the legal procedure is the same — time consuming, expensive, and so scary. Something because of which the commoners chose to remain silent. Moreover, there is a counter of a defamation suit by which the victim can be victimised again.

Are We Ready?

Now that the stigma is broken and women are speaking up, making public their suppressed memories, are we ready for the sea of accusations? The judiciary is certainly not prepared for this. Neither is the law enforcement bodies. Because it is easy to allege a sexual harassment charge but difficult to prove. Something that happened years ago is even more difficult. Nevertheless, the story of horror needs to come out in the open but with a caution that an accused not be treated as guilty unless proven. As we all know the moment someone is accused, they're treated as guilty which is not good for a healthy society. It can turn the life of accused upside down. In worse cases, in a badly policed state of India, there can be a mob attack too.

So, there must also be provisions to stop the abuse or misuse of law. The hashtag against harassment could be another harassment. This time for men. And, it’ll give rise to stereotyping of men. Because not every allegation is true or every man is a womanizer, always looking for ghapa ghap (get laid) with their good-looking colleague. Because boys will be boys. Men will be men. But the stereotype is not a major problem for men, is it? ( Pyaar ki raah mein chalna seekh... )

What to do, what not to do is the dilemma only the lawmakers and jury can understand best. For now, I think, these women need to be heard.

This is what a typical sexual harassment looks like :
(Thanks to Nana for illustrating it! Though the actor here is Nana, the act has nothing to do with Nana's real character. I hope so!)



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Are You Taking Part In The Smart Home Revolution?

Improvement is the constant endeavour humanity has been undertaking for eternity. The basic virtue of humans is to improve their well-being with the help of technology; from developing simple tools for hunting and gathering to directing Google Assistant or Siri order nice and warm food from our favourite restaurant, we’re on a relentless quest for easing out our life. That's why we are witnessing an undergoing transition from conventional technology into smart technology.


What Is Smart?

The popular definition of ‘smart’ is anything that is able to connect to other devices, or to the internet, and can be controlled remotely. But, with the latest technology coming every day, this definition might become obsolete sooner or later, what is going to be consistent is the reason why smart devices are being invented. And why you should be using it. A smart device, according to me, can be defined as something that saves your time for more productive or “humanly” activities.

A machine is sup…

Making A Difference — Indian Media And Ravish Kumar

Today's Bulletin: Priya Prakash Varrier’s killing wink, Taimur’s daily schedule, 'Rashtramata' Padmavati, Donald Trump tweets, Different types of jihad - love jihad, hate jihad, cow jihad, North Korea’s ‘mental dictator’ Kim Jong Un's preparation for a nuclear war, and last, but not the least —An esteemed panel of 'alleged' experts and politicians engaging in an ‘alleged’ debate.
If you are a consumer of Indian media, particularly the news channels, you might have got the idea of what my opening words are and where I’m trying to point it. If you think, all mediawallahs (media personnel) are same, or that these are really important topics worthy of your time, you need to think again.

There is a 'proven' left-wing terrorist, and an atheist, perhaps, NDTV journo named Ravish Kumar who is different. The non-Hindi Indian states might not have heard his name. He is not interested in covering ‘big stories’, no loud debates, no panel of Pakistani alleged ‘defe…

Bhabhiji Ghar Par, Jijaji Chhat Par— A Review Of India's Comedy Serials

Indian television has been doing great with serials like Bhabhiji ghar par hai (Sister-In-Law Is At Home), May I come in Madam, and the latest in the fray, Jijaji chhat par hai (Brother-In-Law Is At The Terrace). However gross these may sound, but it seems to be the reality of Indian television. But, why are such indecent and depraved shows on the rise? Is it really the people interested?

There must be a significant number of people watching such shows to make it viable as it is not easy to sustain a failed show, especially on TV, where. I won't comment whether these kinds of serials should air on TV or not. It’d be intruding to an artist's freedom of expression, his right to express an idea, be it in form of non-fiction speech, or with some fictional characters telling a story. These shows are just harmless entertainment meant for making you laugh, right? However, if you ask me, my opinion would be that, in the name of comedy, the makers of such sitcoms are either fooling the …

Sanjay Dutt Hero Or Villain? A Review Of Sanju Baba’s Journey As Both

The Sanjay Dutt biopic “Sanju” was released on 29th of June made by one of the best filmmakers of the B-town, Rajkumar Hirani. It was marketed as an “unbelievably true story”. Indeed Dutt’s journey is unbelievable. However, there have been many unbelievable personalities too such as Dawood or Osama. Sorry for comparing Dutt with Don and Terrorist. The drugs, booze, women, and AK 56 make Sanju a largely negative character in the real world. Not his fault, according to the film.


Some people say Sanjay Dutt doesn’t deserve a biopic as there are many “good” people, with their “good” work, that go unnoticed. The argument over whether Dutt deserves a biopic or not is inane. It’s like saying Dhoni’s biopic should have been made after his retirement. The truth is, biopics are made on interesting people, not the good ones, especially if it is of commercial in nature. If that interesting people is a negative character, it gets more publicity. Also, a “fictional” biopic cannot be real. Be it Da…

A Mesmerizing Winter Morning

WAKING UP on a winter morning takes courage. It is a sort of sacrifice only a few people are able to make, those having a remarkable will-power. Unless you have a strong reason to get something done, making this sacrifice is a herculean task, almost impossible. In winter, there is a joy in oversleeping, in cuddling up under a nice warm and cosy blanket. What most people do is— they wake up, see the time, and get back to sleep again. Even when being awake, it becomes extremely difficult to actually get up and resume our work or study. What happens is that our mind succumbs to the bodily comfort of enjoying a great peaceful sleep underneath a blanket. I, too, belong to this group, the group that is not ready to give up morning sleep easily on any day; and when it comes to giving up the sleep of a winter morning, we just cannot.

However, one day, on a fairly cold winter morning, when I supposed to be in the sleep mode, I not only got up early but went for a walk too. Dressed up in winte…

The Whistle For The 2019 Political Battle Is Blown And The Bahubali Ready

ON THE VERY FIRST DAY OF 2019, with an exclusive interview to the ANI, Narendra Bahubali made his intentions crystal clear. That the Bahubali is not gratified with just one term and is ready to battle for the another. For the critics, it would be interesting to find out if there is going to be any Katappa or it’ll be a Katappa-less battle.

Ok, let's be serious. Politics is a serious subject, no? Let’s talk about Smita Prakash who seems to be Mr Modi's preferred choice of journalists in order to move and shake the political discourse of the nation. Speaking of her, I must tell you, the lady is a very great listener. To interview someone like Modi, you need to be a good listener rather than a good speaker. Because, you know, he goes on and on… and on. Eventually, he ends up wooing you. Though not if you have some predefined political goals or loyalty to a particular party.

The interview was much-needed from him to upgrade his party’s morale for the bigger battle ahead and to sh…

Accidental Prime Minister Compels India To Talk Manmohan Singh And Corruption Before Election, A Review

The media advisor to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, with his boring job, has been able to commercialize a story of his boss right to the screen. No one would have imagined this possibility when the book was launched in the midst of the 2014 election; when it also made a buzz with the allegations giving birth to controversies. But with the change of government after the election, things cooled down and people forgot their highly qualified yet good-for-nothing economist PM. Only till next election though.

⭐⭐(2/5)
Directed by - Vijay Ratnakar Gutte
Starring - Anupam Kher, Akshaye Khanna, Suzanne Bernert
Storyline: Non-fiction, dramatized biography of former PM Manmohan Singh

Prime characters 
Sanjay Baru: Media advisor to the PM and the narrator
Manmohan Singh: The Accidental Prime Minister (2003-2014)
Sonia Gandhi: The villain-in-chief, is an evil Italian woman using proxies to get hold of power and control things remotely through Manmohan Singh
Rahul Gandhi: Incompetent leader unfit fo…