Rape Hatred for Women

I am an NRI, translated into: no-real Indian. I follow Indian cinema in my quest to find only one million original films before humanity as we know it disappears. I will use the term Indian cinema sparingly because I only have access to Hindi films, not Malayalam, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Konkani, Nepali, Khasi, Dogri, Garo and other languages.

Films about rape are difficult to screen. That is why it took me so long to write about it. I would drop Hamara Dil Aapkee Paas Hai, directed by Satish Kaushik and Prem Granth directed by Rajiv Kapoor in my shopping cart for original films because men in these films did not blame the women for being raped. They acknowledged the injustice perpetrated against them, allowed them to heal and married them.

One cannot speak about the pain of a raped woman because it is more than that. It is something she cannot describe herself and tries to wash away like Preeti (Aishwarya Rai) in Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai. Bhupati Raja who came up with the story and also wrote the screenplay puts powerful words in her characters.

Women internalize the pain
Avinash (Anil Kapoor) tries to comfort Preeti, “Why are you crying? Society is so unjust. Someone commits the crime and somebody else gets punished. Take yourself. You are crying at somebody’s mistake. This too is injustice isn’t it?”

It all started with street brutality. Preeti is shocked that a man can be beaten and stabbed like a dog in broad daylight by Bhavani Choudhry (Mukesh Rishi) the local thug and nobody lifts a finger to help him. She volunteers information to the police and Bhavani is arrested. The thug is used to committing crimes because he knows that nobody will testify against him.

Preeti’s father Tulsi Ram Dayal hits the roof when he hears that she is willing to be a witness. Babloo (Puru Raajkumar) Bhavani’s brother rapes her on a rainy night on her way home from work. Preeti’s father puts the blame squarely on her shoulders. “When the world finds out she has shamed herself, to whom will I tie her off? And society will kill us alive.”

Avinash who falls in love with Preeti storms into a newsroom and demands the name of the reporter who reported the story about the rape. He beats him up and offers him some advice, “Why don’t you write about the man who raped her?” He slaps the policeman who arrested her for ‘soliciting’ without a licence. He confronts his father who sent the police to arrest her for that.

He also chases away non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) who want to make Preeti’s pain public by marching to parliament. That scene demonstrates that not all NGO’s have good intentions. There are some that are there to pocket donor funding and do not have the slightest interest in the poor people they are supposed to help. In South Africa, NGO’s made money on apartheid. Now they make it on HIV/AIDS and street kids. Street kids are the staple food for South African films now.

I thought Hamara Dil was frightening until I saw Prem Granth, where Kajri (Madhuri Dixit) was raped on her way home from a fair. They snatched her in front of her father (Om Puri) and sped away in the car. By the time he caught up with them, she was lying there like a bundle of washing.

How society dis-values women
Prem Granth explores the blame issue even further. The raped woman is bad, an untouchable. It is her shame that she is raped. It is her fault that she cannot marry anyone because she is ‘soiled’. It is her fault that she gets pregnant. It is her fault that she cannot give the name of her father’s baby, which is necessary for the burial. Rajiv Kapoor the director uses a song to describe Kajri’s pain.

“A woman is like a glass vessel, once placed on the fire, it becomes useless for others.”
“My tears make all the water in the Ganga.”
“Destiny has created woman like a toy.”
“The world has treated woman like a bed.”
“It has happened all the time.”
“It will happen in future.”

Kajri re-unites with Somen (Rishi Kapoor) whom she met before the rape. He helps her punish the man who raped her. Prem Granth explores other social issues such as poor people being exploited in the name of religion but rape and the hatred for women stands out. Men have mothers and sisters but rapists seem to forget that.

They behave as if The Almighty was wrong to make women. What is ironic is that there can be no men without women. Women give birth to the sons men love more than daughters. There will be no future generations if the world only had baby boys. Life is about opposites, hot and cold, men and women.

Nonqaba is the author of Sweetness The Novel.


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