ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

The Chilling Effect of Restraints

This response to Indira Jaising and Ritu Menon's "Ethics and Theatrics" (EPW, 28 March 2015) says blaming Leslee Udwin, maker of the controversial India's Daughter and her promoters for not addressing the different contexts of rape is missing the point.

Indian governments in general, and the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in particular, can be relied on to elevate spurious notions of national security or national honour over actual change, just like the green curtains drawn over Ahmedabad’s slums when the Chinese President came to visit. God forbid the world should come to know, via a BBC film, that the saintly Indian man commits crimes against the revered Indian woman.

However, one of the more distressing aspects of the non-screening of Leslee Udwin’s film, India’s Daughter, on NDTV, has been the stand of certain sections of the women’s movement, demanding a “restraint” on its release (Indira Jaising and Ritu Menon, “Ethics and Theatrics,” EPW, 28 March 2015). Those feminists opposing the film have several problems such as the “orientalist framing” or “white women’s saviour complex” that the film is supposed to embody; a dislike of the title which reduces women to daughters rather than independent agents; the supposed equation of poverty and violence; the fact that the commodification of “Nirbhaya” does injustice to the decades of work by the women’s movement to raise awareness about rape and violence; and the neglect of the structural nature of sexual violence through an overt focus on the mind of one rapist (An Open Letter to Meryl Streep and Frieda Pinto).

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 59

(Readers in India)

$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.