Every time a woman speaks for herself, we discourage her by questioning her intentions on the basis of our century old and so-called cultural mindset but as someone said, ‘damaged people are dangerous’ and who could define it better than Tanushree Dutta. One can’t possibly think about winning a war against a woman who is out to protect her pride and dignity. There is nothing stronger than a woman who has seen it all and got nothing to lose.
In one of the interview, Tanushree stated, verbatim “Even thought of touching me could destroy them, as this time I have something else supporting me.” So heed my words, it’s her inner woman that has awaken and a woman with a clear and definite purpose can haul the miscreants. Tanushree’s allegations do not surprise me as over the years many people have spoken against the sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.
I get nostalgic when I think about Tanushree Dutta’s journey in Bollywood. It seems like yesterday when she appeared in movies like ‘Aashiq Banaya Apne’, ‘Chocolate’, ‘Dhol’, ‘Good Boy Bad Boy’, among many others. I can never forget the day I went to a theatre just to watch her song Hitchki. She was one of the most celebrated stars back in those days. Tanushree was a charmer who had a positive smile on her face; so young, fresh and of course dauntless. She was out of the league, unconventional and was considered to be too bold for people around her. She would have easily gotten herself into big film camps or productions, but she chose to leave this negative environment of the industry while I kept on wondering why did she ever have to go! She left the stardom and glamour when she was the peak of her career. The male ego dominates the Bollywood industry. Such egoists did not want her to shine because she refused to rub them for their pleasure. Also, such unscrupulous men hate when intellectual women are around.
If a woman is portraying a rape survivor in reel life, does that mean she is okay with getting raped in real life too? That’s what half of our pretentious educated Indians think. Have you ever heard of the right called consent? If not, be a decent human and check it before you judge a woman who is speaking her heart so is unable to forget even after ten years. Imagine, how traumatising it must be for her to even talk about it. Sexual harassment and misconduct leave a woman drained and at times even unresponsive for a lifetime. Be it Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse who was brutally raped, or Nirbhaya; there are countless instances of sexual crimes against women.
Just think that one day you wake up in the morning and you have no purpose in life! Somebody has seized all your dreams and goals in life, and you are not even left with your dignity. Your soul is helpless, your source of income and happiness got plucked for telling the truth, and nobody wants to know your side of the story. I remember all this incident vividly. It was 2008, and I was in my teens. I didn’t know much about realities in the society but could differentiate between good and bad. I wasn’t aware of the core meaning of ‘harassment’ at that time, but I felt uncomfortable watching all her interviews. She was re-telling the terrible incident to people, but no one had guts to stand with her and eventually turned a blind eye towards that incident. That was the day I realised that there is something wrong with our men in general.
There are increasing number of cases of crimes against women. But some people support the survivors, and some men support women endlessly. Our existence is futile if we cannot stand up for the people who go through such horrible experiences.
Grilling Tanushree on why she did not speak a decade ago when the incident happened doesn’t change the fact that she put her voice out, but everyone turned a blind eye to her stating ‘publicity’. She did it all – imploring for help to all the media houses and the associations, but due to lack of support and irresponsibility of some journalists and people around her, the incident never got the national attention. Besides, she was just 22 when the pretentious charitable Nana Patekar harassed her. At that time social media wave hadn’t hit India so strongly. Had this incident happened in current times, her story would have reached more ears easily.
Why it is so difficult for us to accept an audacious or a courageous woman? Many women are scared to death to communicate or recount the horrors of workplace harassment, as it might invite slut shaming, hearsay or worst – they might lose their job. The best part about this moment is that Tanushree is speaking, notwithstanding how many years or decades have gone by, she is, and this time, we must ensure that the courage of this woman doesn’t go unheard! Let’s encourage Tanushree Dutta to come forward and tell her story, and for that to happen, we all need to make the environment comfortable for them. Many such stories need to be told and heard.