Where is actor Amitabh Bachchan at the time when there’s so much being said about the recent #MeToo wave in the country that has called out many big names in the entertainment and media industry? Is he still indifferent or has he started to recognise people around him as Tanushree Dutta and Nana Patekar which means survivors and assaulters respectively?
However, I’m not very concerned about his opinion because the when people of such high reputation in the society choose silence on such sensitive cases they cease to be worthy of being heard. Amitabh Bachchan’s response to Tanushree Dutta’s allegations against Nana Patekar was a selfish act, shunning to take any social responsibility.
These incidents outnumber or hush up any possibility of women opening up about transgressions against their integrity even when everyone is aware of the prevalence of hostile workplace realities of B-Town. The intentions behind the silence do not matter, you are either with the justice, or you aren’t.
When high-profile people choose to keep mum on sexual assault cases, I feel their patience level is excellent. However, as a character in some of the stories, the patience level of same famous people touch shameless nadirs when they play down upon life of a woman with their stigmatising behaviour. Now when they have been named, a very few of them are apologetic for their behaviour in the past. Many have come up with unreasonable excuses such as they were under the influence of alcohol. Disturbingly, few have even claimed that blamed those who have called out the harassers and claimed that these people are being paid and are ruining the peace in the country. I would like to tell these people that country was anything but peaceful before this movement kicked in. This poison has been running into our system for so many years. At best this ‘peace’ can only be described as Sannata (horrific silence).
The story of Vinta Nanda has yet again highlighted our inability to choose correct people to put them into admiring frames. I feel disgusted with the fact I once used to laugh at jokes made by AIB people. Chetan Bhagat, fortunately, I haven’t read him, has reaffirmed the fact that no noble profession is noble enough to stop a person from being a misogynist and abusive by virtue of power position. As they say, power corrupts and absolute power corrupt absolutely. However, when we hear about sexual misconducts by the people we admire, like, and look up to we grow suspicious of anything and everything in the world. The trust dies a sad death. People like Gowhar Geelani from the Kashmir valley, who claim to be human rights activist and engage in constant rants of consensus on television screens, in face of accusations by a couple of women remain a living testimony of two-faced pseudo characters.
I really appreciate the beautiful hearts and courage of all the women who have come out and shared the stories that shattered their dreams, threatened workplace survival and made them feel terrible. In a conservative society like ours where patriarchy is deeply ingrained in our culture, it’s commendable of these women to speak up and expose the society.
In my view, three reasons prompted India for its very own #MeToo moment. First, the constant poking of the patriarchal system at all levels notwithstanding the fact that everyone is aware of the ill-treatment of women. Second, the online and offline solidarity among women, particularly independent journalist Rituparna Chatterjee’s sisterhood thread and campaign that helps women in finding a job, has been successful in creating an environment which encourages women to speak up and call out assaulters. The sense of such solidarity gives women a hope that there is someone who’ll believe what they say. It has resulted into creation of a situation like ‘now or never.’ Third, interestingly, as it seems to me, the evolution of #MeToo movement in India is so powerful because of its investment in the idea of Ahimsa (non-violence). Its main aim is to name and shame, and not physical harm these abusers or molesters. It asks for an unconditional apology with acceptance for the loss, if any. A belief in non-violence, mass support, and due process are all high virtues of Ahimsa. However, a few cases of physical violence inflicted upon women survivors, no less than rape, demand legal scrutiny and punishment following a ‘due process’.
I owe my indulgence in the movement to the pain that has occurred to me because of sad and sorrowful stories that women have shared. The movement was never supposed to be an exciting, energetic, or a beautiful experience. In fact it has turned to be an extremely disturbing, exhausting and heart-wrenching movement. I see more agony coming our way as even thought of every woman coming out with their stories shakes my whole inside. I hope that happens but not sure if we’ll be able to take that all. All I know at this juncture is that this is not even the first layer that the survivors are peeling off. It’s just a tip of a big iceberg or not even that.
But, no more staying silent! #TimesUp. If you are a survivor then open up. If you are a fortunate being, then keep listening to all this and encourage others to call out assaulters by promising them help. And, to all men- shut up and listen for a while, for this is an essential class on how to behave and conduct yourself. We hope that #MeToo movement is not stopping anytime soon, if anything is to stop, now, it is harassment of women at the hands of unaccountable society.
Your life is of gospels in public but with demeanours of only lust in private,
Your writing pad read human rights but disrespecting consent is your only fundamental right,
Your inappropriate touch was a story of whispers in office but stories just remained sad whispers,
You got away with that each time, right? But wait, no more because #TimesUp.
Each cry of #MeToo points to “trash out there,” together we gonna thrash it before it makes up for another #MeToo,
Every tear rolling down the cheeks is not worthless because no longer are they silent,
They are as heavy as rocks, they speak, they take names, they smash chains,
Now listen, you already are a bane, if you are left with some shame apologize unconditionally for being so insane.