You know, this is not about Yo Yo Any Singh. It is about the very same young men who agree a change in attitude is required, refusing to recognise that this too, is bad attitude. Who believe that by putting up a fight against a song we find disrespectful and violent in the extreme we’re denying him his freedom of speech.
Unlike purdah or vegetarianism, rape is one of those few issues on which everyone is in agreement – it is wrong. It is a crime. Why then is a song about it okay? What exactly is the message you send out when you say its not okay to rape but completely okay to sing about it?
Am I saying that men who listen to a song called Main Balatkari Hoon will go out and rape? No, I’m just saying that there is something seriously wrong with a song that glorifies rape and makes it acceptable. And something seriously wrong with dancing to those words mindlessly. We all spent a lot of our youth dancing to absolutely inappropriate music and singing along. But if 15 years later I can step back and take a fresh look at it, I’d just call that growing up and perhaps accepting where I was wrong.
No, don’t compare it to Munni and Fevicol. The slight difference most of you don’t seem to get is *consent*.
No, don’t compare him to Rushdie or Hussain. That would be sacrilege. And I don’t believe either of them promoted violence against any group of people. There are laws against hate speech – and if rape is not an expression of violence, I don’t know what is.
Yes, it would be nice if Bollywood and Ekta Kapoor stopped making regressive content, but that doesn’t mean one can’t object to this too. Still a huge difference between singing about graphic rape and watching a saas and bahu battle it out over a man.
No, I don’t think we’re distracting from the main issue – what is the main issue btw? Only getting justice for the late 23 yr old? Not a safer place for the living 3 and 93 year olds? We will keep fighting for a change in laws, for speedier justice, and yes, for a change in attitude. We will object and fight misogyny at every step.
With some pretensions to creativity, I believe in freedom of expression. But your freedom ends at my nose. And in this case my nose is right here. Where every woman’s nose is.
Is it not telling that there are no women who find this song acceptable? Freedom of expression is not absolute and does not give you the right to abuse someone. It gives you a right to interpret, yes, but there is a fine line after which you might be inciting violence.
Is it also not telling that expression of such violence against women finds acceptability even among some otherwise enlightened, aware, gentle men?
All the laws on earth can be put in place but until you change your attitude, you’re only putting away more people, not preventing it from happening.
And what is it that shapes our attitude? Our attitude is shaped by everything within our culture, be it film, books, music, what we teach our kids, what their schools teach them and what we soak up from people around us.
YOU may not listen to Any old Singh, but then you’re not the ones getting out of pubs and trawling the streets for unsuspecting women either. Neither are you the sort who paid 15k to have him bring in the New Year at an upscale hotel.
Ladies, that should tell you what you need to know.
There is a whole section out there who don’t believe we have a right to be out on the streets.
And then there is the section who believe we have an equal right to be out on the streets but are unwilling to even step into our shoes for a minute and see what it feels like to be at the receiving end of such violence, aggression and hatred.
I’ll end with Aretha:
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. … Find out what it means to me.
Yes – what it means to me, not what *you* deem appropriate, but what *I* consider respectful.
I wish you all a 2013 that is better than 2012. May our daughters inhabit a safer world than the one we live in. May our sons be gentlemen in the true sense of the word.