Why India’s Daughter holds a mirror to our society…

“The victim is as guilty as her rapists,” “She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop. This could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don’t think so…”
Asaram Bapu (Spiritual Guru)

“…no one commits rape intentionally. It happens by mistake.”
Ramsewak Paikra (Home Minister, Chhattisgarh)

“Women should not venture out with men who are not relatives.”
Abu Azmi (Maharashtra State Chief, Samajwadi Party)

“In the urban culture, where women are out with their boyfriends till late in the night skimpily dressed, rape instances are bound to be higher than in rural areas where women are mostly confined to their homes and are dressed properly,”
Abu Azmi (Maharashtra State Chief, Samajwadi Party)

“Boys and girls… they had differences, and the girl goes and gives a statement that I have been raped. Should rape cases lead to hanging? Boys are boys, they make mistakes.”
Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party Head, former Defence Minister & Chief Minister)

“This is a social crime which depends on men and women. Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong,”
Babulal Gaur (Home Minister, Madhya Pradesh)

“Many students misuse mobile phones by watching blue films and hearing obscene songs which pollute their mind,”
Binay Bihari (Minister Art, Culture & Youth Affairs, Bihar)

‘“Women should not wear bikinis in beaches ‘for their own safety’, and ‘girls in short skirts visiting pubs’ are against the culture…”
Sudin Dhavalikar (Senior Minister Public Works Department, Goa)

“Crimes against women happening in urban India are shameful. It is a dangerous trend. But such crimes won’t happen in ‘Bharat’ or the rural areas of the country.”
Mohan Bhagwat (RSS Chief)

“It’s not the state government which is responsible for rapes, in fact in most of the cases its consensual sex.” … In 90 per cent cases, the girls and women initially accompany boys on their own…”
Dharambir Goyat (Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee Member)

“…people must choose between a ‘promiscuous culture’ that allows public kissing, or a city made safe by moral policing.”
Satyapal Singh (Police Commissioner, Bombay)

“Women display their bodies and indulge in various obscene activities. Women are unaware of the kind of message [their actions] generate…”
“Women equally responsible” for crimes against them.
Vibha Rao (Chairperson, Chhattisgarh State Women Commission)

“Rape cases are on a rise in the country because men and women interact with each other more freely now.”
Mamata Banerjee (Chief Minister, West Bengal)

“This western model is alarming. What is happening is we have imbibed the US. We have lost all the values we had in cities…”
Ashok Singhal (VHP Leader)

“We should pay more attention to where our girls are going. Mobile phones should be banned,” We should stop our girls from wearing jeans.”
Ranvir Singh (Khap Panchayat Leader, Haryana)

“These pretty women, dented and painted… Have no contact with ground reality,”
Abhijit Mukherjee (Member of Parliament and son of current Indian President)

“Just because the country attained independence at midnight, is it proper for women moving at midnight?”
Botsa Satyanarayana (Congress Committee President, Andhra Pradesh)

“Rapes are not in the control of the police … Even the villagers from coastal Andhra are wearing salwar-kameez (as against traditional dress). All these things provoke,”
V Dinesh Reddy (Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh)

Times of India, Sexism & Deepika Padukone

It started when the Times of India (the largest English daily) featured a close-up of Deepika Padukone’s cleavage (one of Bollywood’s most famous actresses) with the caption: “OMG! Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show.” Then something rather unusual happened; Deepika Padukone tweeted, hitting back at the newspaper and telling her seven million followers: “YES! I am a Woman. I have breasts AND a cleavage! You got a problem!!??” Unlike Hollywood actresses, the women of Bollywood are seen but not really heard. Male actors share their views, support causes and take up social issues but rarely do major female actresses make their voices heard. Ms. Padukone struck a chord on Twitter and with prominent people across India, who lauded her for standing up to the rampant sexism that exists in daily life. The Times, instead of apologizing, sent out a tweet (which has since been deleted) saying that they were paying her a compliment and added insult to injury by putting a smiley face at the end of the tweet. Seems their digital department failed to notice that Ms. Padukone had been retweeted more than 7,000 times and a hashtag supporting her -#IStandWithDeepikaPadukone – was fast becoming one of the top trending hashtags. Ms. Padukone then responded with a Facebook post demanding respect for women. It might have been left at that but for the Times issuing an arrogant and childish second post titled, “Dear Deepika, our point of view…” All they achieved is to dig a deeper hole and frankly prove her point about sexism in our media. It has also led to the creation of a new hashtag #boycottTOI. In the letter, The Times accuses her of being hypocritical and suggests that she stirred up this controversy simply to gain publicity for her new film. However, what I found most deplorable about their salacious bully tactic and arrogant defense is this one line; “Deepika, who began her career as a ‘calendar girl’ for a liquor brand…” They are insinuating that a woman who started her career as a bikini-clad pin-up model has no right to take the moral high ground, or take umbrage at the fact that a self-important national newspaper used a publicly available image and added a titillating headline to drive more hits to their site. With this response, the Times has not only proven Ms. Padukone’s point but it is clear that they totally missed the point. She starts her blog post saying, “There is only ONE sign that a woman wants to have sex and that is that she says “YES.” This is the point – even if a woman walked down the street naked it is not an invitation to have sex with her, to rape her or take advantage of her. In the same way, a respectable national news outlet should have enough common sense and decorum not to exploit a publicly available image and use it to cheaply get more online hits. This is not about right or wrong, legal or illegal but about decency and responsibility. It is about setting an example in our society. Indian women live in a society that is already stacked totally in favour of men, one where women are treated as objects or personal property. The Times should be leading the way to change medieval male attitudes and not be justifying their actions by saying that everyone else does it too…