Free Press Journal

Swara Bhaskar Open Letter: Concept of writing ‘Open Letters’ is like washing your dirty linen in public


The concept is almost like washing your dirty linen in public, writes Aparna Kapoor

This is a contemplated and thought-over reaction from a common Indian woman to the latest ‘open letter’ by Swara Bhaskar to Sanjay Leela Bhansali. We have seen some interesting open letters off late, and some really interesting and thought provoking ones; but honestly speaking (oh yes, I too like to speak my mind out when required!) this one makes absolutely no sense.

Initially I felt like a traitor! Afterall I am a woman; I thought to myself, I should find some relevance to this! So I read and re read; but still, I could not!

I understand that celebrities have to be in the lime light for obvious reasons and to comment on the current social activities is the coolest option. Needless to say that this movie Padmaavat is the biggest trending topic today and shall remain so for a while! So commenting on the movie obviously was a smart move to attain instant publicity. However, it seems the intellect of Indian women was underestimated! Is it that we would not understand what this hullabaloo is all about, whose gain is it and what are the marketing strategies these days?

We know our worth and our rights, we do not need to shout to be heard. In addition, we do not need such ambassadors of womanhood who unnecessarily call a wolf. We know when to push the panic button, and this is a hoax call. This shall only pollute the women society by such brash statements about something which has already created so much of unrest, violence in our country since past several months. We have seen babies crouched under the seat of a school bus fearing for their lives. We have had enough of a mindless propaganda. We are sensitive enough not to fuel the fire further… aren’t we?

The movie in question is a ‘period’ film, a narration in a pictoral form. Making a film like this one requires showing the trending social scenario back then, and in this case ‘jauhar’ being one. How does it imply that Bhansali is trying to “glorify” that horrible tradition? He only narrated a story for heaven’s sake. How is it implying at anything in the present context?

If at all, one has to relate it with the present time, then let’s be happy and realise that we women have come a long way from performing jauhars to having a life after a rape or an acid attack. Women now come openly in front of the camera to report a rape or an abuse. Girls in villages are now reporting dowry demands, to the extent of calling off the wedding. Mothers are reporting child abuses, even against their own husbands.

Are these celebrities, who speak without knowing the consequences, even aware of that brave face of Indian women society? That is questionable, because we don’t stand on the roof tops saying the V-word, which now has become a trending and a keyword on the internet.

Such things give a bad name to feminism. Hypocrites demand equality for women and then ask for reservations everywhere, right from the Parliament to the bus seat. If we want to be equal to men, we better behave as one. We should not get offended if a man refuses to get up to offer a seat in a metro. One should not be twisting and turning things, people, situation and circumstances as per one’s conveineance in the name of feminism and equality. Feminism means equality, but humbugs misbehave, use filthy language and insult men. Nothing gives anyone the right to do so. By behaving in such an irresponsible way, it seems like we desperately want to trade places with the males, which they once had, of dominating and oppressing the other sex.

Agreed that we were oppressed and this war of feminism was to give us the much desired basic human rights and equal status. But that era has long gone by. We are now on par with our male counterpart, is a known and accepted fact. Period.

If one is trying to connect the so-called “glorified” depiction of jauhar with the present state of affairs with women then we are miles away from the core issue. One cannot compare jauhar to rapes happening in the present times. These rapes are not because of women oppression. It is because our society failed to give the basic education to the males on how to behave in a human manner and that is the issue. It is not a gender based agenda but a social agenda of educating our society with values and morals. There is a very thin line here, ponder and think.

Our men need to learn how to live with the women but by creating such unnecessary controversies and taking men to task for no fault of theirs, we are pushing them further away. So let us not waste our energies on such useless things. There are many serious issues in our society which need our attention and we have the power to make that change. Let the women out there outshine men in every way. Let us look for a better hash tags than the ‘V’ word for ourselves. Let’s grow up.