The #metoo movement was started by an activist Tarana Burke in 2006 when she used “Metoo” on My Space(a social media platform) to serve as a counter to sexual violence/assault but in general, we often used it as a movement against sexual harassment which is a broader term.
Sexual Violence/Assualt:- Unwanted Touching(which is so normalised by our films), forced and unwanted Kissing(the Imran Hashmi and Diya Mirza act in the film Tum Sa Nahin Dekha), Rubbing, Groping, forcing the victim to touch the perpetrator in a sexual way (a very common phenomenon in the 80s and 90s in Bollywood), rape is also a crime of sexual assault.
Sexual Harassment:- According to Vishakha guidelines
Physical contact & advances, A demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
The movement got more traction after 15th of Oct 2017 when the Newyork Times published its investigative report against Harvey Weinstein. At that time actress, Alysa Milano tweeted, “ If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
Initially, the movement was for women of colour from poor background but as it happens with every movement the main issue got diluted. It was used by celebrities or aspiring actresses who are in the position of power or from well to do families, the Trump haters and for other purposes from pay disparities to power structures to LGBTQ Rights and many more. Tarna herself has raised concern about this amalgamation of all in me too.
The Indian Version
As it happens with every Indian version of an American product there is more hype than substance(like in the case of lays). Contrary to peoples’ belief it was not Tanushree Dutta, the first Indian Celebrity, who talked about #metoo. Before her Kalki, Malika Dua, Vidya Balan spoke about it and Richa Chaddha also wrote a blog about it.
The movement got popular attention after Tanushree Dutta, a former Miss India, in an interview given to a tabloid channel “Zoom” (it is nothing but an english version of Mayapuri), Where she claimed that she was molested by veteran actor Nana Patekar. She also added that she was only reiterating what had happened to her in 2008 on the sets of a film called “Horn Ok Please” and she had also lodged an FIR at that point of time, interestingly India Today in an investigative report which was published on the 7th of Oct 2008 finds out that in her 2008 FIR there was no mention of Nana Patekar or sexual assault, but because of her recent allegation, Nana Patekar immediately lost some films and his reputation. She also filed an FIR in 2018 after much questioning on the social media and in the investigation of her charges which now included sexual assault the police found no evidence against Mr Patekar and filed a Closure report.
Another much talked about case was that of Mr Alok Nath in which he was accused of rape by T.V. producer then writer Vinta Nanda in the 90s subsequently other actresses Himani Shivpuri, Sandhya Mridul, Renuka Sahane, Deepika Amin, and a crew member of movie “ Hum Saath Saath Hain ” came out and talked about his alleged predatory behaviour. He filed a defamation suit against Vinta and demanded a written apology and a fine of one rupee. In response, Miss Nanda also filed an FIR of rape against him. While hearing the bail plea of Alok Nath the honourable Court Observed on 19th January 2019, ”possibility cannot be ruled out that the applicant [Alok Nath] has been falsely accused in the crime”.
The court said “Vinta Nanda has narrated the entire incident but is not able to recall the date or the month in which it allegedly happened. Miss Nanda remained silent because she was told nobody is going to believe her as Mr Nath was a big actor but never received any threats from Mr Nath.” The court also found that as the incident narrated by the complainant took place at her house Mr Nath couldn’t destroy the evidence. The Judge in his order wrote that the allegation could have been inspired by “unrequited love”. On the 10th August 2019, it was reported that the Mumbai Police is closing the File.
The case which gave the sense of rhapsody to the “Squad” (call them whatever you want but don’t call them liberal because it is an insult to people like Dr Upinder Singh, C.Rajagopalachari) was that of Mr M J Akbar because he was a minister of state in the Modi government, 11 women alleged him of sexual misconduct. All of them are very successful journalists, some of them are pretty regular in the corridors of power in Luteyn’s Delhi or South Mumbai or Kolkata yet they chose to remain silent until the #metoo India (I do not want to cast any aspersions on anybody’s character). It was Mr Akbar who filed the case of Defamation against Journalist Priya Ramani. The matter is still sub judice and we as other “Journalists” are not trying to be a public executioner. In that “so-called” movement of churning till now even one man is not found guilty. (there were many cases but I’m only mentioning a few who was in constant news)
Self Obsession Have you ever wondered how many people in India are able to afford a lehenga of rupees five lakhs price not even 5% but still many designers have been made a household name by our Delhi based News and Mumbai Based film industry because according to them it is class. For them the life starts in South Bombay and ends in Goregaon, this ignorant self obsession is not only the trait of some “k” fanatics film makers but also some senior Journalists who absolutely have no
agenda or motivation to know what India really is.
Tavleen Singh (Twitter)
In the movie “Student of Year Two” (I swear I haven’t watched it never going to)there is a song called “Mumbai Dilli Di Kudiyan” the metoo India was a “Mumbai(which is a quiet safe place for women) Delhi da Movement or the metros” it made absolutely no difference on the ground and even in These big cities no conviction no big Bollywood names came out. It only appeased the false sense of feminism of those women who already are powerful or who definitely can fight for their justice.
Dharam Sankat (Ethical Conundrum)
In the Beginning we talked about Bhasmasur and his boon. People according to their capacity and understanding draw extraordinary conclusions from this but I, after some consideration come to understand that Bhasmasur was a very short sighted Asur even if we forget the Mohini and Shiva incident. Imagine what could have happened if in his sleep he would have touched his Head or worst still in a burst of emotion He would have touched the head of his son or daughter or his Wife.
The same was the case of metoo outrage at the out set the members of the gang(again don’t call them liberal) was all guns blazing. Suddenly they felt the heat when their people were accused like Vinod Dua, or that AIB Guy, or Anurag Kashyap (Mr kashyap took the “high ground” in the Vikas Bahl Case where he broke the partnership and close down the Phantom films but the girl said that Anurag knew everything before she made it public. But he did nothing of that sort in his case)or Raju Hirani they were not able to understand or simply do not want to understand that any unsubstantiated claim is not true and only a court of law has the right to pronounce someone guilty.
They accuse certain media houses of running a media trial in the Rhea Chakrobarty case where they themselves did the same thing in the case of metoo. T.V. turned into a courtroom and every tweet was either an argument in their favor or a proof of someone’s predatory behaviour which in turn had given them a sense of being “holier than thou”. The biggest irony of the movement was that those who claim to be on the side of “rights” don’t want the other side to practice theirs; they want people to self-implicate themselves which is against the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.
In reality we Indians suffer from an external locus of identity and especially those who are “wanna be” “left liberals” just hypocrites who don’t want to accept the hypocrisy is a human trait.They just want to show the western media that they are following or rather imitating, definitely on the cost of others, the current western trends not only in fashion but also in politics and society. In the seventies to prove the “secular” and “socialist” credentials of India Mrs Gandhi inserted these words in India’s Constitution while the opposition was in jail, and today the “anti-establishment” or so called woke squad wants to imitate metoo even if it subverts the criminal justice system of our country, which can harm them and definitely which is going to harm the poor Indian as the word socialist only made the poor poorer and the word secular safeguarded most absurd laws against women(about which no “feminist” said anything).
The claims of broken Justice and Misogyny of society
Often people who are associated with feminist movement claim that the society is misogynist and the judiciary is incompetent(and to spread “awreness” they only try to abuse Hindu Festivals). I think these claims are not totally wrong but they are not totally right also, because if this was the case then people like Asharam and Gurmeet Singh(who called himself Ram-Rahim which I believe is an insult to two great faiths) would never have gone to jail. The society is conservative society which every society is but not misogynist.
The Indian people have some reservations when it comes to Bollywood celebrities at large and that is understandable because Bollywood has been at the forefront or I would say the main accused in objectifying women. Even the beauty pageant winners who claims to be feminist and that is their right, often are not very good at their crafts and indulge into objectification of women.
The Future Of the MOvement
Does that mean the movement should be closed altogether?
“Agitation rarely changes anything on the ground, but education does it regularly.” – Atal
Human beings are evolving creatures and especially mantally evolving creatures as some of us are able to think and many can be taught how to think. I come from a liberal family(so liberal that girls went to Convent and the boy to government Hindi school) but from a conservative town in my teenage and the college for most of us the life between girls and boys are secluded and we were only talking about one thing and lemme tell you the thing about the popular boys among the girls, they were and are worst in their thinking till now. The process of my thinking changed with my ability to decipher english language and american sitcoms and when I completely stopped Bollywood shit. The agitation should continue as an education drive as well as a movement to seek proper justice (some people are only seeking social media fame) but should not continue as an all annihilating madness.
Atal – Writer Bharat Bhagya Vidhata