Rarely, it would so happen that an experience is both liberating and occupational, simultaneously. The digital media gave a “personal” space to people. With increased trolling, abuses and rape threats, social media platforms are now more poisonous than being fruitful.
Earlier, decent debates would take place on wide range of topics including philosophy, business, politics, art, culture, sex and gender, atrocities and resistance. India’s phenomenal diversity is traumatised now and everything has been reduced to abusing women.
Men would abuse women, women would abuse women, leaders, politicians and police would be more irresponsible and generate these abusers and trolls. When the entire political machinery busied itself to strengthen patriarchy and spoke venom against Safoora Zargar, a student at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, her younger sister penned down a beautiful lovely letter.
“It’s been too many days since we have spoken,” She wrote to her sister, who would always laugh at the latter’s over-optimism. Their grief cannot be fathomed, for their pain is incessant.
Safoora’s baby inside her womb and she—as innocent as the baby—would witness the brute of the state. In a democratic country this would not have happened in the first place. Now, after the duo was imprisoned, She was slut-shamed, slandered and stigmatized. Her private life was questioned and suddenly her unborn child became the talk of the town.
Everybody was suddenly watching her. Millions of eyes were on one woman. What would she be feeling is nothing less than being molested by those millions of eyes.
Here is a similar story. Lens—A film by director Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan that should be watched by those abusing women day in and day out. Released in 2016, the masterpiece by Radhakrishnan is more important for India now than when it was released.
In the film, Aravind, addicted to webcams and voyeurism, uploaded a video of Yohan and his wife Angel’s private moment which went viral on social media. Afterwards, she committed suicide. Before ending her life, she in a monologue, showed some placards one by one.
“My name is Angel…I cannot speak but can hear all…But one day Yohan proposed…Those were the best days of my life…I became pregnant, we became excited…But something terrible happened…Our most private moment we’re on the internet…We were shattered…You all were watching us without any shame…It felt like million eyes molesting me…Every day I realised the video will never be removed… Someday our child will see it…That thought hurt me in my stomach…My fear killed my baby…If only the camera had not recorded us…At least if it had not been uploaded…I would have had a normal life…I am going to kill myself before your lustful eyes.”
Social media, once thought to be liberating, could also be fatal. At least, Lens suggest the same. Over the years, lust from eyes traveled throughout the body and spread across the skies.
When a child is imprisoned, the mother tears the heavens apart. In Safoora’s case, both mother and child are imprisoned. Heavens are intact.
Amir Malik is a JNU alumnus and an ACJ graduate. He can be reached at [email protected]