Ten years after Nirbhaya shook our conscience, cases of rapes have only risen. Is sexual perversion in the name of entertainment the hidden trigger? Renowed author-information commissioner Uday Mahurkar shares his views on his viral film with Rohan Dua.
Calling for a nationwide movement replicating the scale and impact of the 2011 anti-corruption movement, renowned author, historian and India’s Central Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar has launched a campaign against sexual perversion promoted by OTT, Social Media and Bollywood.
Holding such vulgar content responsible for increasing crimes against women, Mahurkar has jointly released a poignant video with movingpixelspl featuring a young girl who is shown blaming OTT, Bollywood and Social Media platforms for selling perversion in the name of creativity.
A decade has passed since the agonizing Nirbhaya case triggered a furore resulting in stringent rape laws. However, the data on crime against women from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows rape cases have only gone up over the years.
While, it could be due to the fact that more cases are now being reported due to greater sensitization, one view is that the menace of crimes against women cannot be curbed with laws alone. The need for a socio-cultural movement to rewire the lens with which women are looked at as sex objects has been felt by many experts.
Mahurkar says he has stepped in to fill in this vacuum with his campaign named Save Culture, Save Nation. The 2-minute video broke the internet sparking debate on the role played by the content industry in increasing crimes against women.
Sharing yet again with some addition this powerful video made on my initiative by @movingpixelspl as part of my #SaveCultureSaveNation movement. It’s viral across India. Appeals to nation to unite against sexual perversion on OTT,social media & other platforms resulting in rapes. pic.twitter.com/jTIA2aTgbU
— Uday Mahurkar (@UdayMahurkar) January 1, 2023
Interestingly, the video also comes at a time when there has been a massive backlash against one of the biggest films to be released this year, starring two reigning superstars of Bollywood – Pathaan- for promoting vulgarity in its song.
In this episode of Crossfire, Uday Mahurkar pins the blame for crime against women squarely on the content industry and calls for a nation-wide movement against OTT, Social media platforms and Bollywood for making money out of deliberate vulgarity triggering sexual perversion.
Excerpts from the interview
Rohan Dua: You released a video questioning vulgarity being promoted by films and OTT content and resulting in crime against women. It comes at a time when the Nirbhaya case that triggered a nation-wide furore completes 10 years and also when Bollywood films like Pathaan are facing a backlash for promoting vulgarity. What is the objective of this campaign featuring a young girl?
Uday Mahurkar: I have been bothered by this phenomenon of popular culture dishing out sexual perversion in the name of creativity and entertainment since the release of the film Jism, 18 years back. Nirbhaya’s mother shocked everyone by saying that crimes against women have only increased over these years. She has already lent her support to this cause.
Rohan Dua: But who do you blame for increasing cases of rapes?
Uday Mahurkar: I am blaming the content industry. Now, we have a situation where sexual perversion has reached such a level that even little girls as young as 3 years old are not being spared and the content industry is to be blamed for it. Sexual perversion has become a challenge for the nation. Pornographic content is easily accessible on social media platforms, OTT. Films have been a corrupting influence as well.
Rohan Dua: If the problem has been identified, then the onus lies with regulatory bodies or the absence of such bodies.
Uday Mahurkar: The regulatory bodies are doing their job. The law on digital platforms which is yet to be implemented is quite strong. For the first time the producer will be held accountable for the content they make. But this is a larger societal problem and the nation has to unite against it in the same emotive way, it rose up against corruption in the anti-graft movement of 2011. Countries like Dubai, China, Singapore have dealt with this issue with an iron fist.
Young boys have access to pornographic content through Facebook and Instagram where they watch clips promoting corrupt ideas. This has a negative impact on how young boys perceive women. Sexual perversion is a demon that can enter any house. Recently, a 15-year old girl was gangraped by eight people for 12 hours. These things don’t disgust us anymore.
So, the country has to now unite to protect impressionable minds from being influenced by the constant stream of sexual content easily available to them. Constant exposure to such content also makes us lose sensitivity towards these crimes. Crimes against women have been normalized.
Rohan Dua: Do you think actors like Shah Rukh Khan or Deepika Padukone who have come in for criticism for their song Besharam Rang can be blamed for promoting vulgarity? Who does the onus lie with?
Uday Mahurkar: Onus lies with anyone who is involved in the process of content creation.
Rohan Dua: Such as?
Uday Mahurkar: If I have to talk about OTT platforms like Netflix, MX player and others. In case of Social Media – Facebook, Instagram
Rohan Dua: One could say these are only content intermediaries.
Uday Mahurkar: No they can’t escape responsibility. When you make money by selling sexual perversion that’s directly linked increasing rapes, you can’t shrug off blame. A serial rapist in the US admitted to the fact that access to pornographic content drove him rape more women. The time has come to punish anyone who makes money out of the worst impulses of people.
Rohan Dua: Who are the people will you reach out to for this campaign?
Uday Mahurkar: If India has to become Vishwa Guru, we have to rid ourselves of the disease of sexual perversion. To be a vishwa guru, we have to nurture our spiritual side. I will reach out to spiritual gurus like Ramdev, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar, Swami Avdesh Anandj ji, Swami Chidanand ji . I am going to go to Haridwar, I am going to meet the people who hold the reigns in Gayatri parivar. I will reach out to the people in Mathura, Varanasi. They can help amplify the message of this campaign, and spread awareness among their followers. I will meet personally, or write letters to them. They can play a very big role.
Rohan Dua: Why can’t the government play a role in this?
Uday Mahurkar: Government is doing its job. They have come up with a strong law to reign in online content creators.
Rohand Dua: Many BJP MPs like Hema Malini, Sunny Deol are celebrities themselves associated with the entertainment industry for a long time. Don’t you think it would be appropriate to form a committee of these celebs to deal with regulation of such content?
Uday Mahurkar: That’s a good suggestion. Anyone who wants to contribute to this cause is welcome.