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Why so surprised, asks Richa Chadha on uproar on violence against women


Chadha joins the growing list of artistes speaking up against the shaming of and violence against women.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Shriram Iyengar

Richa Chadha has always been an artiste who takes a strong stand. In her latest blog post, the actress spoke out against a society that continually victimizes its women.

In the detailed blog post, Chadha wrote, 'Hashtags are the new war zones... For a country where violence against the girl child starts in the womb, I am surprised at the number of people surprised at the enormity of the #MeToo campaign. Unless you have been in hibernation in the Himalayan caves for the past millennium, there is no way you would not know that sexual assault — verbal or visual — and gender violence are the rites of passage for the average Indian girl.'

The actress's post spoke about the #MeToo movement on social media, which emerged after the exposé of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as an abuser of women.

Priyanka Chopra's statement that "there is not just 'a Harvey Weinstein' in Hollywood, there are many. It happens everywhere" has also turned attention to the Indian film industry.

Chadha went on to say that with a 'skewed' gender ratio of 1000 men to 940 women, it is no surprise that violence against women is so rampant in India. She even blamed those in power saying, 'Each time we are outraged at a woman’s modesty being outraged, a slew of insensitive, irresponsible and downright moronic comments echo from all quarters of our political leadership. Governments change, but the attitude doesn’t. Bhaktroll or Libtard, Right or Left, sexism is the one thing that unites our leaders cutting across barriers of region, religion, caste and class. Why don’t we start a new party called United Sexist Front — a revolutionary re-imagining of governments and the opposition. Women can join it too and then everyone can watch porn in Parliament with glee.'

As for the critics of the Hindi film industry who blame it for promoting a sexist narrative, Chadha said, "Hear all, don’t blame ‘Bollywood’. That is too simplistic a deduction. In the Mahabharata, Draupadi was traded as property in gambling and Goddess Sita was abducted by another man in the Ramayana (assuming you think of mythology and history in the same way), which was before the advent of films.' 

She went on to add that ‘Bollywood’ hasn't invented rape, torture, stalking and assault. 'This also happens in countries where there is no film industry.'

‘Bollywood’ is not blameless either, she continued: 'Films reflect the reality of society and also shape popular culture. But my colleagues are taking charge of the narrative. Our content is evolving a little every year which is more than what I can say for most.'

Known for her strong acting choices, Chadha's recent blog post is also a sign of the need for the industry to change quite speedily.