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A film on rape: Maunam Pesumpothu, Women are not always victims, not all men perpetrators


Nisha Pontathil’s Maunam Pesumpothu (Breaking the Silence) is one of the many films that emerged from the coruscating moment of December 16, 2012 in Delhi. It is born from anger and rage and, as a consequence has both great strengths and terrible weaknesses.
In terms of form, the film is not very creative. Like most documentaries in India, it is mainly talking heads, has a linear narrative and a certain developmental telos. Given the subject matter of the film, which is violence against women, this has some deeply troubling ethical consequences. Throughout, the viewer is subjected to narratives that are very uncomfortable in that they border on the voyeuristic and the exhibitionist. Women show us bruises on their bodies, they describe in graphic detail the rapes they suffered.

This is one of the abiding problems that the women’s movement has not addressed. There is a politics of exploitation and possible voyeurism to the representation of violence against women, no matter how noble the intention. Maunam Pesumpothu would have been a great opportunity to explore this but it settles instead for what it presumes is the bald and naked truth of the violence against women. The camera stays frontal and the vision is journalistic veritas.

The film, as a whole, is fuelled by righteous rage. Rage has been one of the most productive fuelling inspirations for women but it also has destructive effects. As images of violence pile up one upon the other, the film gets suffocatingly caught in the binary between victimised women and victimiser men. In this binary battering, all nuance is lost. A feminist activist locates the family as the locus of all the problems. It is lost. A veteran journalist from Chennai speaks of men and the need for them to engage with the women’s movement. It is lost too.

As the film travels the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu, covering different forms of violence against women, we are left with a sense of an opportunity lost. Most issues are in the film: caste, institutional violence, family violence, custodial violence, domestic violence, sexual violence. Bu none of them are actually teased out in ways that make us think about how to deal with them.

Nisha Pontathil, the debutant director, who is broadening the film into a nation-wide canvas needs to re-think the form and content of it in serious ways. At a recent screening of the film at The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM), Tamil Nadu’s TISS campus in scenic Kovalam off the ECR, Pontathil spoke with great passion about what turned her into a film-maker. Pontathil has been of late doing superb coverage of South India in the dying Tehelka magazine. But there were also many problems in what she said. From blaming women for not lodging complaints to focusing only on young people to bring in change which is a form of ageism, Pontathil needs to re-think her politics too. The young MA students asked her difficult questions even as they were deeply and affectively moved by the film.rape2

One of the big issues that came up in the discussion was that of complicity. Narratives of breaking the silence (the title of the film) presume there is a simple equation of women’s oppression, silence and the need to break that silence. The situation is, of course, much more complex. Women are often complicit with the violence against them, some women are complicit with the violence against other women, men are not only victimisers, they are in complicated ways victims too and alienating them by straitjacketing them into the victimizer category inhibits change and perpetuates violence.

There is a need to start a conversation on violence against women or men. Pontathil, it is hoped, will make of this film in her expanded version, the first step in that direction.

 

Current Affairs

Delhi-Based Couple’s Wedding Invite Is Going Viral..Here’s Why

A Delhi-based couple has decided to invite people to their wedding with their hatke invitations and it’s going viral on Twitter.

Marriage is a union of two people, who begin a new lease of life by taking vows and making their way into a beautiful commitment! To celebrate the unison, an extravagant affair is planned that last for almost a week. And when it comes to Indian weddings, people sometimes go the extra mile to make their D-day memorable. A Delhi-based couple is the latest addition to the list, who decided to invite people to their wedding with their hatke invitations.

Twitter handle, @Stuprous_doctor, a short while ago tweeted the images of a trendy wedding invite, said to be that of Suresh Kumar and Vidhya Priyanka BD, and Twitterati just lost it. Molded in the form of an iPhone, allegedly created by Kumar’s cousin, the invites is generating a hype for its interesting design. In accordance to a BuzzFeed report, Kumar said that despite the fact that theirs was an arranged marriage, it was speedy to bloom into love and they wanted to publicize their big decision in a “weird, quirky way” to the world.

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Meet this lucky man who gets paid to have s3x with prostitutes

‘John’ is 60, divorced, and gets paid to have s3x with prostitutes. Well, “more often than not it’s just a handjob” he says.

He is one of several private investigators being hired in Australia as ‘brothel busters’, who pose as regular customers in order to unearth illegal s3x work.

“I’m pretty sure plenty of fellas would be a bit envious of how I’m earning a bit of pocket money from time to time,” he told news.com.au, replying when asked whether it was a good retirement gig: “Oh, most definitely.”

His job is necessary because authorities have little power to access premises without a court order, making it difficult to bust the brothels posing as massage parlours that are ubiquitous in New South Wales.

John can provide them with highly graphic detail about the services on offer however, filing reports that can run for up to three pages and include dates, times, people, places, who, what, when, where and how much.

“It’s a document that will be used in court, so it has to be pretty detailed and very accurate. It’s not something you can waddle off in a couple of minutes,” he said.

More often than not, he claims, the parlours are fronts.

“If you looked hard enough, you might be able to find a massage parlour that doesn’t offer s3xual services,” he said. “In my experience there have only been three premises where I have gone in and not been offered that service some time during the course of the treatment.”

John notes that while some offer intercourse which he obligingly accepts, “more often than not it’s just a handjob. They just want to get it over and done with and get the next one in.”

Lachlan Jarvis, managing director of private investigation firm Lyonswood, is in charge of hiring undercover s3x investigators.

“We prefer people who are single, and obviously they have to be willing to undertake s3xual activity,” he told news.com.au.

 “I’m not surprised that some people would say that spending ratepayers’ money on the services we provide is outrageous, but they don’t understand that we help stop s3x trafficking, for example.”
John counts himself lucky to have what is a fairly relaxed and flexible job.
“It’s not your typical nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday job,” he said. “There are no time constraints, and there’s never been a stage where I’ve felt threatened or worried about my safety.”
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Once She was a Shepherd Girl In Morocco, Now France’s Education Minister! Inspirational Story.

Once A Shepherd Girl In Morocco, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem Is Now France’s Education Minister!
Everybody dreams of making it big in life but very few determined souls really act upon it. The story of Najat Vallaud-Belkacem is a testament to this, who overcame all the obstacles life laid at her feet and carved her own destiny.
Once a shepherd girl of four – who fetched water from the well – Najat moved to France with her family and faced the real world full of opportunities as well as struggles. The Moroccan girl who had no proficiency in French learnt the language by the end of her first year in college.
“The fact of leaving one’s country, one’s family, one’s root can be painful, my father had already found his place, but for us, for my mother, it was very difficult to get our bearings.”

Najat inherited hard work and resourcefulness from her father who laid strict rules for his daughters – no boys and no nightclubs till the age of 18. As a result, the girls completely surrendered themselves to studies.
Najat’s sister, Fatiha, is a lawyer in Paris.
While studying at the University of Amiens, Najat got the opportunity to pursue higher education with the prestigious Institut d’études politiques de (also known as Sciences Po). This set her on the path winding the political landscape in France.

Najat worked two jobs to take the financial load off her parents while pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration. It is during this time she met Boris Vallaud, a fellow student, and the two married in 2005.


Najat’s political career began with her joining the Socialist Party as an adviser to the mayor of Lyon. She later ran for elections and won the seat of the Councillor. In 2012, she was appointed as the Minister of Women’s Affairs by François Hollande, the then Socialist president.
In 2014, she served as the Minister of Women’s Right, Minister of City Affairs, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports. In a major cabinet shuffle, she was promoted to serve as the Minister of Education. While advising the youth who want to participate in the country’s politics, Najat said, “I have always advised the youths to get involved in politics. The best way to be happy with your future is by playing a part in it. If you’re just a spectator of collective fate, you’re bound to feel frustrated.”

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