By Minerwa Tahir NEWS DESK: India, without a shadow of doubt, is a deeply patriarchal society just like its other South Asian neighbors. Given the centuries of misogynist conditioning, it comes as no surprise that star after star is speaking out in favor of the man in the Hrithik Roshan-Kangana Ranaut controversy. Related...
By Minerwa Tahir
NEWS DESK: India, without a shadow of doubt, is a deeply patriarchal society just like its other South Asian neighbors. Given the centuries of misogynist conditioning, it comes as no surprise that star after star is speaking out in favor of the man in the Hrithik Roshan-Kangana Ranaut controversy.
The Hrithik Roshan-Kangana Ranaut saga, what was essentially a fight between two individuals who were allegedly dating (as Kangana claims and Hrithik denies), seems to be getting out of hand. First, Farhan Akhtar wrote an open letter, which was seemingly neutral, but was clearly biased in favor of the man. While Farhan urged everyone in the end of his letter not to ‘discriminate against’ Hrithik and vilify him before all facts were presented and confirmed, he did not demand the same for Kangana.
Now, another Bollywood star has spoken out in favor of Hrithik in yet another open letter. This time, it’s a woman: Yami Gautam.
According to Pinkvilla, “Hrithik’s Kaabil co-star Yami Gautam has come out and written an open letter wherein her support for Hrithik is quite visible. In her letter, Yami is seen requesting people to not give this a gender issue color for this will do more harm than good.”
I am usually not very vocal on social media, but I am making an exception today, since as a woman, what I am seeing right now terrifies me.
This is concerning the matter surrounding two of the biggest stars in our industry. I have, fortunately, had the opportunity to work with one of them. However, I am not writing this as a co-star or even as a friend. I am writing this as a woman and a concerned citizen of the country, and I will try to get my point across as succinctly and as objectively as possible.
I am no legal expert. And I am not privy to the details of the case. I know what has been reported in the media, and I am all for good, honest reporting. However, somehow, the tussle has turned into a gender war, with a certain faction of the society having already declared the man guilty. People have presumed that since he is a man, he must be the guilty party, since that is how it has always been. Men have oppressed women in one way or another for centuries, and it’s being presumed that it is the same in this case, too.
And that’s dangerous. Whatever happened to innocent, until proven guilty? Whatever happened to letting the law take its own course? Yes, a lot of times, at least in this country, we have take to the streets to get justice. But that’s not the case here. The police is investigating, and both the parties are privileged enough that they can represent themselves in court and fight this out legally. Sadly, our law and order is sort of classist, but let’s not digress.
Here is why this vilification of a man based on make-believe evidence is dangerous. If the gender-card is allowed to take precedence over facts and objectivity, it will be a serious blow to the on-going efforts of getting women an equal standing with the opposite sex. If this baseless trial-by-media is allowed to continue, where one party has been presumed to be guilty, there is a good likelihood that people might lose faith in this equal-rights-for-all movement that has picked up momentum in India only in recent years.
I am not exonerating anyone here. I am also not suggesting malice by any one party. All I am saying is, let’s not make it a fight between genders. Let’s keep it a fight between two people who may or may not have corresponded in the past. Let the facts be unearthed and until then, let’s reserve our judgements.
Just because this is a fight between a man and a woman does not mean it has to be a fight between genders. Making everything a gender issue can easily distract us from addressing legit sexist issues that plague our society.
I wonder if any Bollywood star will pen a letter demanding a stop to the vilification of Kangana until ‘all facts are presented and confirmed’?