Swara Bhaskar should be the last person to accuse anyone else of being a ‘rape apologist’

The nation’s conscience was shaken up when the gruesome details of the rape and murder of the eight-year-old in Kathua were made public. The heinous crime took place in January this year but the charge sheet was made public earlier this month which led to a lot of anger among people and understandably so.

Bollywood, which usually stays silent on sexual harassment in their own industry, too came forward in unison to protest against the rape, highlighting the fact that the rape allegedly took place inside a ‘temple’. Lot of people, including Swara Bhaskar, Kareena Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, whose new film Veere Di Wedding is due to release soon, held the placard emphasising how they are ‘Hindustan’ and how the rape took place inside ‘Devi-sthan’. Keeping aside the fact that their conscience doesn’t wake up when rapes take place inside mosques or on rampant child abuse in churches, their selective outrage got them slammed on Twitter.

Amidst all this, Swara Bhaskar, daughter of Ira Bhaskar, who teaches cinema studies in JNU and was also on the Censor Board (I am sure she has achieved all that she has in the film industry on her own and her Censor Board member mother had absolutely nothing to do with it), who felt reduced to a vagina after watching Padmaavat, came down heavily on those who called out her hypocrisy.

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On an aside, Swara’s mother, Ira is one of the 14 ‘intellectuals’ and flag bearers of feminism, who insisted that ‘due process’ is followed when someone accuses an academic of sexual harassment. Ira Bhaskar had passive-aggressively implied that victim may be lying about sexual harassment and hence the accusations may be unsubstantiated. Swara, at that time, did not call out her mother for being a rape apologist.

Recently, Swara got into a spat over Twitter with columnist Shefali Vaidya, who called to boycott films by placard Bollywood activists for bringing religion and maligning Hinduism and Hindus for rape.

While I don’t really condone boycotting products or people as a means to protest, Vaidya, just like everyone else, has her right to express her anger within means of law. However, Swara thought Vaidya, who has very vehemently raised her voice against crimes against women and children, was being a ‘rape apologist’.

She was joined by other ‘Bollywood journalist’ who also equated the pointing out of hypocrisy as being a rape supporter.

This is a bit rich coming from Swara, a Sociology graduate from one of the most prestigious universities of India, JNU, she glorified stalking, a crime numerous women are a victim of, and called it an ‘unapologetic celebration of crazy love’.

She dismissed the criticism of the cinematic depiction of a love-obsessed man who fell in love with an unattainable girl, who does not give in to his advances in the film Raanjhanaa, which brought stalking alive on the celluloid. She justified it by saying the actor was ‘rendered endearing in his naïve innocence’.

She invoked her inner feminist after watching Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat and said the movie glorified ‘jauhar’ i.e. committing suicide rather than get oneself raped by barbaric invaders who want to keep you as a sex slave and force religious conversions. She downplayed the brutality of 13th century Islamic invaders under the veil of feminism. She said you would not choose jauhar (assuming she meant if she were a 13th century Rajput woman facing Islamic invasion with almost certain fate of being a sex slave for rest of your life) and would live as a sex slave.

In the face of her recent activism, once would certainly wonder if Swara is the original rape apologist. A woman who questioned another woman’s decision to commit suicide rather than spend her life as a sex slave in a barbaric Islamic invader’s harem. One who can attach religion to rape. One who glorifies stalking. One who picks and chooses which victim she wants to support depending on the narrative that would suit her politics. One who rather demean other women than look within. And incidentally, one who speaks up against the suffering of her fellow women only when she has a movie slated for release.


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