The first time I saw the interview here I was aghast. Just reading whose interview it was made me cringe. Why are we giving hardened criminals so much space? Completely unnecessary, needless and worst of all, heartless. However, on seeing that it was a foreign publication I consoled myself thinking that they need these types of stories to peddle their own agenda – of showing increase of rapes in India, of denouncing death penalty or of speaking for human rights of criminals. There’s no politer way to say this.
However, just reading it brought back all those horror stories of the Nirbhaya rape to mind. Stories I thought were embedded in the deep recesses of my mind forever, came back to cause unease and disquiet. Stories that were related to not just Nirbhaya, but various other such cases, which may not have got the same attention, but which were equally if not more horrific, haunted me again. It was like reopening a wound that I thought had healed. But, when the mere thought of these incidents shook me into another abyss of helplessness and rage, I realized that such wounds rarely heal. The only healing that probably happens is when you hear that the perpetrators are behind bars rotting for life in some dark jail. Maybe sometimes you even wish death for such people.
And then I saw an NDTV poster proclaiming “India’s Daughter” and “for the first time, the face of Evil, the rapist speaks on camera.” Yes, it was about the rapist who killed Nirbhaya. It made me sicker from within. I could not concentrate on anything for the longest time. I tried to reason with my mind on all the possible reasons that may be thrown at me on why this interview should be aired. From how will you know evil if you don’t hear his horrendous thoughts to even a rapist has freedom of speech, nothing, nothing could convince me into believing why this interview should be aired. We all know the gory details of what he and his friends did that day. If we hear it in this NDTV exclusive, will the crime change or will it be any less horrific? Or will anyone develop feelings of forgiveness towards him? Why give space to a perverted, macabre rapist? Why NDTV why?
We do not worry about the human rights of the terrorist.We still feel. We still care. And we do so for the right people.
If I, a commoner and a mother can get so agitated at this very thought, how would the parents of Nirbhaya feel? A horror which they must be reliving through court cases every day, now gets a fresh lease of life through this heavily publicised interview. With this cashing in on somebody’s pain, NDTV has shown that it can beat its own past record and reach a newer, lower nadir.
In its mad rush for TRPs, did the geniuses at NDTV even for a moment, try to fathom the plight of the parents of Nirbhaya? If a child is alive after the horror of rape, getting her to live life without negativity and cynicism is the biggest challenge parents face. But if memories are all they have of their child, then just visualize the parents looking at his/her toys, clothes, school/college bags and photographs ever so often, fighting tears. They must be choking at every memory of a dear little child they cared for, only to have it snatched away rudely by some depraved criminal who could not control his lust. And now, dear NDTV as a TV channel, you want THEM to “hear the evil?”
Families who have been devastated by this very evil – brothers who lost their sisters, husbands who have lost wives and of course parents, who have lost their daughters – are those who must be cringing right now. And dear NDTV, if by any chance they react to this interview favourably, please do not think they are endorsing what you do. When you have lost what you cherished the most in the world, the inner resilience and inertness you develop towards pain and sorrow is something a channel hunting for TRPs can probably never see or recognise.
And so, dear NDTV, I’ll ask you politely: please, it’s my request to refrain from airing this interview of this horrendous person. We all know evil and we all know the horrors of rape and unlike you, we all still have hearts that feel for others’ pain. So when a soldier dies on the border, we imagine how his family must be living without him, when a cop sacrifices his life but keeps a terrorist alive so that we get information about the attacks, we feel for that cop who died on duty. We do not worry about the human rights of the terrorist. We still feel. We still care. And we do so for the right people.
But if you do, too, care for the right people, you will not air that interview, NDTV. Because by airing an interview of a proven scumbag, you are doing the society no good. In speaking to a rapist, you are giving him publicity when all he needs is to be is rotting in a black hole. It is said that the evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones. And if anyone asks me for a real life example for this saying, I will just point them to the footage of your “exclusive interview of evil”—if you decide to air it.
The author is a commentator on current affairs.