Anurag Kashyap Explains His Stand – On Rape, Feminism, His Short Film and more

Posted: July 7, 2014 by moifightclub in Guest Post, News
Tags: , , ,

anurag--300x300Dear All,

When I am not making movies – which is thankfully rarely – my favourite pastime is to get fundamentally quoted without the context. Blame the lack of space in newspapers today with all those advertisements accounting for most of it. It helps to keep our conversation going, you see. And it has happened again. My whole conversation has been reduced to one line that’s being knocked around, “rape is a bad accident says anurag kashyap”

Fun though it is, I think it’s time I speak for myself and not let some out-of-context quote in a paper, or an edited version of a half-an-hour conversation do the talking.

Sitting here in Karlovy Vary I have been inundated with texts and mails about an interview of mine, that has of course, as always, been completely misread.  It does not help that a long conversation has been reduced to a paragraph, but credit to the writer that he does mention that the now-controversial paragraph is the point of view of a woman and not my own.

The reactions on various social platforms do prove that in anger the opinionists also turn blind, and they actually read what they want to, so that they can rage over it, rather than seeing it and arguing healthily over it.

I don’t mean to spoil the rage party, but let me try to bring some context here.

Recently, I was in conversation with a woman, who quoted an old article she had read in The Times of India oped page, years ago.  That article profiled a courageous rape survivor, a European woman living in India, who after being gang raped, actually fought for a fair trial for her rapists and a lighter sentence. She strongly protested any baying for blood or vengeful mindset. She was in fact ridiculed and vilified for standing up for justice for her own rapists. When asked why she did it – she said that she would treat the trauma of her rape the same way she would treat the trauma of being in a terrible car crash. She would try to heal from it, she would want the irresponsible perpetrators punished, but she would not allow the crime to gain greater significance than she felt it was due. Any greater assignment of meaning to her own rape would be to give in to a male view of the female gender. She also believed that her identity and her dignity did not reside between her legs, but between her ears.

The woman friend of mine who told me about this case, also mentioned that this article made her rethink the concepts of honour, izzat,  dignity and personal identity, for years to come.

What was read as my comment or statement in the HINDU were actually “questions” raised by the survivor, which were then subsequently narrated to me by another woman and by me to Sudhish Kamat who writes it like it is but not all of it, which by now is attributed to me as my quote. Those questions stayed with me and bothered me, and made me question things, because I felt that there was a certain truth to them.

I am not so good at articulation without my camera, but let me try and elucidate the point my female friend was making: No woman invites rape, rape is never ever the woman’s fault, and no woman would chose it – if the choice was a viable one. But in a situation where the choice is between life and rape, a woman might just choose the latter. If her choice is ‘life’, why is that very life taken away from her, once she is raped? Why is she called stuff like ‘zindaa laash’ and why does the entire focus shift to ‘honour’ rather than to ‘healing’? To ‘punishment’ rather than to ‘rehabilitation’? When does the male gaze take over, such that even the extent of the victim’s physical and mental bruising is decided for her by others?

Why is she never granted the quiet she so sorely needs? She is frequently dragged out by the social worker to narrate her story again and again, she relives the trauma again and again, she is used to make a point. should that not be a choice. the choice of the survivor.

The woman who told me this story also said that she often puts a very difficult binary choice to her female friends: Such as: burnt alive, or rape? Dismembered, or rape? Acid attack, or rape? Horrible though it sounds, when given a choice like this, many women went quiet. The horror of rape, when pitted against other ghastly horrors, acquired a perspective. Not that of being ‘fine’ or ‘acceptable’ but often, of the lesser evil – if other brutalities or violence was not involved.

Does this mean any of us is trivializing rape here? Far from it. It is a violent, traumatic, battering, violating experience. All I want to say is that let us not add male notions of honour and purity to it. That is like adding insult to the injury.

The point is about not having a choice. When one is raped, there often is no choice. When one has the option of fight or flight one uses it but often neither option is available. It is the same in a bad accident. You do not have a choice but you go through the brutality .

However, what happens afterward is telling. When in a bad accident, the victim goes to the doctor or a hospital, tries to recuperate, allows oneself to heal, the victim is rehabilitated or allowed to rehabilitate.

And the one who causes the accident is punished.

My distress with our social network-ists is that they assume they understand rape simply because they are women. Rape is not that easily understood and it is not a gender’s prerogative to do so.

In this world men are raped too and more so in our society, in this part of the world. I am also a victim of rape and I have healed a lot more than most because the world was not fussing over me.

Suddenly there is a new term being thrown around, VAW (violence against women) well, coming to VAW, VAW is not the same as rape, VAW includes rape but rape has a much broader bracket that includes the other gender too and also the one we most often don’t consider a gender, the transgenders, who are the biggest victims of the said crime..How I look at Violence? You can’t wish it away, laws will not and can’t control it, it has existed since the mankind has existed, violence against animals, violence against humanity, all kinds of violence exists and will continue to as long as people are not equal. as long as two people will have different strengths and ability, there will always be a power struggle and there will be violence. The weak will always be violated by the strong and it is not gender specific. You can police it. regulate it .. there is violence in sport but is regulated. the perpetrator is always shown a yellow card, then a red card and then is barred from the field and if he/she continues, is banned from the game for life. Only physical assault does not constitute violence, emotional blackmail is also violence, mind games are also violations, misusing nirbhaya laws is also violence and rise in that VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN since those laws have been constituted, was even commented on by the Supreme court just last week. Every solution will create a new problem. anyway i am digressing here..its a never-ending discourse.

If I had to discuss or argue about rape, I would much rather do so with the victims and survivors than with a feminist.Why? Because I get a strong feeling that the Indian feminist is very hard to talk to, because he/she doesn’t listen. He/She has a fully formed opinion etched in stone and will give no space to accommodate any other point of view.

Indian feminists start with the agenda already defined, and hence there is no room for any other opinion or position. Feminists are always eager to adopt any woman with a strong voice as their own. We saw our film “Queen” being immediately adopted by them as a feminist film. Let me say here that neither is Vikas Bahl a feminist, nor am I, and we both love and respect women as we do men: as people, as human beings. Isn’t that the way it should be?

Queen was not intended to be a feminist film, it was the love and respect for this human being and her story that came through, the film was not pro woman or anti men. It was a story of a girl finding her own self and how she does it on her terms.

I know a lot of women who the feminists project as their own and these women hate it, they hate it because they don’t see themselves that way but don’t say it out loud because they are mortally afraid of offending the feminists. The fear that the feminists inculcate even in women is especially peculiar.

Next. coming to my short film – well everything we do is not always a statement. The purpose of the film was not to offer a solution but to tell a story. I made a deal where I was obligated to do a short film for the platform it provided to five other young filmmakers around me who I think deserve more and so that they can showcase what they are capable of.  They made their shorts and the time came to do mine, we were running out of time, I was already late by a month. We were to do a short film and I had two days and the script was chosen from a bunch of scripts and purpose of the film was not to offer a solution. Purpose of the film was to tell a story, and this was the best of the lot, it had its issues but we did not have time to iron out the issues and in that story we tried to shoot it in a way , that one feels the harassmentThe ending was meant to be light hearted. We had no idea that it would go viral and that’s our shortcoming probably, we had no idea that it will be taken as my opinion and even after it was, it helped to bring forth so many points of view – and that wouldn’t have happened if that short did not exist.

I responded to and engaged with some sensible points but the angry, short sighted judgemental ones that came from twitter anger we chose to ignore. I refuse to take the responsibility of making a statement on behalf of a half baked -ism of this country through my work. I am not your voice so please stop expecting me to be, I am on my own journey and constructive points of views help me grow and understand things more, I have been taught not to be afraid to sound like an authority before I speak, I have been taught to speak freely because until and unless you don’t do that, there will not be debates and discussion and arguments.

I am my own voice and I speak for myself, and my life is an ongoing process, I have not come to any conclusions about anything in life, about you or me or cinema or rape or women or anything. I react, I think, I over react, I think too much and I think aloud. I am what I do and not what I am expected to do.

I don’t think I am that important in any scheme of things and I write this letter for the sake of the few people I actually care about, who are distressed, and  who urge me to have my say.

– Anurag Kashyap

(ps – To avoid further misunderstanding, let us clarify that he didn’t send us that profile pic of his to go with this post, we just googled and put one. Because just text looks bit drab)

  1. Rohwit says:

    Not to take the seriousness away from the matter, but this what happens when you leave social media. Come back to twitter!🙂

    • Ashish says:

      Love you Anurag. I am your biggest fan since the days of No Smoking . Watched Black Friday later. Waiting eagerly for Bombay Velvet.

  2. Anurag Kashyap says:

    without context and out of context are two very different things.. since i am not on twitter and can’t answer to everyone, especially @genderlog , stop misusing me to further your non argument and go back to School to learn how to read.

  3. Anurag Kashyap says:

    To @genderlogindia . will post my responses to you here , since i can read you and not respond.
    i don’t need to read self help books to understand feminism, if i feel i don’t get it i will revisit the “the second sex” again. your retorts on twitter say and prove my point that even when you read the article , or my letter , you read it with an agenda, probably for your fan base. i invite you for a face to face argument where you are not allowed to scream. dare you.

  4. abrain says:

    Well, you are right. Some people are hell bent on their agenda and dont want a conversation. I would just not use the term INDIAN feminists to categorize them. I know where you are coming from though.

    the need to outrage on twitter over very-obviously-out-of-context statements is bizzare.

  5. Alina says:

    Hi Anurag, as a 35 year old working woman let me say I agree with the substance of your comments and feel like you are being targeted unfairly for the Hindu interview. I’m in solidarity as far as revulsion of inflexible & dogmatic ideological positions of some feminists is concerned.

    I think though the Hindu interview is just a trigger. What is motivating this current attack on you though are your past comments in support of Tarun Tejpal in his rape case (it is common knowledge that the moderator of the @genderlog handle this week is a good friend of the survivor from the Tejpal case). The animus towards you is a result of those provocative comments; frankly, it was bizarre that you chose to make them in the first place!

    I don’t mean to bust open that can of worms again. Enough has been said about that case, it is now upto the courts to deliver its verdict & till then we should all hold our peace. I like you and I think you are part of the solution and not the problem when it comes to women’s rights.

    But don’t expect to get any feminist love any time soon. Especially from the @genderlog handle.

  6. Siddharth Kumar says:

    I genuinely don’t understand the need for an ‘Us’ and ‘them’ vis a vis Feminism. By definition feminism calls for equal rights and protection for women. When someone picks a film to be ‘feminist’ it is because they chose to explore a female character with a depth that predominantly male characters have been afforded (And this is a very blatant inequality.). Whether there is an intention for the film to be labelled ‘feminist’ is irrelevant.This is true of other films and also other causes.

    I must clarify that I do not actively work for any women’s rights organisations or groups but I consider myself a feminist because of the strive for equality it defines.

  7. It’s amazing how rape has become a non issue and my lack of understanding of feminism has become the big issue. The feminist ego is hurt. Says a lot about them

    • Siddharth Kumar says:

      It’s not a non issue. You make very valid points that many feminists I’m sure agree with. But why the choice to vilify as a combatant as opposed to critique as a supporter?

    • Naomi Barton says:

      I think it’s a fair stretch to attribute all Indian feminist opinions strictly to @genderlog, or to think that feminism is encapsulated by just their beliefs. I’m an Indian and intersectional feminist, and I don’t understand how people such as yourself, who are obviously sensitive to gender equality can say they’re not feminists, because equality and feminism are not mutually exclusive at all.

      It’s also saddening because despite your plea to take into account your own personal growth, your stature as a public influence means you do diminish the notion of feminism by disowning it – a lot of people won’t read the Second Sex and come to your conclusions, but simply believe that feminism is bad, period.

      I enjoyed the intellectual paradox that both your accident-analogy and short story provided. Still though, debate your understanding of feminism is – despite your protestations – representative of a lot of high-status males’ opinions on the subject. It is therefore a lot more subject to debate in nuance than, you know, just going “rape is bad” which doesn’t really need establishing anymore. We do need people such as yourself to embrace feminism and understand it, if we have any hope of making it mainstream in our country.

      Do hope this wasn’t too shouty-screamy.🙂.

  8. Sort of made me think conversations are easier and more constructive if we drop the slotting/tagging business. What’s the point of calling someone a feminist or being a self-proclaimed feminist in the first place. ideologies, faith , belief aren’t anyways etched in stone. They keep changing. Just like there are socialists who turn into capitalists. Makes more sense to leave the categorization to actions and not ideologies…one who commits a rape is a rapist, who directs a movie a director so on and so forth. “Indian feminists start with the agenda already defined, and hence there is no room for any other opinion or position. Feminists are always eager to adopt any woman with a strong voice as their own.” These comments further narrow down things making it seem like all feminists here have an inherent common trait in them which might not always be the case. I think just saying “No Queen was a human story, not a feminist one(whatever that means)” would have worked just as well🙂

  9. P.S respect to the courageous European rape survivor. What she did later is incredible!

  10. No name says:

    The more important question that is not leaving my mind is: Why are you wasting your precious time in the beautiful Karlovy Vary on ever outraging, red bindi wearing angry Behenji’s?!

    When have they ever known how to solve a problem?

  11. Ritika says:

    Hello Anurag. Read your piece and it was quite a practical one. Something very cut to cut. You know, something like- Ok rape done, what next. True but scary. I understand rape is a reality. I understand that there will be a power struggle and the one who is physically more powerful will over power the weak. And being a girl, as I right this I feel helpless. Should I accept that since I am physically not equal to a man I am vulnerable? Is there no way we can change this mindset? Should we concentrate on rehabilitation because we cannot avoid rape?

    • Yes it is scary. But to change mindsets one needs patience and tolerance and a lot of nurturing which the twitter feminists are incapable of. You can’t have fixed ideas and practice tolerance. People who rage and shout can’t change mindsets. You do it by doing it and it needs a mind that can reason patiently. These are not the people who can reason at all.

    • r s sahrawat says:

      I feel really really sad when any woman consider herself weak.In my long association with women which started with my mother and grand mother and then with lot of others,i found woman is very strong creature of God.She may not be physically equal to man in most of the cases but emotionally,spiritually she is way ahead of man.She is like mother earth. She can take lot of garbage and muck so that her surroundings remain peaceful but once it goes beyond a limit she explodes like a volcano engulfing those surroundings and destroying it.Maa Durga then becomes destroyer.Once a woman is violated by any beast,the man has given few words to it,like IZAAT LUT GAI etc.No, time has come when we should stop using these kind of phrase.The whole blame and shame should be on the beast and not on the woman.Society should start respecting her more like a brave soldier who just returned from a bloody war.

  12. wellwisher says:

    Its unfortunate that this article, maybe well intentioned, is logically very inconsistent. Kashyap first tries to make a point by using multiple false dichotomy logical fallacies. Then he shows his ignorance of the law by mentioning the SC’s judgement on 498(a) out of context. Then he commits another logical fallacy of hasty generalization by calling all feminists deaf. Then he does a Chetan Bhagat and becomes the spokesperson for all the women who despise the feminists for adoring them without mentioning the name of a single one. Then come some ad-hominem attacks and finally, he does a volte-face and claims to speak for himself. A little more clarity would have been welcome.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I just wish you’d read feminist theory, Anurag. Because we must scrutinize and examine our convictions or even opinions. All you opinions/views about feminisim/rape/tauma etc. that require critical thinking seem to come/inspired by this ‘friend’. genderlog suggests a book – Seeing Like a Feminist by Nivedita Menon. Give it a try. I highly recommend it.

  14. A lot of comments on twitter from the very obvious feminists says they don’t understand anymore from this letter than the alleged “misquote”. Well I don’t know what to say to them except if this is how low your IQ is then I worry for the women you fight for.
    Or the what Oscar Wilde says applies to you here, you won’t understand it simply because your whole existence depends on you not understanding it. You are the people who will eventually turn this whole fight for women rights into a joke and I foresee a day when you just won’t be taken seriously at all. After this I don’t think I need to bother about what any of you twitter feminists have to say. You are just going to make the world laugh at you. Maybe I will never understand your version of feminism but I seriously think you don’t get it yourself.

  15. Sandeep says:

    AK “Let me say here that neither is Vikas Bahl a feminist, nor am I, and we both love and respect women as we do men: as people, as human beings. Isn’t that the way it should be?”

    Definition of feminism “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”

    Tell me how Anurag Kashyap is not a feminist? I think this one of those instances of wrong definition of feminism. Feminism doesn’t mean being pro woman. It means demanding equal rights for humans irrespective of their gender. It means you consider woman’s ambitions just as important as man’s, it means that woman are human and should be treated likewise.

    I consider that AK is one of those directors who has shown female character who demand her rights beyond the bounds of social system, who shows her human side by expressing her desires. That is how feminists want it to be. By saying “I am anti-feminist”, He has not only separated himself from an ideology that he himself portrayed in his movies, but also helped grow negativity around the idea of equality.

    About “Angry feminist” argument, I am feminist, I barely speak about it. When you decide that a particular group is angry then all you can see is angry people who belong to that community, this essentially kills the dialog.

    • Imran D says:

      Sandeep, you just won me here.
      That’s exactly what i have said in my comments below. This is making me realise that Anurag is trying to please conservatives and anti-feminists who have grown in our country these days.

      No fucking person understands that Feminism is nothing but striving for equality. Period. Beyond that it is all lie and false.

  16. Reblogged this on ramblinginthecity and commented:
    Some important points in Kashyap’s interview. His discussion on rape is very nuanced and interesting. I learnt a lot from it. And his claim that films just tell stories and we interpret them the way we like is something all viewers ought to remember.

  17. Don’t get deterred by the social media or the obstinate brand of feminists, Anurag. There are plenty of us out there who are willing to listen and are happy to wade through layers of nuance and multiple POVs. For instance, the discussion on rape brought in by this post is worth a lot to me, so is the idea that it is factions of viewers that slot films into categories whereas we must first attempt to see a film for its narrative value. I reblogged this, hoping others too will appreciate your points. Well written!

  18. Deepak Sinha says:

    The media blatantly quotes people out of context, if only they also provided the context.

    ” I refuse to take the responsibility of making a statement on behalf of a half baked -ism of this country through my work. I am not your voice so please stop expecting me to be, I am on my own journey and constructive points of views help me grow and understand things more, I have been taught not to be afraid to sound like an authority before I speak, I have been taught to speak freely because until and unless you don’t do that, there will not be debates and discussion and arguments.
    I am my own voice and I speak for myself, and my life is an ongoing process, I have not come to any conclusions about anything in life, about you or me or cinema or rape or women or anything. I react, I think, I over react, I think too much and I think aloud. I am what I do and not what I am expected to do.”

    Thanks, for saying the above:):)

  19. khayalipulav says:

    Hi Mr. Kashyap, interesting to read a well articulated point of view of a film maker on Violence Against Women. I don’t want to sound like “an Indian feminist raging on twitter” but would still like to make a few arguments on the case you’re making. Please note here that your post is the first thing I’m reading on this matter since I’ve been away from social media for a while, so I’m just responding as a feminist interested in a conversation.

    Firstly, I call myself a feminist so it’s interesting to see how you typify that “species”, saying they have a set opinion and don’t listen and “Queen was not meant to be a feminist film”. A feminist is a person who wants the genders to be treated equally. Not the screaming, arguing barracuda that you’ve stereotyped her to. I have worked with some of those women who you say never listen and claim to understand VAW just because they’re women….a number of them also have decades of experience in talking and helping out victims of VAW, fighting their cases in courts, convincing their families to take them back after their husbands have thrown them out or even arranging employment for them if none of that works out. Many of them, though they choose not to highlight it, have been victims of VAW themselves. It is something that gives them the unrelenting drive to know that A CHANGE NEEDS TO COME IN OUR SOCIETY.

    I suspect, though I can’t be sure, that your exposure to these ‘oh so sanctimonious and rabble rousing’ feminists has been mostly in TV shows or heated debates about depictions of women in some of your films. So I think that you too have employed a strong prejudice (similar to the one that you’re a victim of) in judging WHY these feminists cry themselves hoarse asking for action on rape cases. You speak as if acid attacks, dowry deaths, gang rapes, honour killings all are crimes that happen in a vacuum, perpetrated by different kinds of people, with completely unrelatable motives. Is that really the case? As a journalist in Mumbai, I covered the gang rape of a college girl, who was courted by a guy for 6 months, then taken to a guest house on the pretext of a date and gangraped by him and 5 of his friends. She filed a police complaint only after being raped a second time, because the men had made a video of her first rape and the original guy’s brother and another friend raped her again, threatening to release the video. A woman in Lucknow became the victim of an acid attack on the day of her marriage because she refused a guy and he couldn’t take her refusal.

    You yourself prove my point when you say as long as power relations exist, this will happen…but does that mean that the current state of things is acceptable? 94% of rapes reported in this country are perpetrated by people known to the victim. The conviction rate is less than 2%. Women, in most cases don’t come out and talk about these crimes because they know what will follow…I also covered the Shiney Ahuja rape case in Mumbai and saw how the elite of the city casually dismissed it as “obviously a frame up” when that girl’s life was completely destroyed by the brutality of the society and the media…her family refused to take her back, she was under constant threat of harassment, lost her livelihood and of course now the whole world has forgotten about her and Mr Ahuja is out on bail.There are cases when women have been raped and then acid is thrown on them. Are you sure that a man who burns his wife has never raped her or beaten her up otherwise?

    You seem to have read a lot on Feminism, I haven’t read The Second Sex yet, but I would put forth the argument to you that all Violence Against Women is connected…it’s not an animal that lurks in jungles we can avoid, it is in the minds of people, especially a huge number of men and even women in this country. I agree that baying for the blood of a rapist doesn’t really help anyone but as far as I know, most feminist organisations, on principle are against the death penalty. But surely it is not wrong to ask for justice for the women as well. It is ONLY in the last couple of years that the media has started following rape cases closely, that too mostly the really horrific ones…according to just the reported cases there’s a rape every 15 minutes in the country, I recently read a report that the number of acid attacks in Delhi has risen from last year, and gang rapes in the small towns of Uttar Pradesh continue, regardless of the media hype around the Badaun case.

    My point is, there is something deeply disturbing in how our society is treating it’s women. In the Scandinavian countries, a small case of molestation gets international media coverage, and here we have politicians brushing gang rapes aside as mistakes, judges telling women that if they don’t cook good food, their husbands have a justification for hitting them and colleges banning jeans for girls. Surely those countries have power equations too? NGOs run by “the feminists” have been organising ‘gender sensitisation courses’ for cops, students, companies for decades now but we focus more and more on the woman’s body and less and less on her brain. Films, ads (mostly) tell women to look good, TV serials to save the family values and look after the children…according to some of the feminist theory I’ve read, it is this reduction of women to their ‘biological roles’ of wife, mother, daughter, wife, prostitute that creates stereotypes and makes society treat her as less than human. I would request you to look at the anger of “the feminists” in the light of the things I said above…for them it’s a reality they live every day, whether counselling victims, analysing laws, trying to get the state to take action, thinking of ways to fund their cause and STILL not being able to see a change in society.

    In the end I would just say that yes, being raped, in principle is better than being burnt alive. But what a terrible world when these are very real choices that our women might be making everyday. With all due respect to fairness, is it really comparable to the injustices being suffered by men?

    • Anurag Kashyap says:

      Khayalipulav.. I absolutely see your point and am not even arguing against it.. I work myself with people for rehabilitation of victims. But all the genuine and real work people are doing is somehow camouflaged by the ones that I encounter . For me be it any kind of violation, or treatment of people is the same..I will not separate it as against man or woman.. Children suffer the most in my experience..yes maybe I have formed a prejudice with the twitter feminists of india, but still at the same time get involved with women/men who are actually really working for the women of india. We work together with our contrasting views about things.. What you offer here is an argument and that’s healthy, makes me want to see things your way, but not the ones that I have been encountering so far.. They only have opinions.. Not a single argument has come forth from them.. And they can’t deal with the truth if it’s not there way.. And your argument seep rates you from them for me.. And yes I absolutely see your point..
      What I have written about is also an argument someone made and I find a strong point in there.. That was the discussion I was talking about, and without listening to it, or understanding it, it has been misconstrued as my absolute opinion on various issues concerning rape. Why? How are these people who behave like Nazis be the representative and spokespersons of the feminist tribe and then you expect someone to not be disillusioned with the feminists.. They are like bullies I had in school and university , I fought against.. These are worse than our politicians, they won’t even give you the choice to speak freely.. I am not going to trade my freedom and truth for feminist love..
      To me feminist has just become a word, it’s another -ist like a terrorist. And not just to me , to a whole lot of people. A bunch of unhappy , angry women , hiding behind the ism of a gender, ready to attack you are not people who can actually bring about a change.. I don’t need feminism to love and respect women, nor do I need it to fight for people.. I would have done that even if that ism did not exist.. And all the hard work some real people are doing is in vain because there is a big looming danger of “the feminist” becoming a joke to people.. Today what does a feminist mean to an average guy.. “Array wahi auratein Jo TV pe chillati aur roti rethink hain”
      Is that how you see yourself? Will that change the mindset?

  20. ketaki ghoge says:

    Hi Anurag,

    I am troubled by your vilification of the term ‘feminist’ from your experience with some group which may have misconstrued your opinions. I consider myself to be a feminist and I am an Indian, so I would be an Indian feminist I guess. And I am so because I firmly believe in equal rights, challenging patriarchal notions and traditions like concepts of honour, gender biases…And, one hopes u r too. The danger of stereotyping a broad term like feminist by giving it the usual militant, large bindi, hysterical voices tone is that it takes away from the huge work done so far by the large movement and small people like us, who in our daily lives try and combat gender discrimination. On the issue of rape, i agree with your views that this burden that society puts on rape victim like ‘zinda lash’ has to go away. We cant make rape about woman’s honour and I think we should eventually stop hiding the victims name because the shame should be the oppressors. But, I disagree that trauma of an accident is same as that of rape because the indignity and a humiliation that the victim faces in the hands of her or his oppressor is very different.

    • Ketaki, nice to meet you.. Nice to meet saner voices after writing this post.. I don’t vilify anyone just like that.. It’s like I am here at a festival talking about cinema and it does not matter whether I want it or not, I am seen as the face of indian cinema.. Likewise the people I encounter , who call themselves feminists, come across like that to me.. They have become your face on social networks and television.hiding behind feminism , for vindication.. If they are going to speak on behalf of all feminists, which they have been doing for last many months, then to me they are your representative, your face and for me will be the face of the indian feminist..

      Yes you can disagree with that argument that trauma of an accident is same as the rape.. But that’s an argument I bought.. The trauma of rape is more because of the stigma attached to it in our society.. If you take away the stigma and actually take away the significance given to it and maybe convince a victim that it is not more than an accident.. I have been a victim and I think I have turned out fine, actually it has made me more sensitive and a stubborn believer of truth..
      It’s an argument , from a discussion and I am not going to reject it before exploring it..I would rather explore it and allow my experience to teach me I was wrong about it..I come from a scientific background.. I will never dismiss something without having come to the conclusion after having done it , that it’s not worth trying.. So far it has always worked for me. Right now it’s someone else’s argument that is still playing in my head and I am curious..and that’s what I have written about.. This writing is more in the response of the rage that apparently my insensitivity evokes in the social network feminists..

  21. khayalipulav says:

    Just a small mention of something I forgot about in the earlier post – you have been talking for years about the unfair typecasting of your films as “parallel cinema”. And now you seek to typecast “feminist films”? Any film that treats a woman as a human being and doesn’t reduce her to the roles she is supposed to play in a patriarchal society is a feminist film, if you are determined to make it a category. That, I suppose would be most of your films! Queen deserves a special mention because it so beautifully breaks the stereotypes that abound about “modern” women, “traditional” women and even women who have to go into the flesh trade and manages to do it with a sense of humour! It just goes to show the extent of your (unfair,I think) prejudice against “the feminists” that you are proudly dissociating yourself from the centuries of insightful thought on the position of women that has gone into feminist theory, which you are definitely not ignorant of!

    I can only say, I apologise if the feminists have misconstrued your motives and blamed you unfairly for unintentional interpretations of your film. But just like all men are not rapists, all feminists are not *insert the expletive that you want*. Feminism is an honest, courageous, insightful school of thought, and like it or not, what you say in the beginning of your post about not reducing a woman’s life to her “izzat” is an argument that Simone de Beauvoir would be proud of.🙂

  22. IMF says:

    First of all, thanks for the clarification Anurag. Let me see if we can find some common ground here.

    I don’t know what exactly ticked you off regarding twitter feminists etc. – and it’s fine to point out that – I disagree with feminist X on their argument Y, for such and such reasons. Or even point out that you found their tone hostile. But that’s not good enough reason to be “anti-feminist” though (unless you didn’t say that at all). When you do that you’re saying that you’re fundamentally against feminism. You’re also generalizing a huge and extremely diverse movement which is far from monolithic. Many of whom I know do excellent grass roots activism.

    And when you further reinforce misconceptions about feminism, it’s NOT helpful for feminist activists and people who support feminist activism who already are trying to take stigma from the term.

    Second of all, I can completely see why many women wouldn’t want to identify with feminism – there’s all sorts of misconceptions against feminism and how it’s about female superiority or prioritizing on gender over the other and so on. And I agree that in the end if women don’t want to identify with feminism they should have every right to do so and we ought to respect that. However there are plenty of activists and survivors of rape who identify with feminism too. They try to challenge the patriarchy in it’s roots – that’s what feminism is all about

    As for Queen – when feminist critics call a film “feminist” – it doesn’t mean that it’s about female superiority or merely pro-woman or anything. It means the film challenges some basic assumptions about patriarchal gender roles, stereotypes etc. (and of course, not every film has to be about a “message”, just to be clear.) In that way I also find Dev. D to be arguably the most feminist film I’ve seen in an Indian context. Which is why I’m all the more disappointed to hear this from you.

    • Well this sort of a calm discussion is a first for me, in my experience of people who say they are feminists.. Especially in last one year..what I understand feminists are , I don’t see that in the ones I encounter, the raging lunatics of twitter , who will not allow the truth, however hard it is to swallow , be. Maybe the definition has changed over the years.. And if this face that I encounter on social network is the face of a feminist then yes I am an anti-feminist. I am not that person who will sit back and have some lunatics opinionate about me just because they have access to newspapers and journals. Only way for me to deal with them is laugh them off..
      And do so publicly.. I am not going to sit back and be used to further an argument for some journo who thinks using me, quoting me out of context will make her be heard more..if they are the face of the feminism and the voice of feminism, I am seriously disillusioned with the ism..

      • IMF says:

        I don’t know what kind of feminists you’ve encountered and what they’ve said to be honest. But when you say that you’re anti-something I would assume that you’re fundamentally anti-feminism, i.e. against it. – of which the people you’ve encountered is a small subset of. Could you point out to me where some feminists have personally attacked you via media? You’re fine with feminist criticism of your WORKS, yes? I’ve seen some feminist critique of Dev D for eg. where I’ve disagreed and pointed out where their interpretation is flawed etc. – these are fine in my view. If they’re personally targeted you, then that’s wrong.

        Either way, when you have a justifiable case where you’re unfairly attacked, you could point out why they’re wrong surely? Quote mining is dishonest for sure, couldn’t you just point that out how they’ve been dishonest, regardless of whether they’re feminist or not?

      • Imran D says:

        What ever the face you encounter sir, you should never be anti-feminist. because the angry face you encountered on twitter in not a feminist. By calling yourself anti-feminist, you are supporting folks who have been advocating inequality for women – the conservatives. Feminism is not terrorism, please. You hate these so called feminists is a better way to say it. Sir, you are a genius, i don’t understand why you are shying away from the term.

  23. […] New Delhi: Film director Anurag Kashyap says that his comments on rape, which have triggered a debate on social media, have been quoted without context. By way of clarification, he writes, “My whole conversation has been reduced to one line that’s being knocked around, ‘rape is a bad accident says anurag kashyap’”. His comments are posted on moifightclub which describes itself as a blog dedicated to cinema. (Read entire blog here) […]

  24. IMF says:

    “To me feminist has just become a word, it’s another -ist like a terrorist. And not just to me , to a whole lot of people. A bunch of unhappy , angry women , hiding behind the ism of a gender, ready to attack you are not people who can actually bring about a change.. I don’t need feminism to love and respect women, nor do I need it to fight for people.. I would have done that even if that ism did not exist.. And all the hard work some real people are doing is in vain because there is a big looming danger of “the feminist” becoming a joke to people.. Today what does a feminist mean to an average guy.. “Array wahi auratein Jo TV pe chillati aur roti rethink hain”
    Is that how you see yourself? Will that change the mindset?”

    See Anurag, this is where we run into some fundamental issues. You’re making huge sweeping generalizations here about an extremely diverse movement. And “ism”s – they’re not always derogatory. There are plenty of “isms” beyond terrorism – activism, humanism, existentialism (sorry big time philosophy nerd, excuse me :p ) and so on. I doubt if you’re going to just be dismissive of all of them just because they’re “isms”?
    If you don’t HAVE to be anything to respect women – of course. However it would be really nice if you’d stopped perpetrating stereotypes and stigmatizing feminism further. And whenever women speak up and are opinionated here, they’re generally met with hostility, considered bitchy. That’s unfortunate effect of our ingrained sexism. Even if you think feminist representation in the media is not healthy, that’s no reason to make unwarranted hasty generalizations.

    My 2c here.

    • And allow myself to be misused?

      • IMF says:

        Misused how, Anurag? The only two options you see are reinforcing stereotype about feminism/making sweeping generalizations or “allowing yourselves to be used”? Isn’t that bit of a false dichotomy?

        • Anurag Kashyap says:

          i wrote this post .. because its the fourth time in last year and a half, that i was being accused unfairly. and i have had enough.. First time some blog called Kracktivist talked about how i am a sexist , just to unfairly promote a girl filmmaker, who was asked to leave from a project because after agreeing to the terms and conditions, she chose not to follow through in a online contest.. since she was a girl i was accused of firing her on the basis of the gender..the fact was, i never met the girl, or any of the contestants.. i just chose them on the basis of the work..and my job was over.. but since she wanted to publicise herself, my name was dragged in so she could get media space.. and it was done by a woman who claimed herself to be a feminist.. i ignored it
          second time it happened when my short film came out.. third time it happened when i actually ended up seeing the tapes , the security tapes of the hotel, in the tehelka case.. and actually saw with my own eyes , the tapes being a complete contradiction to what the girl said, happened around the elevator..and i believe many people saw it..but they chose to not speak about it.. i spoke about what i saw.. i have no love for tarun tejpal.. i can not stand his arrogance, but that does not and should not colour the truth.. the same gang went berserk again.. irony of it is the said journalist in question sms’d me to retract her statement, and asking me to believe her and not the tapes..not in exact words.. but thats the gist of it.. this is the same group of women, hiding behind the gender or the tag of feminists, questioning my integrity and sensitivity towards women, and this time the fourth time.. and what happens after they accuse me, i again get a message saying , apologise for the statement about the tapes and retract it if you want feminist love.. so who are they.. blackmailers, operating like a mafia, using pressure tactics, using gender to force me to not speak what i see..they call themselves feminists..and are actually considered to be the biggest voice on the net on behalf of the their log on @genderlogindia and tell me if its a debate , than have they offered any argument or are they just opinionating..creating controversy..and the same usual suspects ,with vested interests and agendas..

  25. khayalipulav says:

    Anurag, if I may call you that, I think you are extremely hurt by the allegations made against you. Yes I can see all around me that “feminist” has actually become almost a term of abuse. But as I said in my earlier post, not all feminists are like that – most of us are just trying to do whatever little we can to help better the situation.
    You have done an excellent job of not caring what the world says/thinks about you till now – I only request that you proudly claim that you are more feminist than ” unhappy , angry women , hiding behind the ism of a gender, ready to attack you”. Don’t junk the philosophy because its proponents are prejudiced against you. Block them out, their opinions aren’t that important. Making films like Queen is infinitely more so.🙂

  26. Imran D says:

    Anurag, please don’t get confused. There is a difference between Feminism and activism. Feminism is when you stand for equality. Activism is when you fight for that equality. A person who respects an individual, a woman here must be a Feminist because that is what Feminism means. And about the activists you are talking about, they can be wrong, people who have a pre-occupied mind, pre-opinionated. People have qualities and wrongs.

    It is shocking that you are not a feminist, because whatever you preach / make (whatever i have seen) is all feminism. feminism is no rocket science. And it is because of people like you running away from it, the conservatives have made it a terror.

    And God, what on earth is Indian-Feminists??

  27. Thanks Anurag for calling spade a spade. Let me first begin by countering what a lot of people have written above – Feminism is about equality! I think that would be the biggest lie ever told in the world. I know of innumerable instances (anyone who want to know the names can write personally to me) where men who always held women in highest regards, respected them more than anything else in the world, tasted a very bitter dose of apathy, false empowerment, abuse and humiliation by women who they chose as their life partners. Feminism is anything but equality, it is asking for equality in public domain and “dominance” in reality. I have been on panels with these feminists, and the way they ‘ridicule’ me just because I am raising a voice against women who are abusing their powers and misusing laws convinces me, Feminism is about supporting women, no matter if they are right or ‘wrong’. A simple example would be Feminists applauding a woman who gets out of a marriage, just because she isn’t happy while ridiculing a man who asks for divorce even if the wife is abusive! None of the laws, drafted and enacted by Feminists is Gender Neutral. Women who are using these laws live in a society that is least biased and has given equal opportunity to women and men. I am bombarded with statistics of dowry deaths whenever I talk about misuse of 498A. There are endless examples of people committing suicide because of false implications or even threats of these cases. Feminists choose to comfortably call them “Farmer Suicides” and that again convinces me Feminism is anything about equality. I am a very strong headed woman and I truly believe in living and letting other live. But sorry, Feminism believes and is strongly acting in the direction of tagging every man a criminal, even if he is innocent. Supreme Court judgment on 498A is also being showed in the light of Judicial Patriarchy. I pity these people who fail to realize that these FIRs are so fabricated that statements such as “My father in law” beat me up is a standard part of it even when the father in law is not alive!!!

    Whenever I see women in dilapidated state on roads, in public trains or as laborers working hard for even a two day meal, it reassures me Feminism is anything to empower women but wage a war against men. I see feminism infected women fight with her in-laws for any household work but it is absolutely alright with them to keep a 14 year old girl as maid – not one but two for each of their kids. Feminism to me is asking women to become men, which most of us are not comfortable with. Any woman who revels in being a woman, is an outcast for them and there are several feminists in the world who later chose to fight for men’s rights realizing the dangerous agenda of Feminists.

    Violence has to be fought whether on woman or a man. Punishing 100 men for sake of 1 women is a sad proposition. If Feminists think they are creating a better society for women, especially Indian women – they are absolutely wrong. There is no point reading any book on feminism when we have examples of how it has completely messed up societies and only increased the gender gap!

    Once again – thanks for this sharing! Wish the news channels start calling victims of violence – whether men and women rather than listening to rhetoric of feminists!

    • Imran D says:

      You are taking it the wrong way. Feminism is a term which means in-SIMPLE-WORDS believing in equality. Period!
      A self-claimed feminist dominates a man/woman doesn’t mean he/she is a feminist. he/she is just calling herself/himself a feminist. as simple as that. It is like somebody polluting the water and whole world blames the water and not the specific person who polluted the water.

  28. khayalipulav says:

    I completely sympathise with you in the Kractivist matter, that was unfair. I haven’t seen your short film, so I cannot comment on it.

    You would definitely agree that it is completely unfair to target someone about something they said/did without knowing the context right? Then why would you comment on the ‘behaviour’ of an alleged rape victim on a tape that you were not meant to see in the first place? Isn’t there a HUGE context involved here that you completely missed and went ahead and gave your opinion? Apart from the fact that you should generally not say anything about a sub-judice case (probably why most other people who saw the tape didn’t), weren’t you completely disconnected with the whole event? You didn’t really know any of the parties involved, weren’t present at the scene, just saw a few minutes of footage which is evidence in a criminal prosecution and went ahead and gave an unqualified opinion! If you were an expert in beahvioural science, one might understand that tweet, but a filmmaker just pronouncing judgement on something as serious as a rape case! You accuse the media and feminists of just taking one statement and misinterpreting it and attacking you. Wasn’t this an attack on the credibility of the victim, on a case that, I repeat, you really had no idea about? You need to accord the same degree of fairness to others that you expect for yourself.

    You basically extrapolated your anger over the misuse of feminism and possibly added to the harassment of the victim. It’s for the court to decide whether Tejpal is guilty or not. Frankly, you are no one to comment on “what it looks like” on the tape. I don’t mean to offend you, but this was out of line, seriously. And by the way, a judge found enough grounds in the footage to order charges being filed, and that “prima facie the victim’s account was true”.

    And I’m not quite sure about what exactly happened with the victim messaging you…Was it the victim who messaged you the second time or someone else? Whoever it is, this is clearly not feminism, it is what you called it, blackmail! But you’re letting your anger colour your judgement. Please don’t. You are a great filmmaker and seem like a fair person, making feminists out to be terrorists or mafia is, well, an overreaction. I read this Genderlog India, it doesn’t speak for all feminists, certainly not for me, especially when it ridicules your work without even knowing what it is.

    The cacophony of social and other media drowns out sane voices in our head and around us. We don’t even realise it and the noise around us starts defining our lives. One of the reasons I have switched off from social media for the last few months. If I may be so bold, you need a week in Ladakh or something, away from the noise. And again I say, what people say on Twitter is NOT what the whole country/world thinks. It’s a race for getting the maximum retweets, you generally can’t have sane discussions in 140 characters or less. DO NOT let it get to you!

    • I know the victim, and I know a lot about the case.. The only thing I commented on was exactly what I saw.. And when you read what she said happened in and around the elevator and you don’t actually see it happening, one wonders.. And getting a text to that comment on Facebook.. There is more than what meets the eye.. For me truth is more important than any agenda..mi will still say what I believe in and no, it wasn’t out of context.. I was completely in context..
      And isn’t it one sided..the whole world accuses a man of molestation while the case is subjudice, why can the other opinion be not made.. If the case is subjudice, why the world opinionated otherwise..why must it not apply to those who speak against the said perpetrator.. It’s too imbalanced a view , don’t you think..and frankly I knew the victim more than Tarun..
      And then the message from the victim the first time.. Second time was last night , but it wasn’t the victim.. Just a random person from a Delhi number..not difficult to trace who in the days of trucaller.
      But yeah you are certainly right about getting away from this cacophony..and no it actually does not colour my judgement about all people working for the cause.. But I strongly believe, that if your heart is in the right place, you don’t need an -ism to continue with the good work.. I can do what true feminists do, without being labelled or tagged one. I don’t need to be a member of a group of film directors to make a film , or a writers group to write.. I believe in absolute freedom , even from good, respectable, labels. I am happier that way. But yes.. I also shall not bracket all feminists as one.. Apologies for that..


        dear anurag,

        the chances of you reading this reply a year later are slim. if it’s even you, since there’s no way to verify the identity of commenters.

        i still feel the need to say this as an ardent admirer of your work:

        the reason feminism is necessary as a distinct movement separate from equality in general is the same reason why post-colonialism is a school of thought distinct from believing in basic decency- it operates from the perspective of the subjugated. a white person could be a post colonialist, but only if they were engaging with/from the perspective of what’s referred to as the “subaltern” (i.e victims of colonialism)

        you don’t have to be a feminist to believe in equality, of course. neither do you have to be a marxist, or a socialist. you can be apathetic without being a nihilist, etc.

        but just like with marxism/socialism/communism, these schools of thought, these identities are NOT homogenous! all the variations on communist/socialist parties disagree to the point where they don’t believe their rivals are “real” representatives of (insert ideology here)

        there are morally abhorrent capitalists- does that make free trade fundamentally wrong?

        or, which group is more hindu, RSS or Hindu Mahasabha?

        please bear with my rhetoric here, because i also want to address your argument that insane, misandrist feminists and academic feminists are equally representative of feminism- how do RSS and mobs of bloodthirsty killers out for muslim blood represent hinduism in a way that’s equivalent to the ~billion Hindus that mostly care about asking the gods to grant their wishes?

        and with all respect, sincerely, although you may be a great advocate of equality, which clearly shows in your films, this does not mean you do the same things that feminists do. you’re neither better nor worse, mister kashyap, you’re just approaching things from a different perspective.

        and in my opinion, the fact that your perspectives are valid do not invalidate the entirety of academic feminism.

  29. Manisha Mone says:

    Anurag, liked your views. I am a trainer and counselor, and gender sensitization is one of our topics we cover, I have always felt that equality and freedom for women are many a times misunderstood by women more than men and that’s why we have strong feminists filled with anger, rage and frustration. Most of them forget the basic biological difference and capabilities between men and women; this gives rise to the thought that equality means whatever a man can do.. even woman can do…agreed but they forget that both men and women have evolved differently for different purposes. Guess..more than the feminist it is time for the young generation women to wake up and truly understand that freedom means freedom of thought and education and equality means equal respect, honor and dignity as men..(as fellow human beings).
    More movies like Queen should be made..(with not necessarily woman as the central character)…but the movie had a very important message that self-realization can transform an ordinary person into strong, stable person.. capable of taking his/her own decisions..Self-Worth is the key to living life rather than just existing..

  30. I am a men’s rights activist in India and I am anti feminist. I saw Queen and liked it so I will go by the statement that Queen was not a feminists film.

    Coming to the feminist agenda it wants to create a divide between men and women and create a situation of anarchy in India. They only want legal terrorism to continue and India to be in continuous trouble and hinders India’s growth. The problem is most of the Indians do not understand this


      dude, until you start menstruating there’s always going to be a divide between you and women.

      i’m a man btw

  31. kirtizoom123 says:

    I also read that interview and I was pleasantly surprised by such a different point of view to rape and then suddenly I read anurag coming up with an explaination for it…I really dont understand what is the fuss about till now ? But we are a country who blame bollywoon movies for all the tragedy happening in this country so this rage is so much expected… and I am very much a girl and a ‘feminist’

  32. khayalipulav says:

    Point taken about the fact that everyone talks about the accused and nobody objects to that. It’s true, it happens and it shouldn’t.

    But even if you knew the whole context, you couldn’t possibly place it in front of the world and though you happen to know the victim, you still didn’t see what happened in the lift. I don’t know if you read this blog, but I think it’s well written. Some parts might anger you, but since you have been so patient with us till now, I hope you will ignore any language that you might find offensive and look at the argument that the author makes –

    Nobody knows what happened inside that elevator except the two people involved. A court is sanctioned by law to weigh testimonies and evidence and pronounce a judgement. You are not. Plus, you a are a public figure so anything you say WILL be quoted in the media. I wrote an angry post on it calling Tejpal all sorts of things, because he used to be almost an idol for me, but nobody will make that a headline. You don’t really have that luxury, so you have to be careful about your public statements. You wouldn’t have the liberty to explain the nuances of the situation so won’t be able to defend your statement and that will set off a chain reaction.

    And it’s absolutely true, you don’t need an -ism to work for any cause that you believe in. But for feminists like me, who believe in the ideology and not in its claimants on twitter, its sad to hear Anurag Kashyap calling us names.

  33. A personal question – Are you okay with seeing so many false cases going around? Why doesn’t anyone in the film Industry wake up to this growing menace (I know of many inside it who have been victims) where money is bartered for any kind of allegation? It is easy for people with means to settle cases but it is the ordinary ones succumbing to this ridiculous tactic. Isn’t it a bigger travesty of justice when false cases are filling our courts while genuine victims suffer? Supreme Court made another observation on live in relationships turning rape. Why aren’t feminists doing anything when the rights they are fighting for are being misused by women! Wish you could make a short film on how a man falsely implicated in a case looses everything – life, job, career, respect, trust, identity, hope of doing something for his parents and above all his soul.

  34. Sheela Lal says:

    Feminism is equality. By vocally separating yourself from a huge ideology, you give credence to the notion that feminism is perpetuated by angry women. If you believe in systematic equality, you’re a feminist and it’s upsetting that you would say otherwise.

  35. Sharada says:

    Every ideology has an extremist view. One cannot take the extremist points of view and vilify an entire ideology. It’s like saying right wing conservatives or communists are bad on the basis of a few rabid, loud mouthed elements who command most attention. Heck, do we know Lincoln was a Republican? And look at what the party has degenerated to now?

    Also, for speaking up about his own rape, speaking up for equality between genders and backing movies with strong plots and characters: both male and female, Kashyap is very much a feminist. As long as one sticks to addressing matters at hand objectively, the discussion progresses. But the moment an issue degrades into, ‘Don’t take this personally, but you sound like an Indian feminist with an agenda” or “Kashyap is an anti-feminist”, the entire issue derails. At the core of everything, Kashyap rightly proclaims that he is in the industry to further his creativity and make and back stories that matter to him, which he ought to. But going off twitter, or blanketing an entire ideology with polarising views, do not serve anyone. Not even Kashyap’s own internal growth as a person perhaps? Self preservation is a must, which Kashyap is doing of late after running into bad weather with personal and professional lives. And if this period of not being on twitter or talking to media helps, then so be it.

    It is ultimately to be understood, that the same sexism that affects women, affects men too. Maybe if we took our heads out of our holy posteriors, we’d really start understanding what organisations and individuals are doing across India. For instance, not many of us are even aware of the wonderful scope of work people are doing on masculinity studies and how sexism affects men in the country, which in turn affects women and children.

    Feminism, like every other fight for ensuring fairness and equality to all human beings is a process that will take centuries. And no, feminism is not wearing a jhola kurta and shouting from rooftops or on twitter. It is a way of life, which we all follow in small examples everyday. Every little freedom or safety both men and women and LGBTQI groups have today is the work of decades of small victories.

    Privilege gives us unfortunately highly skewered viewpoints. Just because we’re not being affected by something, doesn’t mean others are not. Drawing the shorter end of the straw always makes you realise how much more incumbent divisions and discrimination is in the society.

    If one is dead sure about oneself, opinions, and feelings, we won’t have to be affected by what anyone, ever says about us, to the point of not even wanting to engage with them or diffusing our creative energies on.🙂 Speaking up for oneself is required, which in this case matters because Kashyap is a public persona. Comments, judgements and labels on anyone are unfair. But we all need to watch what we’re proving or disproving to the other party by saying what we do, both Kashyap and “Indian Feminists” (Whatever that is. It’s like Sagarika Ghose’s Internet Hindus, IT Hindus phrase :-D) alike.

    Also, let’s just engrave this into our brain tissue.

  36. mukta dutta says:

    I have been following AK’s and Khayalipulao’s argument especially in this entire exchange. Both appear to me as reasonable, nuanced individuals. Both agree to the points in each others’ arguments which logic and reason must uphold. But each wants to have the last word. I am a part of the legal system and to all those who have demonised TT (rightly or wrongly – noone will ever know for sure – despite the legal system) – i have maintained he has the right like anyone else to avail the due process of law, so hold your tongues while the matter is sub judice. But that hasn’t been the case. The media has already decided the case against TT. So to Khyalipulao I want to say – you are hiding behind the convenient argument the righteous take – “A court is sanctioned by law to weigh testimonies and evidence and pronounce a judgement.” so let the court do its job. AK’s approach to life and its problems appear more practical. In this case you must agree that (1) court could not have, but accepted the victim’s preliminary statement in the context of the furore that was created around the case in the media, (2) the trial is being held in the bastion of a political party which is biased against TT. So i see no harm if some voices of reason can permeate through this cacophony of abuses against TT to lend some balance. The cacophony is so loud that the voice, to be heard has to belong to someone with a privilege to being heard. If it is AK’s so be it. I think TT needs some help.

  37. Medusa says:

    As a rape survivor myself, I wholeheartedly agree with the European woman.

    By being vengeful and demanding capital punishment for rapists, is just being overly vindictive and jumping the gun in my eyes. Yes, she is totally right in saying that respect and honor comes to a woman by the person she is and not through her vagina. Describing rape as an “accident” is shrewd at first, but I dont know if there is any other better way of describing it. You may be the safest driver in the world, but if u have a drunk (power hungry man) driving on the road too, you will have an accident. Its not your fault, its the drunk guy’s fault. The man should be punished but in proportion to his crime. As for you, you will forget about the incident once your wounds are healed and you get back to your normal life. You will most definitely not want that accident to be a life changing event. If the wounds are few to none, you will want to get over the whole incident as soon as you can to get back to your normal life. If the trauma, physical or emotional, is more then you would want some sort of restitution. In any case, if you have survived the ordeal and not been murdered, then you will most definitely not want the “drunk” guy to be taken to the gallows.

    But mind you. It has taken me years to understand this fact. I had to mature into a woman and live out of India to understand all this. Being brought up an Indian, my whole trauma about the rape surrounded on me being type-casted as a S*&* or a W^&*% and the view we educated Indians have towards rape-victims as, well, a victim (or a bechaari). I feel that by giving the sort of reactions that we educated Indians give to rape is clearly out of proportion. In giving this sort of reaction, if I may say, we are compounding the trauma for the victim. We are making sure that she remains a victim for her life. She will never come out of the rape. She will continuously play the whole incident into her head and torture herself. In a patriarchal society, I wouldnt be surprised if rape happens. But when a rape happens the biggest challenge is not the incident of rape but the rehabilitation of the woman emotionally. Both the uneducated and the “intellectual” class have created such an air around rape that the victim cannot come out of the trauma even if she wants to. One may expect the “educated and intellectual” class to make better choices. But alas! We live in a patriarchal society where even after the incident of rape, the focus is not on the one who is raped but on her rapists! When a rape happens, the biggest challenge is not punishing the rapists (punishing them is definitely important) but it is rehabilitating the victim to normal life. More importantly not to make her feel as if she is different from everybody else just because she was unfortunate to cross paths with a power intoxicated sicko.

    And yes, feminists, ironically, scare me too!

  38. Aruna says:

    Anurag, Your original intention for this clarification and your best intentions towards women notwithstanding, your argument about feminism is lopsided. Feminism is about equality for women, whether or not all women desire to be equal. A movement need not be valid only if everybody it is fighting for agrees with it, that way half of humanity wouldn’t have gotten started on anything! Also, Why be angry against feminists for taking ownership of movies they think are feminist? Makes no sense. At least not in connection with rape. Let the movie (Queen) be about anything, and let anybody connect with it in any which way they want to. Why this very Indian umbrage at everything?
    Perhaps, like you’ve made up your mind that talking about rape is only fruitful if the other person is a victim of rape, you’ve also formed your views on feminism by talking to people who’ve likewise felt themselves to be “victims of feminism” (unknowingly subscribing to another kind of -ism). It is peculiar you mention Indian feminism, as if there were a western variety you find more palatable🙂 Yes, the general social networking crowd tends to take everything too seriously and argue rabidly; clearly the clarification made more of a mess than the shortened version. Such are our celebrities! You guys are endless mindless entertainment! (Thumbs up)

  39. abhirachna says:


    Ignorance is a bliss and hypocrisy is in the DNA of the mankind and I think we like to live both of them in full glory. We are hell adamant to accept the truth just because it’s ugly and this isn’t the first example that we are seeing. The culprit is not your blog but our narrow mindedness which even refrain to accept the word ‘rape’, forget the victims of it. This is not only about India but I remember Barack Obama had to apologize to Kamala Harris as he complimented her to be the best looking attorney general in America and was called sexist to say that. During election campaign an ex-Bangla actor Dev and now an MP quoted the idiom and I reiterate, “an idiom” that, “If the rape is inevitable, then enjoy it”. It’s an idiom to the best which at its core means if the “Situation is averse to your likings then you should try to enjoy it and work it through than running from it”. But media and so called ‘feminists’ considered that as an insensitive remark against women and I wonder if the rape word is considered as derogatory to be pronounced then would they like to remove the word itself from the dictionary? And if they did how will they mention the incident itself?
    The points that you raised I think should be thought from the perspective of a reform than as a critic and I may be a person of extreme non-repute to either support you or go against you on the same. But, I greatly appreciate that you came back to clarify what you really meant in writing than appearing on a news channel to boost their TRP and still get humiliated on your personal point of view which no one else is entitled to make judgement on. Violence whether it’s against a man or a woman or a transgender is wrong and as you rightly emphasized can’t be contained, Africa sees a rape every 17 minutes, 83% of US teens were sexually harassed by high schools and 50% of the european working women have experienced sexual advances at work places. The statistics that I have quoted is not to equate but to show how we have made extra outrage of an epidemic that the world is struggling to cope with yet they have started calling us the ‘rape capital of the world’ and as you check over Facebook pages and twitter handles where Pakistanis quote India as ‘Rapistan’. There are better ways to sensitize the people than just making a ruckus over the word ‘rape’ for a matter of fact where women retort to the violence against them at home first. The day a male child watches his mother being beaten and abused by his father at home, he loses the respect for women and starts considering them as an object to be used as per their comfort and a female child loses the self esteem and heart to ever give it back. The kids who grow to be men need to be taught by their mother and father (if enough civilized) to respect women from the childhood or these things can never be mitigated as elimination of this ailment is never possible. Sigmund Freud in his explanation of Id, Ego and Super-ego specifically mentioned that Id is something deep within us and it’s boundless until wrapped by the coat of ego and super-ego. The Id guides the basic nature of an animal where there’s no mother, sister, friend’s sister as a sister or any other societal bond to restrict a human’s conscious and could never be completely neutralized.
    Way to go Anurag Kashyap as this is part and parcel of being a celebrity, you can think in whichever rational way but you have to express yourself in the most irrational way to suit people’s taste buds.

  40. fiteyaal says:

    Reblogged this on Nemesis Within and commented:
    Get some clarity of thought and counter arguments to your agenda, MUST READ

  41. noksung says:

    We all should respect women ….but but but …. Anurag-K i hv lost all respect for u man …. u to are the same as othrs …. irony is a person who talks against nepotism is now nepotist himself … what a joke ….

  42. Kargnv says:

    Hi Anurag,

    Thank you for coming out with this, it’s a controversial stand but it is the need of the hour.

    I have been sexually abused and I completely agree with your view that the male view of honour and purity is given undue importance. The concept of healing has been completely obscured from the discussion. Victims are either perceived as impure or as heros. In reality, victims are just victims and they need to heal. My biggest struggle for a long time was getting over it. I didn’t want to feel the kind of hate that I had towards the man who abused me. I didn’t want to make it a big part of life and I didn’t want to shut it out and pretend it didn’t happen. I wanted to live everyday as one would after a bad accident, the death of a loved one or any mishap. I wish I could tell some people I love, like my father. Yet, I know that he can’t accept it as any other mishap in my life. The focus should be on healing and thank you for bringing it up.

    I am a person who associates with the feminist term, but I truly empathize with your distrust of feminists. Too many people who call themselves feminists and propagate inhumane ideas. The feminist camp has become dangerously like any other large ideological group, it collectively does not think. Why I still choose to associate with the title is simply adequate representation. Victims of any kind of crime will seek out the most recognized group. I personally want to be there for these men and women, I want to tell them to not make the mistake of allowing the crime to “gain any greater significance than it deserves” because I wasted years of my time being angry before I actually began to find peace. I want people to know that feminism isn’t about vengeance but acceptance and that it fights for both men and women, however misleading the term maybe.

    There will be several feminists who agree with your views and there will be others who will lambaste you for suggesting the things that you have. I liken this debate to the capital punishment debate. Like I said, I understand your distaste for what feminism has morphed into, but feminism needs a sensible and influential voice like yours.

  43. Vivek Vashishth says:

    I think I do see your point here, Anurag. Its a bit protracted but ultimately I do see that once someone has formed an opinion (which a few feminists have) its difficult to throw logic at them.

    Rest all is merely to thin the smoke out there..🙂

    Looking forward to Bombay Velvet..!!

  44. Sir,

    I have been a huge fan of Mr. Kashyap always. The story of the European woman strengthened my belief that a woman’s honour is not between her legs. This is the first time I have read something like this.

    I understand Mr. Kashyap’s reaction when he says I am what I do and not what I am expected to do. But Sir, you will have to understand that in India movies and short films affect a lot. If you show anything on screen, it is bound to be scrutinized, scanned and a hundred meanings be derived. So, you just cant show anything and everything.

  45. Reblogged this on anotherdayanothertime and commented:
    Yup, yup, yup! Need I say more? Thanks to Ramblinginthecity for bringing this to my notice…

  46. Ah well you had to give such a lengthy justification for one remark. Well that says a lot.

  47. Smita Singh says:

    The term feminism used as pejorative is nothing new, it’s happened in the west, it was bound to happen here sooner or later. Nothing radical about that. Inevitable and yet so sad.

    With age what I have become wary of are ‘purists’. The world is changing so fast and we are all aware of so many choices, responses we can have to a given event and the time between assimilating ideas and letting the world know of what we think is so short. We are all falling over each other to react faster and faster. So I don’t find myself in a big rush to prosecute someone for opinions that are still evolving, changing, forming. Unless of course they allow no debate, have no tolerance and let no reason reach them, opinions and people have to be heard. To be ready to dialogue with those even perceived to be on the other side is the only way to sustain and build a valid argument. And yet, sometimes it is so difficult to not scream in the face of the brutality and hurt we see around us. There is no escape from rage, in the lives we lead. And it is rage which at times has the power to lift us out of the abuse and violence of our lives.

    I owe a lot to Feminism and it is sad that the debate has leaned towards questioning its existence and motives and women who chose to call themselves Feminists. To me it is incredible the kind of fear women already have of this term- the one movement that puts up a fight, rabid as it may seem to some, for the rights of women.

  48. […] When feminists called him out on it he cried  ‘quoted out of context’ and proceeded to write 2000 words on his friendly neighbourhood blog. […]

  49. Hi Anurag,
    I read all arguments and your posting as well. Most readers are reacting rather than responding. So its a lot cacophony about a serious social issue.

  50. […] someone analysing his beautifully original thoughts, he writes a 2000 word piece on a site called Moifightclub (they are not actually fightie, it’s a cinematic reference, […]

  51. […] After Everyday” came his rape is like a “bad accident” comment in an interview. And then a piece about angry feminists, followed a by a dare in the comments section to Genderlog to meet him in an […]

  52. nattinuty says:

    I know this post is quite old by today’s internet standards and even though I have wanted to write a response for AK (excuse the familiarity of a complete stranger🙂 ) I realized I was only going to be adding to the “cacophony” so I stayed away.

    Today I read a different article on women in technology and something written there made me return to this post. I wanted to share some lines from there for AK and others like him who have come to hold the very concept of “feminism” in such a negative connotation. I can only hope these lines reach some of them and maybe gives anyone who reads it something to think about …

    While the lines below are written specifically for the computer sciences industry I think the sentiment can be extrapolated to pretty much any other male-dominated industry (like the movies?) or even our society in general.

    “Sexism is so deeply ingrained in tech’s unbalanced demographics that making a point of not being a misogynist is practically countercultural. Unseating those biases to the point where codes of conduct are normal and our spaces are widely safer will take huge forces of change. Men who are “fitting in” to tech culture will need to become allies. They will need more women to ally with. The industry as a whole will need to face these issues instead of being quagmired by the relative comfort of monoculture.”
    (ref –

    Feminism is nothing more than a word for the idea that women are *different but equal* to men and deserve the same rights/opportunities. In my opinion today even feminism is outdated. I like to think I’m an inclusivist.. why just be feminist when you can advocate the rights of every minority group… LGBTQ + women of all races and all economic backgrounds.

    But like the article says – simply being a advocate for equality is now a politically charged term. that makes me sad. I do hope this AK reads this and gives it some thought🙂 Being the face of independent cinema in India and a household name associated with leading the way and bringing change unfortunately is a cross AK has come to bear and like Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Such open letters and interviews/sound bites do have a ripple effect and people listen. The AK name has also been used to promote new talent and do huge amounts of good for the Indian film industry and you can’t have one without the other. So I hope someone of his level of influence gives some more thought to important issues like feminism and inclusivity and speaks up in favor of those who have no voice rather than shut down their advocates with disdain and cynicism.

  53. Nilesh says:

    To all those comments, who argue that feminism merely stands for equality of sexes, I have written a response here:

    I make a case that if you stand for equality, the right label for your political philosophy is humanism, not feminism. Using the label feminism hurt both you and your cause.

  54. Pooja says:

    I just wonder, how easily could you even quote, rape or an acid attack?
    I was in this situation where a policeman and a common friend tried to force themselves on me! Yes, a rape attempt, that’s what you call it!
    How I survived?
    It was around 11.40pm, 14th August. I was at a friend’s place, when his two friends came to meet him, one a policeman and the other chap, some RSS activist.
    They took out a bottle of alcohol and started making drinks for themselves, I became uncomfortable as those men were completely strangers to me and asked my friend to drop me home as it was late, when that police guy Pandey says, “Police is patroling outside and they may create a problem, it’s not safe to go out”. Being only in the 2nd semester, the mention of policemen gave me chills. My friend said, I shall stay back as he can drop me in the morning, as I might get into trouble because of police interrogating due to 15th August preparation.
    Bhopal police, unlike Mumbai police is yet another face of perverts in uniforms, looking out for a reason to trouble females.
    I decided to wait until morning.
    After sometime those guys asked my friend to go down and buy some cigarettes, when I went to the washroom!
    As I came back from the loo completely unaware Amit has gone down and he is not there, Raj the RSS guy, held my hand and started talking sleaze, I retaliated warning him loud enough to stay away from me, meanwhile, Pandey that police guy entered the room, abusing me and pushing me forcefully down on the bed, I somehow balanced my weight and ran towards the corner table kept beside the bed.
    I took the alcohol bottle high and said, either I will kill them or myself, they stopped there but kept abusing me continuously, I made an attempt and ran towards the hall and started crying aloud. They stopped chasing me, as they worried my voice would reach neighbours and will put them in trouble.

    My friend came, he was shocked to see me crying, then he rushed me back home.
    That was the day I saw all three of them for the last time, relieving my sight.

    I told my mom about this incident, she was horrified, unable to control her tears and hugged me tightly for the whole night.
    She asked me to identify them and file a complaint, but being a young and a vulnerable girl, worried about my reputation in college and everywhere else, I did not have courage to put it up this incident in front of the whole world or to the police.

    Given an option, rape or death! I would have certainly ended my life that night, with that alcohol bottle or a knife. No, I could not have taken it as a car accident. As I know how it feels! I have never felt so weak, so meagre, so small, like that night in front of those two sicktards. Self respect, virtue, dignity, pride is what make one’s life meaningful!

    Obviously I know they cannot take my izzat, honour and it’s synonyms away from me but a rape is an attack not only physically but emotionally which can leads to a life long trauma and other adverse effects.

    Had I have not this personal experience myself I may have agreed to what Mr. Kashyap thinks!
    Yes, rape has nothing to do with izzat, ruining one’s character and all.
    But yes, it certainly destroys a woman’s dignity and makes her feel degraded and lowest. Moreover,not beacause of society’s norms or taboos attached to it but because of the nature of the act.

    Mr. Kashyap you are a sensitive man, but somethings which you may have not experienced are complex to analyse!

    Yes obviously one shall try to overcome it, and shall not attach izzat, character etc like in old hindi films.
    It’s certainly more sensitive subject to be discussed. However, I would choose death over rape if thrown an option insensitively or disgracefully which is certainly stupid to put at first, like an objective question in an exam paper.

  55. […] Kashyap addressed a few years ago in a blog (link here). His quotes about rape were taken out of context and criticized by a feminist on Twitter which […]

  56. Can I publish this article on my blog? It’s very interesting and relevant in today’s time. Will surely credit Moifightclub for it🙂 I assure you that

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