Mumbai: Salman Khan, who is embroiled in a controversy after making insensitive comments regarding rape, made his first public appearance since the incident at the ongoing 17th edition of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) gala in Madrid.
Though he didn’t address the matter, neither did he apologize for it, he did say that it is better if he talks less.
However, Priyanka took a question on Salman’s controversy in her recent media interaction where the actress said, “First of all, you should be asking the person who made this comment. It is very important for the media and for we as women to use our power and talk about the real problem which is happening in India every single day to so many women instead of pushing a controversy for a headline, which is unfair. There is so much reality happening like a brutal rape case in Bihar took place – why is no one talking about the issue? A lot has been said about the Salman issue, I don’t want to add to the noise. I would rather bring notice on real issues. The real problem is us talking about how to treat out women better in India and how to treat women better generally.”
When last week Lisa Ray posted a picture on Instagram showing Salman Khan on stage with his leading ladies, their faces morphed with pictures of silenced monkeys, everyone knew the feisty actress was making a strong statement on the lack of protest within the Indian entertainment industry against Salman’s ‘rape analogy’
Lisa clarifies that she did not intend to pin the blame on Salman for the trivialization of an issue as serious as rape. “I don't believe in perpetrating a blame game, feeding divisiveness or responding out of anger or judgement at this point.However since the dye is cast and the 'rape' discussion has entered public discourse once again, this is an opportunity to have a positive dialogue about the usage of the word 'rape'.”
Lisa points out how sensitively issues related to rape are handled in the international media. “In other countries, a trigger-warning is issued before even printing or discussing the word 'rape'. In India we need to educate the NEXT generation of girls and boys on WHY it's a powerful word, how to avoid misusing it and in this way to learn to treat women, and their experiences equal to those of men, and with sensitivity.”
Lisa feels both parents must play an equally important role in the gender sensitization of coming generations. “Both fathers and mothers can play a big role. And while the media can at times over -react, a family can always use an opportunity like the recent one regarding Salman to examine their own values and attitudes towards the status of women in India.”
Speaking for herself Lisa pledges to stand up against gender insensitivity whenever it occurs in her range of attention. “Personally, I will be braver in my everyday life, in standing up to what I perceive to be words or actions which disrespect women and the feminine experience.”
Unlike many Bollywood divas who have kept quiet on the Salman issue for the fear of being slammed by his fans Lisa doesn’t mind getting the flak for standing up to what she feels to be right. “I know at times this will make me unpopular, but this is the price of standing up for your values and beliefs. First you need to decide how you feel about what Salman said: does it bother you? Doesn't it bother you? If even one person changes his or her view on 'rape' and women's dignity in India after this incident, something positive would have been accomplished.”
Lisa feels the issue has gone way beyond Salman. “Right now, this is an opportunity to elevate people's awareness, not point fingers. And the media can be a part of this as well by featuring others women's trauma and stories across India.”
- With inputs from Subhash K Jha...