OPINIONREVIEW

What Bishal Gautam’s latest video on Hashtag Save Nirmala is all about

I recently saw a lot of posts these past couple of days from many people who expressed their agreement as well as disagreement with Bishal Gautam’s latest video. I found out that most of the people who disagreed with the video, missed the main point what he was trying to put forth and also took some of his statements out of context, so I felt that I HAD to write this to try and make them see what the video is all about. I am not here to demean anyone or their thoughts and expressions and will simply be putting forth my views and opinions regarding his video. So here it goes, a complete breakdown and anaylsis of Bishal Gautam’s latest video “#hashtag na garda huncha | sorry | confession”.

The video starts off with Bishal greeting his audience and makes a couple jokes regarding the recent trends on the Internet. Then he uses it as a segue to get into the Hashtag trend, where he says he didn’t want to just put up a single story with the hashtag and be done with it. He says that rape is a very sensitive issue to be talked about lightly and says that until and unless it happens to you or your close ones, no one sincerely speaks up, mainly because people lack empathy in general. He then talks about how various categories of women regardless of their age (whether it be a couple months old new born child or an 80-yr old elderly), religion and their relation to the rapists have ALL been raped and he starts fearing it might soon happen to him as well, which might not be that far away considering how worse the situation has gotten. When he talks about this, he is NOT JOKING about himself being raped, he is simply trying to tell everyone how bad the situation has gotten. He subtly indicates that even men have been and can be raped; that’s its not just a concern for women.

He then says that his friend urged him to make a video about Nirmala Panta and the recent trend, to which he replies he is not really in a position to say anything about it. His friend then scolds him to stop making videos if you cannot make a video on such an important issue. He then confesses that the day when this hashtag was going on, he is busy grovelling his female friend for nudes and then he felt it, he felt and said that there is a rapist in him too. He says if there was no fear of laws and the society, if he can grovel for hours to see some girl naked; he certainly cannot by any means be in a moral position to ask for Nirmala’s justice with the hashtag. He goes on to apologize to Nirmala bahini who is the cover face for thousands of other women who have stood in her shoes. He says, the day that he can finally talk to a woman while looking her in the eye rather than her thighs or her breasts, that is the only day that he can ask for Nirmala’s justice from his side. It’s his job to see and know what position he stands in to be talking about justice. He admits he has previously said a lot of things that he shouldn’t have said and only said it for the sake of being deemed funny regardless of whose sentiments he hurt. He then finally looks within himself and feels that he is indeed a pretty shitty person and has appraised the people who have asked for Nirmala’s justice but says that his ethics do not allow him to do that. He then goes on to give a few examples how not even a couple days ago, when one particular actress had a couple tongue slips, people did not hesitate AT ALL to get out there and call her names for e.g. randi, bhalu, etc. These are the same people who are now hopping on to the hashtag trend and he calls out these people for not being worthy enough to ask for Nirmala’s justice. He says people out there who beg for latest kaandas (leaked sex tapes) do not stand in a position to ask for Nirmala’s justice.

While Bishal made this video, with a clear thought in his head, he lacked proper usage of words and analogies for sure but that should not let his point run astray. We all have a beast inside us, we all are capable of letting that beast out and let it wreak havoc, but being social animals with a conscience and morality, it’s up to us whether we channel our energy towards the light or let darkness engulf us. As long as we cannot see women as equal to men, as long as we keep name calling and insulting women for their clothes, their profession, their lifestyle and their choices, we do not deserve to ask for a fellow Nepali sister’s justice. Bishal even admits that he was in the wrong to joke about “Kala ko boobs” (in one of his standup videos) and what not in his previous videos, and yet people are trolling him and calling him a hypocrite over it. Us humans have the ability to grow and evolve and also unlearn stuff with every passing day. He has finally understood what he did was wrong and has admitted to it, like a humble human should. NO, begging for nudes, name calling and humiliating women does not necessarily make you a rapist. BUT, it does promote a culture where women end up feeling unsafe and insecure from ever living their life properly. Even if Nirmala will get justice served to her soul and her family, but until and unless this patriarchal society thinks of women as equal to that of men, several other Nirmalas out there will never be completely safe.

He then goes on to give a few instances such as: if you keep viewing women as sex objects, if you keep using derogatory terms for women, if you keep asking justice for Nirmala and then go back to keeping women locked up inside their traditional gender norms, if you fuel a mentality that rape was the woman’s fault and now her life is ruined because of it, if you think when the girl rejects you then throwing acid on her face is a viable option, if you entertain yourself with kaandas; then you have no right to ask for justice for Nirmala. He only has one point to put across here, if you cannot respect a woman the same way you respect a man, you don’t deserve to ask for Nirmala’s justice. I’m not saying women deserve to be respected just because they are women, but all he asks for is simple human decency. And decency is also one of the many factors which separates us from the beasts inside us. He then goes on to say if you can somehow entertain yourself even when your sister or aunt or any relative is in the kaanda, then go ahead and watch them, BUT, if you think you’ll feel like the sky just fell down on you, then stop watching and sharing kaandas right from this day. He apologizes to his five sisters as well as the whole of female population, for being a part of the gender who generally speaking, does not really care about emotions. Again, he throws a subtle hint at how boys are raised right from a small age that showing emotions and feelings is girly and not some thing a boy should do.

He then ends the video by saying that if you’re a guy who calls some girl a randi, bhalu and whatnot over the Internet, then its better you don’t ask for Nirmala’s justice because justice is not something that is going to be served that easily. He is NOT trying to say all guys are emotionless and animals. I agree NOT ALL MEN, but still enough men for all women in our lives to have experienced some form of sexism, sexual assault/violence in their life. Just because you used a hashtag on the Internet does not suffice for justice, his point is that you hopping on to the hashtag trend all day long but then going back to slut-shaming and name-calling women at the end of the day, there will be no justice served, in its true sense. If there is no end to this cycle, more Nirmalas will keep getting raped and murdered; if we truly want this to stop, us as a society should definitely self-reflection upon our own actions and thoughts. I hope that at least a few of the people who misunderstood the sentiments and feelings Bishal was expressing in his video might’ve gotten the point. In the end, we all should reflect upon our behavior and self-analyze whether we as men, stand in any position morally and ethically to ask for Nirmala’s justice. Because unless we don’t, there will always be another Nirmala out there who will need the whole country to come together to seek justice all over again.

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