India’s Daughter is the story of the gang rape and murder of a young woman that shocked the world and sparked riots and protests all over India. Grieving parents and one of the rapists tell the story of the night six men brutally assaulted 23 year old medical student, Jyoti Singh while driving around Delhi, India`s Capital, in a bus.
“So many of our people grow up thinking that a girl is less important than a boy is,” said then Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dixit. “Because she`s less important you can do what you like with her.”
On December 16, 2012 Jyoti and a male friend boarded a private bus to return home after going to a movie. The six men on the bus objected to a girl and unrelated boy being out alone and in order to teach them a lesson they beat her friend unconscious and brutally assaulted and gang raped her for almost an hour as the bus rode round and round the highways, before throwing them out of the bus and into a ditch. Against all odds, Jyoti survived two weeks but died after multiple surgeries.
Jyoti Singh`s father, Badri Sing once commented, “For a father who once upon a time let his baby girl sleep over him, who held her in his arms and played with her, who held her finger and taught her to walk…to have to set fire to that daughter during cremation by his very hands…this is very difficult. The most difficult.”
The brutal and brazen crime inspired Indians to take to the streets for over a month and protest their country`s tragic problem of systemic violence against women. Ordinary men and women withstood tear gas, water cannons and police brutality to demand changes in India`s attitudes towards women. The collective outrage has led to changes in law and the first glimmers of change in a deeply ingrained mindset.
India’s Daughter also examines the values and mindsets of the rapists whom the filmmakers had exclusive and unprecedented access to interview between their conviction and expected hanging. It exposes a skewed patriarchal society in which an institutionalized view of women as second-class, and even undesirable, citizens leads to such heinous crimes against women. It makes an impassioned plea for change and reveals the deadly price one young woman and her family have paid for the continuing tragedy of violence against women.
“Our daughter`s name is Jyoti Singh. In death she has lit a torch…she posed a question. What is the meaning of ‘a woman?’ I wish that whatever darkness there is in the world should be dispelled by this light,” said her father.
India`s Daughter is being aired around the world to coincide with International Women`s Day (March 8). It is a UK-India co-production. Director-Producer Leslee Udwin is a BAFTA award winning producer for East is East, her first feature film. The follow up to that film, West is West premiered at TIFF in 2010.
India`s Daughter airs on CBC`s The Passionate Eye on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 10 PM ET/PT