India is under the grip of an unwanted campaign named as MeToo exposing the male celebrities involved in sexual harassment of women at workplaces. In recent days, a number of Bollywood figures, a comedian, a best-selling author and top journalists have been accused of abusing their positions by behaving improperly towards women. As the movement gathers more steam, women in many fields are coming forward exposing more prominent names. Apart from celebrities from the film and entertainment industry, editors and journalists from the media have also been accused of moral misconduct. Former Asian Age editor M J Akbar, who is presently minister of state in Narendra Modi’s government, has been accused by, at least, seven women for being a sexual ‘predator’. On Monday a senior journalist Prashant Jha has stepped down as chief of bureau and political editor of Hindustan Times after allegations of sexual misconduct were hurled against him. The rot in the society got exposed when, two weeks backs, a film actress Tanushree Dutta publicly alleged that senior Bollywood actor misbehaved with her while filming a special song for Horn Ok Pleassss in 2008. It opened the lid and several other women under hashtag# MeToo came out with complaints of sexual harassment by a number of known celebrities in media and film industry. The #MeToo movement, first started in the United States as a hashtag on Twitter in October 2017 after dozens of women accused American film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse over a period of at least 30 years. the #MeToo movement has finally arrived in India, engulfing the whole media and entertainment industry. Several women have bravely come out with stories about harassment and sexual abuse at workplace at the hands of the powerful and higher-ups. The movement gained steam after former AIB comedian Utsav Chakraborty was accused of sexual harassment by a writer and fellow comic, who also said that the company had not taken any action despite her complaints. Following the incident, AIB founding member and CEO Tanmay Bhat “stepped away” from his role, while another founding member Gursimran Khamba, who has also been accused of sexual misconduct, has been asked to go on temporary leave. Some women in Kashmir also complained sexual harassment by their male colleagues at their workplaces.
However, this is one sided version of all the stories that have been grabbing headlines in the media. People accused as sexual predators are yet to come out with their version of the stories. But given our social order, these cannot be dismissed or rubbished as untrue. But the question is why now? Why not before when the incidents happened? Some of these accusations are as old 10-15 years old. All this period the victims chose to remain silent. This prolonged silence does not mean that the accusations are fake. Had the rot been exposed well in time, it could have discouraged many such predators from making sexual advances towards the women. In the case of M J Akbar, seven women have accused him of indulging in such misbehavior at different times. Had Akbar been confronted the very first time, he could have stopped there. Whatever the facts, this is a serious reflection on our society, and exposes the declining moral standard. Promotion of moral values is the only way to save our society from such degradations. No law can stop a person from committing wrongs like sexual harassment. India has a stringent law for crimes against women but this has not stopped the people committing from rapes. Only the law within—the spiritual and moral promotion—is the only tool to stop such commissions in our society.