It’s time we actually walk the talk: Pulkit Samrat writes open letter asking Bollywood to stand up for women


In an open letter, Pulkit Samrat addresses the issues faced by women who have found the courage to talk about being harassed by men who wield power. The actor hopes that the industry takes cognisance of the issue and deals with the accused in the right manner. He writes:
“As a part of the industry that stands by values such as equality, freedom and non-discrimination, I feel I need to stand up and address the hypocrisy. Case in point, Tanushree Dutta accusing Nana Patekar of harassment on the sets of a film. As soon as the story broke out, I heard the usual talk, ‘Why didn’t she complain sooner? Why did she wait for almost a decade since the incident? Nana Patekar? But he is such a nice guy. He has done so much for the farmers.’ Let me address these points. There have been countless examples in the past where victims have spoken a long time after the purported incident. The #MeToo movement has plenty of such examples. There are three primary reasons behind it:
A. As a society, we somehow encourage the culture of silence. We are scared to rub powerful people the wrong way for fear of repercussions it might have on our career or social standing. The apathy of authorities does not help matters. However, as an industry that is constantly talking about liberal values and championing more power to women, we should be the first to actively try and change this culture. If we know that a person indulges in inappropriate behaviour regularly, and we have seen it happening in front of us, instead of looking the other way, we should report them to the authorities. Oust them from the industry. Take action against them. Yes, it will require years of unlearning what our parents have taught us: ‘If you see trouble, look the other way. You don’t want to get involved.’ However, what happens when the same person attacks one of your friends or family members? If you raise a hue and cry, then you should also share the blame, because you didn’t stop the person when you could. We need to come together and weed out toxic people, who cannot respect their co-workers. They are not irreplaceable. There is enough talent out there.
B. It is important to understand that it is not easy for victims to accept that they were physically violated. Accepting it makes one feel weak, and nobody wants to feel vulnerable. Movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp are ample proofs that perpetrators get away because it is hard for victims to speak up. Power dynamics and lack of support from colleagues and acquaintances do not help matters.”
C. As a privileged society, we somehow give in to the bias that the educated cannot commit such crimes. A degree is misconstrued as a character certificate. To make matters worse, if someone is actively involved in social causes, they are deemed above scrutiny. However, Godmen who have wronged people exist in the world. That happens because we give them that status, and assume that they are incapable of doing anything wrong. Just like two wrongs do not make a right, a right cannot undo a wrong.
Through this letter, I want to urge the entire industry to take a stand for what’s right. I don’t know what happened 10 years ago and I don’t have any first-person account.
However, if you know something, come forward and do what’s correct. Don’t limit it to this case alone.
If something has happened with you, or you have seen something taking place and haven’t spoken up, voice the problem before someone else bears the brunt of your inaction. It’s time we actually walk the talk and not let Pink be just another film.

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