A suggestion to Leslee Udwin – Ashok Chowgule

Leslee Udwin

When Katherine Mayo wrote her book “Mother India” in 1927, Mahatma Gandhi called it a drain inspector’s report.  One Reverend Samuel McCavert wrote in response:

We would like to suggest to Miss Mayo that she write one more book, this time about America.  We outline for her the following chapter headings:

“The Only Land where Lynchings Occur.”
“The Land of Martial Scandals – One Divorce to Every Seven Marriages.”
“The Land of the Crime Wave – Armoured Motors Necessary to Transport Pay-rolls.”
“The Land of Industrial Strife – Incessant Strikes and Lock-outs.”
“Child Labourers – A Million and a half No Older than Thirteen – in the Richest Land in the World.”

All the facts in this new book might be impeccably correct, but would it be a picture of America?

In the Federal Council Bulletin of December, 1927.
Reproduced from Sunderland, Jabez T, “India in Bondage: Her Right to Freedom”, R Chatterjee, Calcutta, 1929.  Pp 516.

In 2008, a film “Slumdog Millionaire” was released worldwide.  One Matthew Schneeberger wrote:

Say an Indian director travelled to New Orleans for a few months to film a movie about Jamal Martin, an impoverished African American who lost his home in Hurricane Katrina, who once had a promising basketball career, but who — following a drive-by shooting — now walks with a permanent limp, whose father is in jail for selling drugs, whose mother is addicted to crack cocaine, whose younger sister was killed by gang-violence, whose brother was arrested by corrupt cops, whose first born child has sickle cell anaemia, and so on. The movie would be widely panned and laughed out of theatres.

Is Slumdog Millionaire worth the praise?
http://www.rediff.com/movies/2009/jan/29is-slumdog-worth-it.htm

This month (March 2016), the BBC broadcast a documentary called “India’s Daughter”.  At:

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/mar/01/indias-daughter-documentary-rape-delhi-women-indian-men-attitudes

Lesleeji is quoted as saying:

“I began this film with a narrow focus.  ‘Why do men rape?’ I discovered that the disease is a lack of respect for gender. It’s not just about a few rotten apples, it’s the barrel itself that is rotten.”

And in the headline we read the following: “I made a film on rape in India. Men’s brutal attitudes truly shocked me”.

Clearly the barrel that she refers to is India.

Now we would like to suggest to her that she, after a reasonable time in resting to get over a mental ordeal of the last two years, make a film on the Rotherham grooming scandal in the UK.  When she does it, we would like to suggest to her to cover not just the attitude of the perpetrators of the crime, and their culture, that made them groom some 1400 very young girls in an around the town, but also the failure of the UK establishment to have allowed the crime to have continued for such a long time.  Some of the girls complained to the appropriate authorities, but they were ignored or brushed aside as being the girls’ fault.

Here is the BBC analysis of why the first complaints in the grooming scandal in Rotherham in the UK was not followed through properly:

Analysis
Chris Buckler BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-19739073

Some of the failings that allowed years of abuse were to do with workload, resources and training.

But what is most worrying is that this review reveals that a proper culture of concern was lacking within children’s services in Rochdale.

When victims – often from chaotic backgrounds – asked for help, they were assumed to be “engaging in consensual sexual activity” or even involved in prostitution.

In reality they were being sexually exploited by a grooming gang who on occasions used threats and violence.

There is no doubt that the abuse that affected dozens of teenagers could have been stopped earlier but in the aftermath of the Baby P scandal social workers were more concerned about cases involving younger children than teenagers.

Parents were fobbed off with suggestions that their daughter was simply hanging out with a bad crowd.

Yet child sexual exploitation was not an unknown concept to care teams in this area. They first identified girls at risk of grooming in 2007. But even at the end of last year they were still making mistakes in efforts to tackle the problem.

This review is about learning lessons in terms of policies and procedure. However it also needs to ensure that children are listened to, irrespective of their background or upbringing.

The article in the BBC where the analysis is attached can also provide some pointers that Lesleeji would like to cover.

In addition, there is the following article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11069178/Rotherham-researcher-sent-on-diversity-course-after-raising-alarm.html

The first three paragraphs in the article says:

A researcher who raised the alarm over the sexual abuse of teenage girls in Rotherham more than a decade ago was sent on a ‘ethnicity and diversity course’ by child protection bosses who refused to act on her evidence.

The researcher, who was seconded to Rotherham council by the Home Office, was told she must “never, ever” again refer to the fact that the abusers were predominantly Asian men.

Speaking to the BBC’s Panorama programme under the condition of anonymity, the researcher said that she identified more 270 victims of trafficking and underage prostitution by mainly Muslim gangs in Rotherham.

Lesleeji would like to investigate a culture which tried to sweep the extreme tragedy of the victims under the carpet.

In another two years we expect to see another interesting film by Lesleeji.

Postscript:

It would not be out of place to mention about the issue of sexual abuse by Jimmy Saville while he was with the BBC.  Please see:

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/may/30/bbc-staff-child-sex-abuse-allegations

This was in May 2013.  The BBC established an inquiry commission, but till now, nearly two years later, the commission has not complete the work.

And this is a March 2014, nearly one year ago, statement by the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/statements/djs-review

I have read a December 2014 media article on the subject, at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/sexual-abuse-inquiry-investigation-into-jimmy-saviles-years-of-abuse-at-the-bbc-delayed-for-a-third-time-9938082.html

Perhaps the sanctimonious BBC can inform its viewers, given that it has broadcast a documentary on the Nirbhaya rape case, what is the latest on the case. – Hindu Vivek Kendra, 6 March 2015

 » Ashok Chowgule is the Working President (External) of the VHP.  

Leslee Udwin