I saw that TVO aired a documentary entitled The World Before Her but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch it. It’s a Canadian documentary film written and directed by Nisha Pahuja and released in 2012. The film explores the complex and conflicting environment for young girls in India by profiling two young women participating in two very different types of training camp — Ruhi Singh, who aspires to become Miss India, and Prachi Trivedi, a militant Hindu nationalist with the Durga Vahini.
The film won the awards for Best Canadian Feature at the 2012 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Best Documentary Feature at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, and was a nominee for Best Feature Length Documentary at the 2013 Canadian Screen Awards.
Here’s the trailer:
You can watch the entire video as it aired on TVO at this link: http://ww3.tvo.org/video/191988/world-her
You can visit The World Before Her website at http://www.worldbeforeher.com
Notes to Women encourages you to watch this film which captures the choices and contradictions that young women in India are facing today. Imagine being chased down and beaten because you are seen with a man in public or are caught in a bar. Imagine while you are in grade 7, to teach you a lesson for lying about completing your homework, your father burned your foot with a hot iron rod and as a result you suffer for a month from the painful blister that formed. How would you feel if your father referred to you as “our product”? This is the reality for the women in India.
As you watch this film, be mindful that these women are not enjoying the same rights as you are. If you have a career, be thankful. If you have a father who is supportive of you and whatever career path or degree you want to pursue, be grateful. We all want to live in a society where girls and women are valued, respected and treated equally. India is a male dominated society and that needs to change. Until that happens, let us continue to stand with our sisters in India and raise our voices against inequality, violence against women, oppression and gendercide.
It’s hard to see people use religion to perpetuate violence against others who don’t share their beliefs. It’s especially hard to see young Hindu girls carrying guns and knives as they marched down the streets of India and chanted, “Mark your foreheads with blood and welcome your enemies with bullets.” Who are their enemies? Muslims and Christians whom they believed have ruined the Hindu religion. One girl was clear about their mission–“we will use our guns and kill people. We will never let them take our India.” These girls are graduates of the Durga Vahini, a militant training camp for girls.
The Indian government believes that that these camps are promoting terrorism and is trying to ban them. Personally, I find the idea of children carrying weapons and talking about killing people very, very disturbing. This world is already a very violent place, we don’t need any more blood shed in the name of religion.
One Reply to “The World Before Her”
As the film begins, Young women are disappearing from India’s villages and disadvantaged urban areas, lured from their meager circumstances by promises of fame and fortune, never to be seen again. In one instance, we see a sharply dressed slickster named Pedro (Ranjeet) pick a girl up and take her to a hippie bar, where he feeds her a sugar cube presumably laced with acid. Soon the inhibited lass is on stage singing lustily with the band of dirty hippies and dancing lasciviously. Pedro snaps pictures of the performance, which he later uses to pressure the mortified girl into going along with his demands. Later she is seen despondently being shuttled with a dozen or so other girls to a dock, where they all board a ferry to destinations unknown.