• Why Nandita Das was stuck in a twitter storm by Binjal Shah

    The social media sphere has engulfed Nandita Das before but the last 24 hours she was the eye of a twitter storm. A statement she supposedly made a couple of year ago, “Every man is a potential rapist” resurfaced and got trolls and twitteratti busy all day. The Hashtag #NanditaDasQuotes  became the top Twitter trend in India , and invited various opinions demanding explanations from the parallel cinema actress.

     

    Contrary to conjecture, this comment was not made by her during the Racist Giriraj Singh debate on NDTV last night. This comment was dug up from a TOI article dating back to 2013, where her standalone statement appeared in the form of her quote- stating the words “Every man is a potential rapist.” Das contested this attribution and even suggested it was made out of context.

     

    Getting about 30-40 mentions per minutes, the Hashtag #NanditaDasQuotes appeared across feeds, making  Das the butt of many jokes. Fashioning wordplay on her statement “Every man is a potential rapist,” tweeple have been rather avid and creative in churning out jokes to insist how bizarre they found Nandita Das’s belief, like this one below:

     

    The Bad Doctor ‏@doctoratlarge’s “Every parallel cinema actor/actress is a potential pseudo-intellectual #NanditaDasQuotes

     

    Nandita Das took to twitter to finally present her side of the story. Not providing any substantive clarification though, she simply went on to assert, “I’m being falsely quoted. Never said all men are rapists. What kind of a stupid generalization is that? sad that 1 have to even explain this.”

     

    Another reason why Nandita Das has come in the limelight recently, owing to her campaign ‘Dark is Beautiful’ that rejects taboos surrounding dark skin, which she is in the process of publicizing. She is known to have been vocal about this irrational prejudice the Indian society has against people of dark skin. It is because of her vociferous takes on the matter, she was invited on the debate on Wednesday with Barkha Dutt, to share her views on Giriraj Singh accusing Congress of having elected Sonia Gandhi simply because she has “Gori Chambdi”(is light-skinned.)

     

    Only two days ago, Deepika Padukone’s #MyChoice video divided the social media into two camps- one prominent camp being the men, after various critiques emerged on how the video may have falsely generalized all men as tormentors.

     

    Das’ single tweet of explanation didn’t combat controversy given at the rate people are still tuning in to the hashtag. And it doesn’t look like the issue will blow over very quickly – at least not until Nandita Das cares to come on record again to clarify further what she could have possibly meant back then. And what can we say- it will be a shame if her beautiful cause will suffer in light of all this negative attention.