The SSR suicide case has taken drastic turns since it was first taken under the umbrella of mainstream media. From dragging it through nepotism in bollywood, to demonising “Bollywood” for targeted harassment of Sushant and alienating him and now vilifying and torturing a girl and her family.
For anyone who has even a remote access to news is aware of the daily ‘media’ investigations of the suicide case.
But is there a sexist angle to this media campaign? It seems that this might be the case. Rhea Chakraborty the then partner of SSR became a soft target for this manhandling by the media.
Tarushikha Sarvesh, assistant professor of sociology at the Advanced Centre for Women’s Studies at Aligarh Muslim University, says that the media has been extremely irresponsible in their coverage of the issue. “The gender bias has been quite evident. The media has been irresponsible in handling the issue. There is a difference between reporting and sensationalising. They cannot corner people and pronounce them guilty or evoke negative sentiments about them,” Sarvesh said the fact that channels have sought to target Chakraborty reflect the misogyny in Indian media houses, the scholar said. “It is as if the media wants to say that by being a woman, you are already a witch. This amounts to harassment and must affect the mental health of the concerned persons,” she added.
Advocate Karuna Nundy, who has been following the Rajput case closely, expresses concern. She said, “Rhea Chakraborty’s media trial is something that should deeply worry all women. There is a way in which [this] woman has been taken out of a particular situation and labelled a criminal by national mainstream media, in Bhojpuri songs, [and] by lawyers on national TV.”
She added, “Rhea Chakraborty was someone who was in a relationship with Sushant Singh Rajput. Clearly the family did not like it – another piece evidence that has crept into the public domain. Let us be clear that there will be lots of evidence that we have absolutely no idea about and those could point to the direction of anyone’s guilt. Why is there such demonisation of this woman? This trope in our minds that family is always right and another person who might have loved Rajput a lot is wrong, there is a gender component to it. Not only is she a woman – she is a particular kind of woman.” According to Nundy, Rajput’s family’s lawyer said in court that by appearing in a video wearing a salwar kameez, Rhea was trying to “whitewash” her image.
Nundy added, “The implication is that if you’re not wearing a lot of clothes, you are a criminal and if you’re wearing a salwar kameez, it’s a cover-up.”
It shows that no matter what she says or does the verdict has been declared and she’s been found guilty. Her every move is intricately over analysed to affirm her a criminal.
There are a lot of aspects of the the case that the media or people in general are not aware of, yet she is being cornered and attacked by these vultures who proclaim of seeking justice.
Meanwhile it needs to be noted that the family was not on good terms with Rhea. She has also alleged SSR’s sister of groping her at one incident. There are also several ambiguous financial aspects associated with the deceased.
The misogynistic, patriarchal aspect along with the belief that family can never be wrong are the root causes of this targeted slandering. The ambiguity and misinformation surrounding mental health adds fuel to the fire in which Rhea is being grilled right now.
It’s a conventional thinking that the daughter-in-law is the family breaker and is villainized even without any cause. If she’s disliked by the family she automatically becomes the one who robs the family of their son.
This is what is being executed by the media and easily surmised by the hungry masses. Meanwhile the audience needs to dissect and question what they’re being fed and not fall into the diversion traps laid by these media houses.