By now most of us have heard about the controversy surrounding the alleged sexual assault against a minor by Bollywood Singer Papon. Now the case has got itself a name Papon kiss controversy. Likewise every case, here also the two camps exist in the battle that has raged on social media since the viral publication of the video showing Papon kissing a contestant on the reality show Voice India Kids. On one hand, we have those who term the incident as an act of sexual assault; and on the other, we have ones who claim that it was innocent “fatherly love”. Let us examine the Papon kiss controversy and the arguments coming from both the sides and decide for ourselves.
Why the Act is Condemnable
since time immemorial, many are present in every society. They even go sexually for girls or women who actually look them up as protectors. In most child molestation cases, the offender is a close friend of the parents. Only recently was Larry Nassar sentenced to life imprisonment after being accused of sexual assault by several female athletes. Until now, the victims found it difficult to voice their complaints as the structure itself was biased against them and did not provide a conducive atmosphere for dialogue or change.
One is reminded of Harvey Weinstein (and the likes of him); who continued to prey on aspiring actors for years, abusing his power as one of the influential Hollywood personnel. At the end of the day; the context of the Papon case is heavily influenced by the countless preceding cases of sexual assaults against minors. A judge taking a child by the jaw and planting a firm kiss on the face/mouth must invite scrutiny. The precedents are just too glaring to brush this aside as an insignificant incident.
Is child capable to judge between right and wrong?
The fact that the alleged victim in question is a minor complicates the matter. The concept of consent is not well understood in India. Children often can’t express their discomfort of being touched or talked to inappropriately. Children in our country are taught to remain silent about the harassment they face to preserve the family honor.
In a recent video, the child contestant Manashi Sahari defended Papon. You can see it for yourself right here.
That’s a manifestation of the paranoia induced by the Indian “honor” right there. For many victims, it takes half a lifetime to completely understand what happened during their childhood. And this process of understanding takes a heavy toll on them, often leaving permanent scars on their psyche.
The Defenders’ Point on Papon kiss controversy
What if Papon only kissed her on the cheeks and did it not because of any sexual drive; but out of an innocent fondness for a talented kid? If his intentions were pure and the kid completely approved of it and didn’t feel at all violated, then would it count as sexual assault? In this case, the defenders conclude, the discomfort of the child is imaginary and the accusation invalid.
What the girl’s father has quoted?
As per the report published by NDTV, the minor contestant’s father, however, said that Papon is his daughter’s mentor and like a father figure to her and requested the media “not to pursue this further”. “He has always encouraged her to pursue her dreams. He doesn’t differentiate amongst the children. What you saw in the video is not intentional. He said it was just a moment of affection that people are portraying otherwise.
What Papon proclaimed on Twitter?
At first, the singer resigned from his position as a judge from Voice of India Kids 2. Then, in a couple of tweets, he implicated his remorse for the controversy he dealt with.
— papon angaraag (@paponmusic) February 24, 2018
— papon angaraag (@paponmusic) February 23, 2018
What is sensible?
The argument from those defending the singer, although well structured, depends on more than one assumption. There’s no way to know what was going on in the heads of the persons concerned. Even though the child later defended Papon, there’s plenty of reasons to doubt that her words were her own; nor is the intention of the accused in any way knowable without a proper investigation. Now the case is there on the court and it will hopefully serve to justice soon.
Notwithstanding the nature of the verdict, it is our duty as conscious citizens to call out the people who are ignorant of the law and unmindful of the basic tenets of the global movement for gender equality and justice. We must do it for sake of building a better society. Far too many people have gotten away by posing as the harmless father figure. We need to speak out now to let the countless child victims in the country know that what has been done to them is not okay and that we’ll be there to hear them when they speak.
What is your view on Papon Kiss Controversy?
People these days especially the youth don’t have patience and attention span to listen and think over. They don’t bother to peek into the situation our nation and people are undergoing. But it necessary for us to discuss issues like this; because no matter how short-lived these controversies tend to be, they are the currencies of social change. Dialogue shapes public opinion; public opinion modifies ideologies which in turn affect individuals directly in the material world. The society needs strict judicial system to end this anarchy of sexual assault and child abuse.
Let us know about your view on the Papon kiss controversy in the comments below.