Disket Document: Midnight Conversations
Cinematographer: Shaina Anand
Duration: 00:25:48; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 26.932; Saturation: 0.286; Lightness: 0.211; Volume: 0.173; Cuts per Minute: 0.194; Words per Minute: 178.260
Summary: A number of historians, journalists and activists are invited to Disket in the Nubra Valley, Ladakh to participate in National Integration Conference. However, it appears that the same has been misrepresented, on arrival they are told that the actual event is the celebration of "Buddh Mahotsav", the first in a series of Nation-wide Events (the next was to be in Arunachal Pradsh) master-minded and organised by the VHP. What were a bunch of left-liberal folks to do? They performed their speeches for the good citizens and children of Disket, and talked late into the night.
Two of the participants, Rama Menon (RM) and Meena Menon (MM), are sharing a room. In this clip, Shaina Anand (SA) puts them in the spotlight as they conduct a post-mortem on the many strains of conversation which occurred over dinner earlier, with particular reference to Maulana Dehlvi’s (MD) observations and insights, as well as his reactions to their viewpoints
The participants consist of :
SA - Shaina Anand
SH – Shubhadra Anand, Historian (Former Principal and Professor of History, R. D. National College, Bandra, Mumbai )
MM – Meena Menon, Political and Trade Union Activist (Vice President, Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti (Mill Workers' Action Committee) and Senior Associate, Focus on the Global South)
RM - Rama Menon, journalist.
At the hotel in Ladakh, Shaina Anand (SA) is talking to Rama Menon (RM), who is sitting on the edge of her bed. She is sharing the room with Meena Menon (MM) who has already retired for the night and is safely and snugly ensconced under the covers while the conversation is going on. SA and RM are having a kind of post-mortem of the group's dinner discussion. In particular, RM shares her thoughts with regard to the information provided by Maulana Dehlvi, a Delhi-based journalist, on the topic of Muslim women and their depiction in the media. The clip opens with a reflective perspective being offered by RM as captured by SA on camera.
RM: Like what he said. Let us take care of our community and you take care of yours. (Bursts out into laughter. To MM) What are you laughing about?
MM: That's what it came to, the reason...
RM: Yeah, I mean... That's what I said. I mean, I never thought of it that way, that it can be viewed in that light. And it is quite enlightening that it is viewed that way and that it can make somebody very defensive when you say something like that.
RM: And also this thing which he said that "in the press, it's always when the Muslim woman goes to court, it's highlighted." And being from the press, that is obviously a matter of concern. If that is the way the community feels, that we only highlight, you know, something when it is concerning their community...
SA: Do you think that it's true, though? Being from the media?
RM: To some extent, yes, and to some extent, no. Like I said, that's what I was discussing with Meena. Even when Supreme Court rulings happen in Hindu community, maybe we don't say, you know, Hindu case. But we say 'women's right denied' or something of the kind. You know... 'Husband given a favourable judgement is by the fact that he has been abusing her for so many years' ...things like that. That they don't get highlighted... But yeah, I guess they are not sensationalized as the Muslim women's cases are. That's something that we can definitely think about, maybe. Like Maulana said, maybe we should give it a thought and write something positive. Yes, one thing which he said is very true. The ignorance of the press about the Muslim community, which is something, I guess press should definitely do about, since they are considered such a major part of the population. And you do keep on writing about them without knowing what you are writing about.
SA: Yeah, you sometimes do genuinely write on their side.
RM: But like he said, that there are certain nitty-gritties you have to keep in mind. And when you don't know about, then you can't really... Like for example, like he said, "tell us." I didn't even know that there was something like the Women's Council for Muslim women.
RM: Which is surprising. And he says that the Headquarters are in Delhi. We are so-called press people in Delhi and we don't even know that it exists... which shows our ignorance! And which, like he said, "we don't speak English and we don't know how to promote ourselves very well." But it's as much our responsibility to find out as it is theirs to promote themselves. So that way, yeah, I guess the press should do something about it. But (amusedly laughs) going deep into the issues is not a strong point as far as the press is concerned.
SA laughingly agrees: True.
RM: It's mostly generalised. But I don't know, I guess we shouldn't accept that that is the norm and that's the way we are going to be. We gotta change. But there's hardly any time, you know. You're always running from one point to another, meeting deadlines. There's hardly any time to sit back and say that 'let's examine this issue really deep. Let's go for a seminar where we are going to be educated.' We go cover seminars, we sit there and we jot down notes, go to the crux of the matter, come back, file our stories, get out. But going for a seminar where we are educated is rare, very rare. Rare where we are going to be told that these are the things... Yeah, another way is reading. You can, yourself, read up. Which, frankly, journalists just don't do. So that's a problem. But these kinds of attraction help. I mean by coming to Leh, I got a chance to meet someone like Maulanaji
and this kind if interaction will continue. Even if we go back to Delhi, it's obvious that he'll be keeping in touch. I'll be keeping in touch with him, which is definitely going to help. But how much that will translate into coverage, I don't know. I mean how much interest there is in such issues. But positive stories, like he said, yes... That is something which can definitely be used by newspapers because newspapers love feel-good stories.
RM: So much is happening. See these women are fighting back; in their own way, a quiet revolution is happening. They love that kind of stuff.
RM: So, I think, yeah.
muslim women's cases
women & media
RM: No. See, one thing... people who read newspapers, they also make a selection of what they want to read.
SA: Very selective.
RM: They don't necessarily read all the stories, you know, that appear in the newspaper. So, one thing is in the presentation. So, even if you have presented like you said; after reading the story, they might conclude that this is just, you know, one of those pieces where somebody is trying to be pseudo-secularist or whatever. That is there, but I also feel that hammer long enough and those attitudes too can change. Because, I mean, a story, a well-written, even a hardcore Hindu or whatever, even they would like to believe that some change is happening even among Muslim women. See they themselves are like, you know, wanting to change their religion or something.
SA softly agrees: Yeah.
RM: They love, they would love something like that. So I don't think it is a completely negative thing, no. They won't say that this is all bullshit and bunkum.
SA agrees with her : Yeah.
RM: To some extent, yes. But it will have an impact. The whole point is, I don't know, newspapers have to make a concentrated effort to find out such stories. Like he says, that this woman goes to the shariat court and finds justice.
RM: Well, I mean, the reader would be highly sceptical of a story like that. That would be the attitude - "Oh, really!" - kind of thing.
RM: So, or they would say that one woman got justice, what about all the women who went there and didn't? So, that would be the kind of attitude...
The conversation continues to reflect on the diversity of representation when it comes to Hindu women issues as opposed to Muslim women's issues. There is also a discussion on the cynicism of the average reader, and the need to present positive cases to the general public with regard to these issues.
RM: So then, we are talking about statistics. Which is something again, I guess, that what Maulanaji
has said is very true - they don't really promote themselves, I guess. They don't really - what do you call it? - they don't really document the cases and say that so many cases appeared and these are the judgements that came through.
RM: Which is so important if you've got to prove a point. And say, "see, these are the changes that are happening." Like, for example, even to cases pertaining to rape, when you are saying that no conviction is happening or less conviction is happening, we do it on the basis of the statistics. You say, "so many cases came up for hearing. This is what happened in these cases." So in the same way, unless there is proper documentation of these things, that this happened in the Shariat Court, that happened in the court... Just saying that one woman went to the court and she got justice; the typical attitude of the reader will be "Big deal."
SA: True, yeah.
RM: So, I guess it will require a lot of work actually. A lot of work. I mean from both sides. From their side, like I said, they will have to put in more of effort in terms of documentation and things like that. In terms of press people, I guess, in terms of more effort to go and find such stories which have worked, get a better understanding of these people who are like huge numbers in Delhi and stuff. And you don't write much about them at all.
SA: True, another thing I felt that happened in the course of this weekend, and it's just sort of on the periphery, that I felt that sort of mood happening...
SA: Where just amongst us... I don't know, at least with Irfan, with Maulana, were people ready for some sort of mainstream dialogue, like "what was going on there?" Where, like they did feel that - "No, we must interact. Yeah, whatever, now let's hear the VHP out, one on one."
SA: And I think it went beyond mere curiosity. For someone like me, it was just curiosity. "Oh, you know..."
RM (completing her sentence): Let's see what these people have to say.
SA: Let's see what's up in Deewan's head or so. With that full angle on it. But everybody kept saying whether we were speaking about you or journalists, and getting a dialogue - "we've got to be there, we've got to exchange" - whether it is going to the women's... you know, the thing or whatever! Did you feel...? I mean, that to me is, it went one step further. Means it didn't stay cynical.
SA: I mean, meeting Maulana, meeting...
RM: Yeah, but you should also look at it this way - the people who have gathered here, like I said today, that you know finally, it's almost a hand-picked kind of this thing. Of people who are similar, who are at least, you know...
SA: Secular minded...
RM: Yeah. I mean there are some things common. They believe in certain basic things. The difficulty is going to happen when you meet people who don't believe in all of these things, who are going to say this is all bullshit. Like Deewan. Like Maulana said that Deewan would say this in front of me and go and say that - yeh toh hamaare saamne yeh sab bolte hain, lekin
, you know, he's probably going to say something else, when he leaves this place.
So, even among journalists, I mean, if you meet a lot of them, they are going to have a very different attitude. I mean, they are going to say, "yeah, this is all fine" when we are sitting across the table and talking like this. In reality, that's not so.
The midnight musings continue... RM reflects on the need for more documentation of Muslim women's hearings in court, judgements and law related matters. this would then produce accurate statistical data to allow for more informed projections and writing in media. SA also brings up the change she perceived among the group at Ladakh and an intuitive query regarding the need for more authentic dialogue with the VHP reps by the group.
RM brings up a particular issue which was discussed earlier at the dining table with Maulana Dehelvi, and his reactions to RM and MM's views and perspectives. RM states her view of the fact that the group in Ladakh is secular-minded but worries that other journalists in the field would be more resistant to any discussion of such matters.
RM: And they would say ki
the whole reading which Maulana gives of, you know, of us - "why would you guys criticize us? Why don't you go back." Like Meena put it in perspective, that yeah, I mean like, they do feel that way. This is something which they have had to work with and this is something which they have had to realize. Another journalist... I mean, there are many in our profession who would have their hackles rising immediately. I mean, if Maulana made a statement like that, they would say that - "Well, that just shows..." See, this is the attitude of the guys! These guys, they don't like us saying anything progressive. They don't like anybody questioning their religion.
RM shares her views on Women and the Media. She brings out the fact that there are less restrictions involved while working in a cosmopolitan city like Delhi, whereas certain other cities, despite having safer reputations, there still exists a sort of unsaid sexist segregation in terms of possible topics. RM appears to be implying the continued existence of the glass ceiling in the Indian media, particularly with regard to issues that have [reviously been considered solely the territory of men (eg. crime, sports, etc)
The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) is an association which aims to provide a forum for women in media professions to share information and resources, exchange ideas, promote media awareness and ethics, and work for gender equality and justice within the media and society. http://www.nwmindia.org/
has more information regarding the same.
SA: Okay, Women and Media. I want you to talk about that.
(RM smiles and laughs at the question)
SA: Being in the media and all that. You've been there how many years now?
RM: Uh, seven years. Since '94... Yeah, seven years! Yeah... I don't know. I know only about Delhi! I think, it's fine, I guess.
RM: It's perfectly okay for women and media, actually! Because there is no beat which is taboo for us, even crime, almost every kind of investigative beat. Express (Indian Express Newspaper) for example, has a woman heading their investigative team. So, Delhi is fine. But I don't think that's the case for a lot of other places. Like even Pune, which is such a great place otherwise for women.
SA (agreeing tone): Yeah.
RM: Women are not allowed to cover crime! I don't if things have changed now, but when I was a student and we were doing journalism and we worked as interns there and things like that, there were - what do you call it? - no laid down rules. But it was the unwritten rule that women don't cover crime. It was the guys who covered crime. I don't see any reason why it should be that way because Delhi is supposed to be more dangerous...
SA: and more sexist!
RM: And more sexist and all that. But women do a fantastic job covering crime. So why not in the rest of the country? I just don't understand! That way, otherwise...
indian express newspaper
women and media
SA: Women and film is another story altogether.
(RM is caught by surprise and laughs. SA joins in the laughter as well.)
RM: Because in Delhi, I think they are pretty good.
SA: They should be the editor. They should never shoot. They are too weak to hold the camera... so...
RM: But also in the media there is one problem. That is, I think that there is something called the glass ceiling which does work. I mean, I have yet to see a women actually become an Editor.
SA: An Editor! Yeah.
RM: Considering that we've got such fantastic women journalists who have done such tremendous work, but none of really rose to become an editor. Which just shows that there's some kind of... at some level there is...
SA: Even broadcast!
RM: Yeah! Broadcast chalo
, even they say Radhika Roy is pretty powerful in the NDTV this thing. But again, it's not by virtue of her journalistic skills say - I wouldn't want to say any of this - It's more like she is Prannoy Roy's wife. She's running the show. But still, it feels good that she is the one taking the decisions, she's the one who is hiring and firing, she is the one who takes a lot of important decisions. But in the newspaper world, no way! Women can head a supplement, they can head Sunday sections, but not the main paper! In fact, I don't think there's even a woman chief of bureau for that matter.
RM: So the Times of India (Indian Newspaper) had a chief...
SA: And no weekly magazine either, na?
RM: No, not that I've heard of ever. You have senior correspondents, you have people heading the magazine, like I told you, but definitely not the main paper. It's always the guys. But then the reasons for that are many, which I am not going to talk about.
SA: No, tell ya!
RM: One thing, of course, the woman are not willing to fight. After a point, they just say ki
to hell with all this. One of the people is, I don't know if Usha Roy can be a good example. But then, Usha Roy, after all, she is a senior journalist, very much respected and things like that. She just moved out and she went to a complete different profession now. She's not there any more. Or Leela Menon in Kerala. (Turns around to look at MM, who is lying down on the bed, tucked away in her razai
(bodycover), warm and snug in the cold weather of Ladakh) Meena has gone to sleep. Otherwise, I'm sure she would know Leela Menon... (RM tries to get a response from MM) Leela Menon?
RM: From Kerala? The one who exposed the sex scandal?
RM: At Sri...
MM: She's the one who broke that story.
RM: Yeah, she broke that story.
MM: I don't know her.
RM: Now she's not in... anywhere. She's not in Express. Someone who broke a story and somebody who is as good a journalist as she is well-respected...
MM (interested, if sleepy): What happened? What happened to her?
RM: I don't know the exact story. But she had a major tussle with Madhav Kutty who is heading Express and was thrown out.
(meaning) situation created. I mean, of course nobody throws anyone out. They just create a situation that forces you to leave.
MM: That's very sad!
RM shares her views on Women and Media, focusing particularly on the still prevalent aspect of the glass ceiling, citing various cases that she is personally aware of.
Leela Menon is a leading journalist in India. A number of her articles are archived at http://www.outlookindia.com/author.asp?name=Leela+Menon
has an interview with Leela Menon discussing the continued reality of the glass ceiling in Indian journalism.
Radhika Roy is the managing director of NDTV. She also has a number of years of experience in print journalism and television.
times of india
women and film
It is interesting to note that the conversation here, primarily stated by Rama Menon, revolves around women who need to achieve a sense of stature in a male-dominated environment. She criticises those who chose to opt out of the same, stating that they don't have 'the drive.' However, current feminists have noted that women often choose to follow the rules set in place by the male-dominated/ patriarchal system that they so abhor, or wish to change. By stating that the women aren't necessarily persistent enough, or that part f the way things are currently run can be laid at their door for having chosen to opt out, is all but laying culpability at the door of women who perhaps chose not to play the game the way it has been always been played; the implication here is that they've internalised the system that they actually are choosing to oppose.
RM, MM and SA share their views on the coveted top positions maintained by men in media, and the inability of women to cross that divide. RM also shares the inspiring story of Kathleen Herron, the deputy managing editor at the Sunday Times, UK.
RM: So, certainly I don't know if it's just a question of women not being persistent enough. They don't have enough drive to fight it out.
MM: They need support as well.
RM: And, you know, a lot of them opt out of this power game which you have to play, and things like that.
MM: That's it.
RM: Yeah, that's also a point. So, I guess it's as much their fault as ours.
SA: It's the last thing worth fighting for! I mean...
RM: Yeah, but I don't know. I mean, who is this woman who just retired from the - what is it? - the Washington Post? The New York Times? Which is the this thing?
MM: The New York Post?
RM: The New York Post? The woman who gave permission to follow the story that brought down Nixon?
(Looks at MM who looks back blankly, not having a clue what RM is referring to)
RM: What is the famous case, yeah? The Watergate scandal?
MM: Yeah, the Watergate scandal.
MM: So, it was a woman?
RM: Yeah. She was heading the paper, she took the decision that we had to follow this story to the end.
MM: I don't know.
RM: Recently, she retired or she died. (Under her breath.) I don't remember what now, I just remember vaguely...
RM: So they said that she was one of the woman who, you know...
MM: At the top.
RM: She was at the top. She took the decisions. Obviously she was vindicated because the whole thing came out. He had to resign and stuff like that. So, I mean, except for very few success stories - yes, of course, like when we went for our scholarship and we met this woman who was Deputy Managing Editor, Sunday Times, London... Kathleen Harrand - It feels good, I mean, that there are...
(MM says something faintly.)
RM: Yeah, to see a woman holding a position like that. But, there are also like, fantastic stories about her. But I guess there are no less stories about other men editors too. That's fine.
SA: Yeah, the women always make the better stories... as the objects of...
(General laughter all round in agreement.)
RM: Absolutely. But then there are as many stories about other editors too, so that's not a problem. The only thing is, in women, is that I guess, women react sharply to such things. Whereas Kathleen, one of the good things about her was that she gave a damn to what people were saying about her. She's really tough, which is nice. It's really inspiring to see women like that. They give a damn... so...
(Laughter on a shared understanding.)
gender bias in media positions
new york post
new york times
power game in media
RM describes the the inclusion of women in the previously male-dominated fields of sports and newspaper photography in India.
RM: But women and media, the glass ceiling does exist. That definitely is there. That can change when somebody becomes an editor. I mean, when a woman becomes an editor, we can say, "yeah, fine." Maybe not...
SA: Yeah, but at least in Asian politics it doesn't. In South Asian politics, the women, at least once in a way reach somewhere. Despite...
RM: One good thing is that a lot of things considered only men's domain, kind of thing - like sports for example - we've got at least two women who are covering sports in a major way; one, at least who is covering in a major way, which feels good. I mean, I hate sports, I don't read the sports page ever or anything of that kind. But it feels good to see that some woman is covering the sport and she's doing a great job of it.
RM: So, that is one way.
SA: It's not fun seeing women doing financial analysis. It's like, 'what's up with them? How can they talk these senseless things?'
RM: And also women into photography. Very few, very, very few. Because newspaper photography is horrendous. I mean, like, push, pull, shove, do whatever you can, because you have to get the photograph.
SA: Kill. Yeah.
RM: But there are a few women who are doing that too. Slowly, I guess things are changing.
SA: Yeah, I guess they are.
RM: I don't know...
SA: Now talk about Nubra.
RM: Nubra? Nubra was an eyeopener. I first arrived in Nubra from Leh in a Sumo with these two VHP characters.
SA: Who was it? It was...
SA: M.D.Deewan and...
RM: M.D.Deewan and somebody, some Guruji
SA: Oh, that Guruji
RM: That Guruji
SA: What's his name?
RM: Ram Riksh Tripathi, Ram Rakshak Tripathi... something like that.
SA (laughingly): Ram Rakshak?
RM (joins in): I don't know, some name like that. Some Ram R. Tripathi. So that was quite an experience...
SA: Did he talk or was he just...?
RM: No, they were talking twenty to the dozen whether they had an audience or not. I mean, so much so that poor Joshiji
puked all along the way because of that. (Laughter shared by all at the evoked recollection.) Too much of noise pollution.
SA: Meena, what's the reason for you and Mom puking then? (Amidst more laughter.) What was it? Too much talking?
MM: Ours was the cutlet.
SA: No, was it too much talk?
MM: It's just that, you know, Joshi was hurrying up...
RM: No, Joshi already had a headache and, I guess it was too much for him that these people were talking at the top of their voice. I was not helping because I was not giving up arguing with them, so, if I had...
SA: You were arguing with them?
RM: Yeah. Basically they were trying to tell you what a good job they are doing and stuff like that.
SA: So you were aware from then that they have supposedly organised the Buddh Mahotsav.
RM: Oh, yes!
MM: This had started with the whole lecture on that.
RM: They said that they are... That Guruji
is the brain behind the whole thing.
RM: That's what they told me - that Guruji
is the brain and the whole idea is to have a festival like Tilak had started Ganesh Mahotsav to bring people together, to unite the people.
SA: That was his logic?
RM: Yeah. So same way they are organizing...
MM: Funny thing is, you know, I've just written about that in the book.
MM: About this... Neera and I were finishing the last draft of the book, and we just studied the book of Tilak. It's an organisation. It's the Sarvojanik Ganeshotsav which has brought out a book on Tilak in which it talks about the reasons, and how he brings in all the icons. Shivaji was one. He started the Shiv Jaiyanti, he started the Sarvojanik Ganeshotsav, but you know something?
MM: In that, he constantly stressed that non-caste, and in fact he even said that Shivaji ws not against Muslims. He was very careful to stress the amity part of the whole thing.
MM: The community part of it, he didn't at all have a communal agenda. See, Tilak was very much a Hindu, but he was not communal!
MM: These guys are talking about Tilak. It's a complete... I mean, it's trespassing, you know. And he talked about... In Ganeshotsav, he was talking about Hindu unity and he said that festivals are for fun, and to educate and entertain.
(SA giggles and laughs in agreement.)
MM: A lot of people do have fun, which is very sweet. Irrespective of caste, Hindus should come together.
RM: These guys are singing the same tune about caste. Because finally, I think, these guys have realized that, you know, by alienating lower caste they are not going to go very far.
MM: That they said, yes.
RM: So, they said, during the long lecture they gave me in the car, they were saying that they were doing a lot for Dalits and stuff like that. So, I said, that instead of criticizing people of other religions, basically. Because there have been a lot of reports from Karnataka, Andhra; these places where people have not been allowed to get into temples. I mean, untouchability being practiced even today... I said, what have you done about that? If you are majorly talking about the Dalits. Have you VHP people gone there and beaten up the people? I mean, everywhere, these VHP people claim to have taken direct action and they very proudly proclaim that their... I forget the word that they use, but their sister organisation, Hamara whatever... another branch kind of thing... Bajrang Dal jo hain, woh bhi bahut kaam kar raha hain.
(Laughs merrily.) I mean, the last thing you would expect is you know, people to trumpet the name of Bajrang Dal, after the Staines incident. And stuff like that. But they seem pretty proud of their association with the Bajrang Dal. So I said, have you ever gone to any of these temples and beaten up the people, you know, who are stopping the Dalits from entering?
RM: So, they say - one - they say its all media projection.
RM: They say, that itne saare
cases nahin hain
as we make it out to be and two is, that jahaan jahaan hain, toh hum kaam kar rahe hain wahaan pe
. (Whereever it is, we're reducing it there.) Kya kaam kar rahe
(what work they are doing) is very vague.
Shaina Anand asks about Rama Menon to recount her experiences on the ride in to Nubra, as she was not part of the group invited specifically to cover the supposed National Integration Conference. This is due to the fact that RM had been officially invited by the VHP to cover the event, thereby leaving the others with the impression that RM was partial to the policies of the VHP. Having corrected this impression, she now recounts the origins of the VHP's purpose for organising the Buddh Mahotsav and the ideology behind the move, while Meena Menon shares the actual purpose of the original Ganesh Mahotsav started by Tilak.
has more information regarding the famous freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar TIlak.
Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). More information on the same can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bajrang_Dal
The Staines Incident refers to the death of Graham Staines and his two sons. Staines, a missionary working in Orissa, was trapped in his jeep with his two young sons as burned alive. Although the incident has been linked to the Bajrang Dal, the inquiry into their involvement was dropped due to a supposed lack of evidence.
ram r. tripathi
RM: And then about Conversion. Which is a major problem with them - "they are converting them through foul means!" They put paracetamol in the water and tell people that it is the prasad
(holy sweets) of Jesus and have made people eat that.
MM: Paracetamol ka prasad
RM: God knows, Dispirin or some such was dissolved in water and somebody was cured of his fever and was told that it was Christ''s prasad
, when actually it was not and it was a drug being given to him and stuff like that, and how we went and exposed it. So I asked them that if you are against all this, then why don't you work in the tribal belts? I mean, you guys like to sit in your air-conditioned offices but not really go and work. Whereas Christian missionaries, when all said and done, they work in very difficult areas, where not even the government manages to reach the people.
So then he said, "No, this is a very wrong impression." Actually the missionaries... like this inner line permit that you have in Nubra. According to him, this kind of a thing existed in the British times also, in tribal areas and forest areas. And only missionaries would be given permission to go to all those places, and we (the VHP) were not allowed to enter these places. So he's saying that is how missionaries gained access to these places and managed to have a base in these kind of areas.
MM: I'd say, it's possible.
RM: It is a possibility.
SA: That's true, actually.
RM: Yeah. So he says that is how it happened. Because we were not allowed to work in any of these areas. But now we've established God knows how many schools - some thousands he quoted, some figure -
SA: But Nubra the missionaries never set foot anyways. What happened?
SA and RM : Lights went off.
SA: We shall end this in darkness?
SA: I couldn't help noticing your t-shirt though. Meena, did you read her t-shirt?
(RM and MM laughing at that.)
MM: I'm so something sick. I've used up all my sick days.
SA: So I call in dead!
SA: So you have a plan for tomorrow.
RM: This is very Freudian - so what do you have to say about tomorrow?
MM: Okay, who's your immediate boss?
RM: Uh, Pankaj Vohra.
MM: What about Charlie?
RM: Who's that?
MM: This thing which you said that "why don't woman become editors?" Because I don't think woman are very good about being fixers, in that sense.
RM: I guess they also get too emotionally involved.
MM: No, I have seen...
SA: If they ever have a ruthless streak, then they would just be cut up there only. You can't...
RM: I've seen ruthlessly ambitious. But ruthlessly ambitious also has a limit.
RM: They don't really have a vision to become the editor. Their ambition doesn't take them that far. Most of them stop short of that.
MM: Somewhere that rings true! They don't try to get there. Also, it's a little bit of loser mentality.
(Everybody laughs a self-effacing laugh. The conversation ends.)
The discussion now deals with the VHP attitude toward the religious conversions of the tribal people, notably by Christian Missionaries, and their attempt to justify their own approach toward the same. RM also continues to explore the possible reasons for a lack of female editors. The clip ends with the same.