Volume 005

Crime

What Lies Beneath, A Feminist Exhumation

January 2024
Volume 005 : Crime
What makes a crime, who is a criminal, and what in the hot white mess is a feminist way of looking at crime anyway? The background work on this edition involved a lot of old school study, and new school interpretations. Together, we believe we have found something not unlike a kaleidoscope, where broken pieces of glass move synchronously to yield a pattern that is both unique and ubiquitous.

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The first episode features Priyanka Dubey, who talks to us about her journey of documenting violence and crime, her inner life and mental landscape after doing this job for the last 14 years, and how she carries grit and poetry to every scene of crime.
Nirantar Radio introduces a new show featuring F-Rated conversations aka, Feminist Rated Conversations. In Season 1 of F Rated Interviews, meet India’s intrepid women crime reporters, on journalism, ethics, gender, conflicts and some thrilling night rides under the sky.
When we started our discussions on crime at the Learning Lab, one thought lingered—if we commit a wrong against a person, that can be called a crime; but if our environment is being harmed, can that be classified as crime as well?
We know very little about the life of the ordinary woman prisoner. She is either non-existent in popular imagination or made out to be an extraordinary deviant, transgressing all codes of social morality. But what constitutes the ordinary woman prisoner’s ‘criminality’? What lies at the heart of it? What are her dreams, desires and fears? What does a post-prison life look for her?
“Is deterrence of crime a valid end of justice, and therefore a valid measure of punishment?… Which is the crime whose deterrence one is talking about? To say that punitive justice may validly seek to deter rape is at least a sensible proposition."
In 2022, the theme for Pakistan’s annual Aurat March was Reimagining Justice. The manifesto highlighted failures of the criminal justice system, and emphasised the need to build a “feminist culture of care that looks beyond the individual to address structural violence”. The word ‘care’ it said, needs to be “decoupled from stereotypical understandings of feminine traits and envisioned as collective responsibility”.
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