Last month, a group of six burglars gang raped a 71-year-old nun after they stormed into her residence, a convent school in India’s West Bengal. The tragic incident caught media attention, especially in the context of increasing international concerns regarding the plight of women after the release of “India’s Daughter”. It is a BBC documentary that premiered on the International Women’s Day (March 8, 2015) to highlight the brutal gang rape and death of a young medical student in Delhi in 2012. The incident led to public outrage which turned into a mass movement that resulted in historic changes in the laws related to rape in India. While the Indian government banned the documentary and termed it an international propaganda to defame the country’s reputation, it is a bitter reality that India has been recognised as one of the most dangerous countries for women. Though Delhi’s incident led to some legal reform, most human rights agencies believe that little has changed for women on the ground since then. What I don’t understand as an outsider is why there was so much hue and cry at the release of the documentary? According to a research conducted by a writer on Indian films produced from the 1970s till date, almost every second Indian film has at least one rape or gang-rape scene with shamefully captured shots that ultimately lead sto such heinous crimes in the country. Content analysis of blockbuster Indian films revealed that there are around 15 violent scenes per film (which are about 3 hours 20 minutes duration on an average). Thus, there are around five violent scenes per hour, which include both physical assault (70%) and verbal assault (30%). Of the total violence scenes, most violent acts are projected graphically with gory details, bloodshed, screaming, background music and detailed depiction of the traumatised victim. Female characters in most mainstream Indian films are portrayed in submissive roles, often depicted as victims. Bollywood blockbusters often glamourise sexual assault and harassment inflicted by the male lead on females. There are several movies that showcase rape, abduction, assault such as Dil, Ram Teri Ganga Maili Ho Gai, Aan, Insaaf ka Tarazoo, Pakeeza, Khoon Bhari Maang, Damini to name a few. The only distinction commercial Indian cinema makes is, it justifies if heroes take such actions to teach a rebellious or rather a ‘bad’ woman some kind of a lesson, bring her back to the right path, and protect her from the evils of the world, while the same derogatory treatment of women by villains are considered vicious that often leads to divine justice mostly at the hands of the heroes, who is rewarded with women’s love in return. The past decade has replaced rape and gang rape scenes with catchy and suggestive item numbers. Item numbers are the lead songs that objectify women and their bodies a as ‘sex commodity’ shimmering in exposed clothes, mostly in bars and on the dance floors. These item numbers – which are widely used for promotions of films – often depict women as mindless and spiritless creatures waiting, inviting – rather demanding – attention, affection and even assault from their male counterparts. Do the largely pervasive Bollywood film industry and its stakeholders – including directors, producers, writers and performers – think that their decade-long narratives have no value? Several generations are brought up and brainwashed with this slow poison. One just wonders if it has no psychological impact. The popular narratives position women as a weaker sex and men as their protectors who have all the rights to objectify, beat, assault, punish and even rape her in the name of love, protection, shelter and care. The irony is that Indian leadership, moral pundits, intellectuals and viewers barely raise voice against such biases, atrocities and one-sided propaganda on the silver screen. Rather, they take pride at the popularity of such trash that generates foreign exchange from across the world. The BBC documentary that highlighted the tragic rape incident is perhaps one of the many manifestations of the century-old gender discrimination propagated and sensationalised in the media, especially on silver screen. What’s crucial to realise is the fact that motion pictures are the unanimously declared most lethal weapon of propaganda that can influence culture, perspectives and attitude of its viewers in a subtle but certain manner. Indian movies have a wide range of appeal and addiction, both in India and outside. Bollywood celebrities are equally worshiped all across the world. In this scenario, one can’t simply overlook the possible detrimental effects of these violence-ridden movies and TV Programmes on the sense, sensibilities and behavior of viewers in Pakistan. Several international research studies have condemned films and TV for spreading aggression, propagating the Mean World Syndrome, and above all desensitising enganged viewers to real life crimes and violence. It is evident that the effects of Indian movies on the psyche of its viewers follow exactly the course any social change agent takes. Leonard Eron – a psychologist – maintained that social change is always slow and static at intervals. Similarly, violence in Indian movies gradually influenced the psyche of its viewers and turned some of the inclined viewers into violent criminals, while other larger vulnerable segments of population converted into either fearful or insensitive human beings based on their family background, inclination and life experiences. Demographically, men always dominate women as an active player in violence, be it films, TV programes, or news reports. In Bollywood films the ratio of man, woman representation was 88:11 in the 1970s, 80:20 in the 80s, 71: 29 in the 90s and 79:21 in 2000s as measured in carefully chosen sample of blockbuster movies reviewed in a research. The study revealed that moderate sexual violence – including harassment – is often romanticised when it’s inflicted upon heroines by heroes. Many researchers – including Eron and Gerbner – maintain that violence in films might not only turn some predisposed vulnerable viewers into violent criminals, but also produce a large majority of fearful individuals who accept a police state or dictatorship as a sole safe solution in a highly dangerous society often projected by filmmakers and state channels. Further, there is the third dimension of the media violence effect that leads to highly immune and numb segments of society, which remain equally insensitive to social violence and injustice with “none of my business” approach. If the documentary presented India as a country of rapists and Delhi as a city where women are living under constant fear of gang rape, molestation, and murder, it is not a coincidence. Rather, it is a living example of the fact that even a country like India – a self-claimed Asian Tiger and superpower – reaps what it sows by creating weapons of self destruction over the decades.