By Ashley Scarbrough
Maloti became a victim of the male dominated culture of India, as a young teenage girl. A cup of water disguised the drops of poison mixed in. After a few sips, only a whisper slipped from her lips. The drink burned her vocal cords. Sly as a snake, a boy’s family concocted a drink in order to harm her. Like Maloti, 50 million other women experience this persecution sealed within India’s borders. Many women walk the streets in vibrant fabrics of blues, reds, and greens, trimmed in gold. Yet, their saris mask the reality of their daily suffering. The caste system, dowry killings, and living in a shame-oriented culture increase the persecution of women. Gospel for Asia presents the film, The Veil of Tears, narrated by Natalie Grant, which displays this tragic reality of millions of women in India today in the gripping documentary.
Testimonies of medical, social, and ministry professionals in India discuss the persecution of women. The viewer travels from one city to another. In each city, statistics alert the viewer of the harsh circumstances greeting women each day. Men and women give their testimonies in New Delhi, Bangladesh, Punjab, Mumbai and others. Murders, gang rapes and dowry killings infiltrate the air like rotten eggs and burning garbage.
Yet among the darkness, one of the women shares, “I believe there is a ray of hope.” From that point on, stories of despair transform into stories of restoration. Maloti represents hundreds of women who walk from village to village and share their stories. This indigenous movement lights a candle of hope. Through providing resources and friendships, the local women empower other women of India, one village at a time. They not only meet spiritual needs, but also offer education, social, and medical resources. Women train the other women through literacy programs and other technical classes. Gospel for Asia provides a rare and fierce story of the transformation in India. Several factors set the film apart from others.
Through The Veil of Tears, Gospel for Asia examines the details of each major city and its societal pressures. Through visiting cities, the film develops a rich context specific both to the country of India, and each city. While the film introduces the viewer to the national culture, the film also unveils the local societal and economical environments. For instance, each moment the clock strikes a new hour, someone murders another bride over the dowry. Other details involve statistics about the effects of gambling, recorded rape cases and abuse cases.
The film then goes beyond the numbers and immerses into the lives of these men and women. The women begin to unveil their stories, freeing other women from the feeling of isolation. The conversations within the community give each woman a voice. Women like Maloti share their painful pasts. Tears leaks and each woman rests in the comfort of a friend. With testimonies that would send shivers down any person’s spines, these women rise from the ashes. Histories of abuse, rape, friends dying, and threats upon their own lives consume their lives. Fear slithers from one woman to another. Yet, at the sound of each woman’s story, they crush the head of fear. One at a time, they break the chains of slavery with a mission to free others.
Stories of restoration and impact in other women’s lives soak the scene. The courage of these Indian women sparks hope in these dark communities. Men and women flood into villages across in India to help restore dignity. Rather than drowning in the hopeless situation, healing and restoration radiate. “We cannot be the answer to the whole world, but we can start lighting one candle at a time.” This documentary raises awareness of a horrific reality that often goes unnoticed. Through an examination of culture, personal testimonies, and a successful balance of the hopeless with restoration, Gospel for Asia presents a thorough analysis of women’s suffering.
Ashley Scarbrough is currently a student at Dallas Theological Seminary pursuing her Masters of Arts in Media Arts and Worship with an emphasis in writing. While she writes with her pen, she also loves to write with light. She is a professional wedding and portrait photographer, as well as international photojournalist.