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Bloomfield Hills Teen Confronts the Ugly Topic of Child Sex Abuse in India

Rohun Dhar has teamed with his Academy Award-nominated uncle to produce of video of street plays, performed in remote Indian villages, as part of a campaign taking on the taboo subject of India’s culture of sexual abuse.

Rohun Dhar of Bloomfield Hills and his uncle, film director Vidhu Vinod Chopra, have teamed to bring Dhar's street plays to a video the Bloomfield Hills teen hopes will erode at a culture that accepts rape in India. (Screenshot: YouTube video)
Rohun Dhar of Bloomfield Hills and his uncle, film director Vidhu Vinod Chopra, have teamed to bring Dhar's street plays to a video the Bloomfield Hills teen hopes will erode at a culture that accepts rape in India. (Screenshot: YouTube video)

A Bloomfield Hills teenager is launching a movement that he hopes will end a culture that normalizes, excuses, tolerates and may even condone the rape and sexual assault of children in India.

A first generation Indian-American born to a chemical engineer who owns his own alternative energy company and a filmmaker, Rohun Dhar’s life is better than many Americans’ and certainly better than most in his parents’ homeland. 

He’s blessed, he told The Detroit News. He’s privileged.

“I’m blessed to have all these resources, and it makes no sense not to maximize the potential,” said Dhar, 17, a senior at the exclusive Detroit Country Day School. “A lot of us go to a privileged school, and enjoy a privileged life, but some are not really doing anything with it.”

Dhar is.

He’s exploring an ugly world that produces headlines like these:

And statistics like these:

Dhar’s campaign to change things is called “Sachi Baath” – or “real talk.”

It involves street plays that he writes, composes and directs, then takes to remote villages across India, where he talks about a taboo topic – particularly so in patriarchal India – through song and dance, something he says all Indians can relate to.

After the performances, he would pass the microphone around, not so much hoping to pry loose some of the secrets, but open a dialogue.

Some shared. Others didn't.

Dhar knows opening a dialogue will take time.

He hopes that a video of his street plays last summer will open eyes and ears – and perhaps even the lips of people who have suffered silently.

The team includes his mother, Shailja Dhar, and sister, Raeshem Nijhon, who served as producers. His uncle Vidhu Vinod Chopra of Mumbai, a film director and producer, will serve as executive producer for his future street plays. His credentials include the 1978 documentary “An Encounter With Faces” that was nominated for an Academy Award.

Chopra said he was not only impressed with the quality of his nephew’s street plays, but also his relentless commitment to initiate public discussion on the topic of child abuse.

His parents are less surprised. His father, Subhash Dhar, said his son has “stepped beyond the normal boundaries of academic accomplishments to fight against and increase awareness of child abuse in our society.” His mother said she saw “amazing growth in Rohun from the time he started the project until he finished.”

Dhar has posted two YouTube videos as part of his campaign against sexual violence, one a trailer previewing last summer’s shows and another one introducing Chopra.

“The videos we have up on YouTube work only to spread awareness of the project, and are not necessarily built with a message or audience in mind,” he told The Detroit News. “... Sachi Baath itself is directed towards not just those of the Indian community, but to all others as well.”

Read the complete story on The Detroit News. >>>

Dale Murrish April 05, 2014 at 04:00 PM
You may have no interest, but please quit discouraging others. Have a nice day.
Dale Murrish April 05, 2014 at 04:03 PM
Not taking advantage of anyone. They would laugh at that. Seriously, JD. I could quote one of them (a non-Christian), who said "these people are crazy," when I was attacked by someone at KTS for "Dale's War on other religions" a couple of years ago.
Dale Murrish April 05, 2014 at 04:08 PM
It's not "my organization" or "my website" either. Marcus Chen runs the website with input from all of us, and all decisions for the club are a consensus of the five or six club leaders.
Dale Murrish April 05, 2014 at 04:10 PM
Club principles and a recent presentation to the Troy City Council are posted here: http://usameltingpot.org/usa-melting-pot-club-update-to-troy-city-council/ http://usameltingpot.org/updates-of-usameltingpot-2/
Daffy Noodnicks April 05, 2014 at 05:45 PM
As usual Dale, you are being obtuse and unreasonable. Have you considered that it is YOU who is discouraging others? You are now using that site to promote your extreme views. That is not a good association for those that you offend. Your continued unreasonableness is not a particularly good advertisement either. However lovely the other people involved with the organization may be, you are still there.

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