Like the whole of India, I was also waiting for Mr. Perfectionist’s date with destiny. It really turned out to be a date with destiny. The show was very touching and very moving. I freely wept. But it would be apt to go about looking at the show analytically.
The basic thesis of the show is simple. We are responsible for our condition. Pointing fingers won’t do. The show is clinically non-partisan and that’s the best thing about it. Taking political sides erodes credibility. Everyone’s clever these days. People immediately know ‘whose channel it is’ or ‘whose show it is’. So, the best part was the apolitical flavor of the show. It was ‘we, the people’ thinking and talking about ‘we, the people’.
There’s no denying the fact that perils of India root out of the people of India. People get what they deserve. We get the kind of governance, the kind of civic amenities that we deserve. No system works if the quality of people is poor. Any effort at improving things has to begin at improving the people, enlightening and educating the people. This is what the show is all about.
|Why do people want a son so desperately that they behave like hardened criminals? What are the factors which propel this behavioral pattern?
The past, the beginning of female feticide in India, the victims, the cruelty involved, the role of doctors, the whistle blowers and their plight, the social scenario resulting from female feticide, the solution to the problem, the exemplary work in Navashahar, and finally a touching, melodious song - wow! The show was perfect. The research involved, the meticulous planning, the hard work and the commitment – it was all showing. There were no hidden identities. The victims came out in the open. The journalists, the doctors, the lawyers - all came out in the open. Even the cute girls who survived all attempts to be butchered came and sat. Human life is precious; it is to be treated with dignity - that was the message.
One lady had all her face animally eaten up by her husband because she failed to produce sons for him. Another lady had six horrible experiences of forced and deceitful abortions in as many years. One lady doctor narrated her experience where the caring cot of the baby girl was pushed down stairs by the mother-in-law in order to get rid of the girl. Horror tales in educated, high-class India! Then came the poor journalists who had first exposed female feticide in media. Eight years down the line- they are knotted in legal battle across the state of Rajasthan. Not a single doctor has been punished so far. To torture the whistle blowers, the cases have been shifted to different parts of the state. They keep going from place to place, risking their safety. Even arrest warrants are issued for those who exposed the evil practice. But the doctors who were involved in the crime are still practicing and flourishing.
Things do not end here. It could not have become more ironical for India’s religiosity when we were told that doctors use code words ‘Jai Mata di’ for female fetus and ‘Krishan Kanhaiya’ for male ones. We are killing our girls unabated. The myth that uneducated people kill their daughters was broken as it is more of an urban-educated class phenomenon.
The show went on to show the army of unmarried men in a village; there are no girls left to marry them. The girls have been killed in the womb. The long term impact of this heinous practice, furtherance of exploitation of women through this practice, sale and purchase of women for procreation purposes etc were brought to light.
The best part of the show was its positive attitude. The good work of district administration and the people of Navashahar, Haryana was hailed. Bharati, a young and poor mother gave the message simply, ‘We love our daughter. Next time, whatever, God will give, we’ll be happy to receive.’
The concept of ‘Satyameva Jayate’ is very original and effective. The concept has found a perfect executioner in Amir Khan. As a teacher, I’m tempted to suggest that a word could have been dropped about the deep psychological, mythological and patriarchal knots that compel the collective consciousness of India to be so heavily tilted towards the son. It’s a legitimate question – why do people want a son so desperately that they behave like hardened criminals? What are the factors which propel this behavioral pattern? Patriarchy, the family name, the concept of honor being inseparably associated with the female body, discrimination in institutions and work place, dowry, dangers and insecurity are reasons that tame the Indian psyche.
Overall, it was a thought-provoking show. All the injustices of the years gone by, the pain of mothers, grand-mothers, aunts and neighbors came and choked the throat. The episode evoked that kind of a response. Hats off to the master craftsman and the sensitive soul that Amir is! It was a well-researched and well written research paper.
Next: Our Children Are Not Safe