Continued from "Strive, Struggle and Conquer"
The Seventh Episode - Satyameva Jayate
Aamir’s show is a viewer’s commitment to sensible TV-viewership in India. In an atmosphere of unnecessary ‘sensationalizing’ of news events, unreal serials where saas and bahu plan to murder each other with full bridal make-up in the kitchen, and endless repetition of advertisements, this show reaffirms our faith that sensible and good programs can be made and watched. Indian public is still in its proper senses. Selection of topics is very genuine. The issues that this show has raised are very common, real and need immediate attention. Change in any given society has to come from within. Cosmetic surgery will not do. Gender issues that this show has repeatedly raised are the best indictors of our hypocrisy as a society.
A society that worships Maa Durga, beats its women, hurts them, and insults them. Wife beating is supposed to be the first sign of being a ‘real’ man. A wife is considered to be a slave while a husband is thought to be her owner, protector and master. Beating one’s wife is almost like a birth right. It’s the most natural thing to do.
I remember once having talked to a young wife. She told me that after marriage she used to count and wait for the day her husband would beat her. That was what she had seen all her life. She counted, ‘Day one, gone. Not beaten. Second day, third day, fourth day- still not beaten. Amazing! Not thrown out of the house in the night. Great! I’ve found safe place upstairs where I can spend the night when I would be thrown out. Fifth day, sixth day- it’s really taking long.’ Finally, she asked her husband, ‘When are you going to raise your hand?’ The husband said, ‘Never. Why would I beat you? I love you.’ She was stunned, shocked. All her life, she had seen her mother being abused, beaten, thrown out etc. She couldn’t believe that she would ‘actually’ not be beaten. With tears in her eyes, she told me, ‘My husband is a good man. I love him.’
Snehlata Jadhav, Rashmi Anand, and Shanno Bagum shared their traumatic experiences and how they overcame the situation. Stories are all too archetypal to be repeated in detail. Husbands beat. Husbands doubt the character of their wives. Families try to net the movements of women. Women suffer in the name of social shame; for the sake of their children etc. In extreme cases, there is nervous breakdown. Even pregnant women are pushed and trashed. The phenomenon cuts across all strata of the society. Husbands are the breadwinners. Men run families. They feel that they have a right to tutor their wives. Wives usually hide, as long as they can. The saga is the same. And the best point is that we all are fully aware of it. We prefer to brush these unpleasant things aside. We prefer to believe that in ‘dev sanskriti’, nothing wrong can exist. We love to believe that we are perfect.
I have seen it so many times in my life that when you talk about the rights of women to any man, he’d love to recite the couplet which says that gods live where women are worshipped or he’d misquote the couplet which supposedly says that woman and animals etc deserve to be thrashed. Men simply fail to come out of the stereotype. Indian men still fail to grasp that times have changed.
The good examples of the show were indeed heart-warming. The Superintendent of Police from Bhiwani, Haryana, B. Satish Balan has done exemplary work in this field. Kamala Bhasin, a social activist came with true analysis. We beat those whom we consider inferior to ourselves. The conspiracy of patriarchy is such that it forms a vicious circle. The slaves adopt the thinking of the masters. And that makes the task very simple for the masters.
The message was straight forward. The man-woman relationship can flourish in an atmosphere of equality. Daughters must be made part of legal legacy of parents. Bhasin put it very sweetly, ‘Don’t give us dowry; give us property’. The doors of the maternal home should never be shut on a girl after marriage. Indian marriages need to be more happiness-generating. Couples deeply hate each other and live together for fifty/sixty years. They hate and they live. This must be changed. We must share happiness. Men also have soft spots in their psyche. They also need to cry and laugh and share emotions. ‘Mard ko dard nahi hota’ is a misnomer. Aamir claimed that he cries a lot.
For me, the best part of the show was Shanno Bagum’s narration of the episode when she finally slapped her husband and conveyed to him how it pained. After being slapped, he never beat her again. It’s not that beating the hubby is the solution. But it was the best deviation in the show. The epilogue in the form of a song talked about bruises, both physical and mental. It was a good show.
Continued to: "Poison in the Menu"
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