Satyameva Jayate: A Truly Cathartic Experience

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


More by :  Prof. Shubha Tiwari

Top | Opinion

Views: 3316      Comments: 6

Comment Excellent article! Looks like, right from heart.
A great show from Aamir.

a very good use of TV as medium of show and blogs to spread the world further.

Rajiv Arora, usa
16-Jul-2012 03:26 AM

Comment Excellent writeup on a Commendable program!

G Swaminathan
09-May-2012 22:26 PM

Comment Amir Khan should be given BHARAT RATNA , sooner the better
Satya Mev Jayate tells us what we are.> I hope those in loksabha have seen the
program....they should do the best to improve the lot of BHARAT MATA,if they
deserves to be called human beings

Is there better than Bharat Ratna.if three is give to Amir Khan

09-May-2012 18:01 PM

Comment One presumes that education, the skill to read and write, is what universally equalises the status of men and women, in fact, owing to the greater studiousness of women, lends an advantage to the latter. My neighbour in London, for example, of Indian Hindu origin from Guyana, was blessed with 4 daughters - each educated and not only achieving success in business, but happily married - three to Englishmen. one to a Moslem - and bearing children, as well! - the sort of outcome one would expect from sons.

From the article, this is not so obviously the case in India, where the traditional status of women, especially of wealthy families, is not affected by education, but is inherently inferior in the context of mostly arranged marriages, dowry provision, and domestic expectation of women, rearing children as a life's vocation. One can break out of this traditional mind-set if one is poor, because a qualified woman from a poor background can get a job, even if this requires migration to an urban setting, such as is denied to a woman from a wealthy family, who cannot then become an engineer or even an office worker, but is confined to traditional expectations of her.

One final point, the role of women in the west has long since been relieved of
being confined to the home as the help-mate of man. Ironically though, women still value home life, getting married and raising children, but as an expression of freedom of choice, which often does not hamper, but is fitted into, careers. However, a lot of women are single parents, enabled by careers; or divorce easily from relationships that hamper their interests or independence. This is the other side of the coin to women's liberation, arguably a good thing, but superficially breaking down the role of marriage in society, to the extent of it being made redundant, and resolved in less obligatory partnerships. Let us not take for granted the social milieu in the west that has assimilated the concept of working women, particularly of single parents, to the extent as would appear unfeasible in modern traditionally based Indian society.

09-May-2012 10:57 AM

Comment nice article you have written .... the time has come to punish all those people who consider girls as unimportant , they don't know if they continoue their practice then one day india will become "MARTBHUMI the nation without women" , THANX to amir khan to promise us to take a serious step against all those who doing this.........

gaurav sharma
09-May-2012 06:22 AM

Comment This is irony of India.

1) In India, we ask wealth from "Lakshmi", Knowledge from "Sarasvati" and other things from Durga and other Goddesses but their form is not welcomed in our own family. Female child is not preferred in the country of "Devi Pujak" (Goddess Worshipers).
2) Cows are literally eating papers in the country of "Gau Pujak" (Cow Worshipers)

"bahut sare log hamare desh mein dhongi aur double standard wale hain."

Thanks to the program and above article.

07-May-2012 11:31 AM

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