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What I thought of Satyamev Jayate

Like many of you, I too sat glued to the T.V to watch the opening episode of the much advertised show Satyamev Jayate hosted by Aamir Khan. I was completely impressed with the topic that was chosen to be discussed on the opening episode. Female foeticide or infanticide-a burning issue that had been debated to deaths on the blog world was finally getting the attention at a national level.

We, as bloggers, do know for a fact that educated and well-to-do people are equally and perhaps more involved in the practice. However it was an eye-opener for the rest of the audience. A simple fact of science taught in class 7 or 8 that the male chromosome is the key factor that determines the sex of a child is something that got conveniently forgotten. Or was it? The shocking case of Dr. Mitu, whose in-laws rank among the very well educated, is indeed proof that perhaps the male progeny crazed people do not care about the science.

My mother-in-law is a septuagenarian who kept trying for a son till she got one finally after 3 daughters. She was 38 when she finally became a mother of a son! She obviously wished that her first grandchild would be a male. Fortunately for her, her wish was fulfilled. Now, I know for sure that I would not have been tortured or asked to abort if it had been a girl but I have always wondered if she could have showered the same amount of love for a grand-daughter instead. I got a chance to ask her this recently and although she said she would have accepted the girl child with equal love, she also didn't mask the pride, relief and gratitude to the Almighty to have granted her wish. After all her daughter-in-law achieved something that she and many of her predecessors and contemporaries achieved after several frustrating and anxious attempts. It was a matter of status and pride those days to have a son, she quipped when prodded to the whys. I failed to make her see my point of view that if people like her grew and continued to have such beliefs today,  there really would be no girl left in the country to marry off the blessed and precious sons. She is two-generations behind us, so maybe, just maybe, we can grant her, her thinking but sadly there is a vast majority from the so-called modern thinking clan who think on the very same lines. How is it that for a son to get married and have children, they want females but to have them born as their daughter or grand-daughter is simply not acceptable? What kind of warped thinking is this?

The point is, will such shows open the eyes of people who are perhaps more aggressive and vehement than my mother-in-law in their stubbornness to somehow have a male progeny in their family. The show is certainly in the right direction going by the uproar and wave it has created. For once it is about the right issue and not about some nonsensical grapevine of the Bollywood. However, the show is not only about female infanticide; the next episode on there will be other important issues to be highlighted and discussed. This cannot be handled in the same way one watches a debate on the show, discuss it online and elsewhere, create a few ripples, make small inroads here and there and then let it slither off the back and memory, few months down the line. Sustained efforts to keep the flame of reform burning and fueling it time and again to let it grow wild enough to compel people to take note of this malady is essential. And these efforts are to be made by us as individuals, by the society in general, by the authorities who shut their eyes and ears to the growing social illness and by the rest of ethical medical fraternity.

When a woman as a mother-in-law forgets the pain she goes through as a mother to bring a child into this world, when she begins to think just as a mother of a son and considers herself to have achieved the highest form of salvation by the virtue of being one and inflicts pain on the daughter-in-law either mentally or physically, it is the duty of the daughter-in-law to stand up for herself- first to secure herself and second to bring punishment to the guilty. This will happen only when daughters are raised to think independently, educated to be financially independent and given enough love and respect so that she develops a healthy self-esteem instead of raising them as just as a responsibility, someone who will get married and go off to take care of someone else's parents.Values of "adjustment" and tolerance" are good but they should not be applied when the self is at stake.

Just a couple of factors in the show that came across to me as disturbing:

Firstly, the case studies. Although I am not denying the validity and truth in them, it was certainly glaring to note that all of them barring the one from Delhi came from BJP ruled states. If this was coincidental, then it is a very interesting one. Secondly, the red areas shown on the Indian map to highlight the maligned areas funnily showed Andhra Pradesh as a fairly clean state. Now as a person who lived in Hyderabad for a few years, I can safely say that it is a state where dowry is openly discussed, taken and given. I find it really hard to believe that the state is progressive enough to not practice female foeticide or infanticide.Thirdly, while I am happy to note that a town in Punjab has been successful in eradicating this malice, I also wish to point out that the Modi government in Gujarat has been equally a crusading factor in bringing about a change.
http://www.firstpost.com/india/the-menace-of-female-foeticide-gujarats-initiatives-300703.html

These irritants can be ignored if the larger context is upheld and some progressive thinking takes place. I'll put my cynical self on hold for a while until then.

P.S. I am not a mouthpiece for Modi government or BJP but am in general more in favour of these two when compared to the other severely corrupt parties.And I am aware of the media which is largely in the hands of the ruling party and sweeps off the good work done by the opposition under the carpet and generally twists the facts to present its story.

Comments

  1. Lovely post Uma (as usual :) )

    I HAVE to watch the episode now! yes yes, I am one of the sad people who didnt watch it!

    While I can understand your MIL's need to have a grandSON, I cant understand why even today women want a son...I wrote on the womensweb site earlier about my experience with my neighbours both who blessed me that have a son by next navratri (not possible now knowing that I am not even pregnant!) but they both used the word SON and not child!! It can get so so bugging!!!

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    1. aww..you are being kind, RM!

      do watch it on You tube and share your views.

      Yeah I read your post about it..don't know where this son obsession is going to take us! :-(

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  2. Interesting post....made an exciting reading as I guess this is the hottest topic everywhere being discussed. And I agree to each of your word. Narendra Modi has definately done an excellent job when it comes to administration in his state Gujarat.

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    1. Thanks Me! I knew you'd appreciate the praise for Modi government :-)

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    2. Watching it from close quarters definately calls for this appreciation! :o)

      Delete
  3. I completely agree with you views... And yes, even today there are well educated people who opt for a third child to have a son..

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    1. I know Radhika, it is so depressing to see backward thinking prevail over logic and reasoning, inspite of education :-(

      Delete
  4. this has been by far the most balanced and well- thought out response to the show. i have seen people calling it either fake/publicity stunt or going to the other extreme and glorifying it as some sort of a revolutionary show

    the effort needs to be lauded and at the same time, if WE, as THIS generation people, aware & educated, fail to change our own thinking, then ...
    i mean, i know some of my own friends, my peers, longing for a son & then sitting and watching the show and shedding tears. when will I as a mother/daughter realize that my daughter is same as a son i might have had or already have. and if the show does even a tiny bit towards that, then welcome and i sincerely hope,like you said,that it is a "sustained effort" from all of us

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    1. aww..Sujatha, Thank you so much..am so glad you think that way. You've made my day! :-)

      SO true. The change needs to be from within, not by just shedding tears along with the show participants and audience. There needs to be a quiet resolution from within, not just short bursts of anger and energy that will die down without the right kind of direction.
      A T.V. show can only do so much. It is after all the disease of the mind.

      Delete
  5. I have also not watched the show Uma, planning to over the weekend. I feel that we have a long long way to go to change our mentality, possibly even a couple of generations! As you rightly said, such shows on TV will be done to death now, but the change can only be sustained by continuous efforts by individuals at all levels in the society, and fore fronted by women. Very concise post, Uma!!

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    1. I hope the change is brought about by this generation who will hopefully not pass on such regressive thinking to the next generation. Let the suffering end with us. Women empowerment needs to come yet some more way..till then lets hope.
      thanks, Vibha :-))

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  6. Havent watched the show[dont have SP;-P] but hrd good reviews. Like u said we as bloggers are 'aware' but for the rest it must have been an eye-opener. It's not tht everybody is unaware of the problem, but age-old habits still dominate and women still keep quiet for fear of creating ripples.
    Whatever the reviews I'm glad issues are being brought out in the open giving everybody a chance to discuss and open their minds.

    Did I Great Post:-))????

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    1. Hey Nancy, good to see you here after so long :-)))
      well, you can watch the episode on you tube. Yes, at least now people will talk about it, even if it is just to discuss the show. Sometimes, even acknowledgement or acceptance of the problem is a big step in itself towards finding a solution to it.

      did you say??? ;-) thanks a ton, Nancy! :-)

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  7. Loved what you wrote Uma. I love it that so many of us are discussing this topic thanks to the show. I have family living in Ahmedabad,and girls are treated very well in Gujarat. The prosperity and progress that the state has seen has been outstanding. But, look at what we in Karnataka are suffering under BJP -- corruption, scams and lack of progress. And, it just kills me to think that women do this to girl children. Is there something wrong with our DNA?

    You might want to read this post I did on a similar topic recently
    http://www.rachnaparmar.com/2012/04/women-need-to-rise-up-to-this-challenge.html

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    1. Thank you so much, Rachna!
      I really hope more people become aware and muster courage to say no to our many social evils. Why does the persona of woman change once she becomes a mother of a son and further when she becomes a MIL to a DIL...I'll never understand this :-(

      Yes, BJP in Karnataka hasn't been doing half as well as the Modi government. Leaders of Modi's stature are rare. Hope he gets the chance to lead the country from the center. BJP may have its own demons to fight yet they have done a far better job than their Congress counterparts. And, none one can beat Congress in corruption, scams and lack of progress, IMHO.

      Welcome to my space, Rachna. Hope to see you around. Read your article and commented.

      Delete
  8. What a great recap Uma, loved your personal takes on it too!

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    1. Thanks a lot, Aparna! Did you watch the show? what did you think of it?
      And, looks like my parents might come after all. Even otherwise, hubby was sweet enough to offer to take a half-day off to manage R.
      So, am really excited :-))))

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  9. A very powerful post, Uma. Let's hope that there will be some change. I'm sure there will be.
    You SAID it -- How is it that for a son to get married and have children, they want females but to have them born as their daughter or grand-daughter is simply not acceptable? That's one question that needs to be asked of all the people who are so obsessed with the boy child idea.
    It's time there came about a change in our society. Something has to be done about dowry; that's one reason I guess people think it is such a burden to have girl children. And of course there's another thing that you pointed out -- looking at boys as the children who will support parents, I wonder what can be done about that. Sometimes I wonder if it really is a 'good-old tradition.'

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    1. yes, dowry is another major social issue. It is sad to see these being discussed openly without even a cloud of secrecy as though it is some matter-of-fact business deal. A whole lot of mess to be cleared before we can even embark on the journey to being a developed and successful nation. Children, male or female, should be not brought up as a insurance for old age. It only leads to unnecessary heartaches, turmoil and guilt.
      Thanks, Divya!

      Delete

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