Monthly Archive: June 2012

Jun 25 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE 8 – Is your food really safe & healthy?

India is a country that loves to celebrate food. And in the Satyamev Jayate promos when Aamir Khan hinted at food, he was actually hinting at the poison that we consume in our daily lives

A lot of speculation surrounded the eighth episode of Satyamev Jayate. In the promos, when Aamir Khan had uttered the word ‘food’, many thought this episode might be related to the problem of obesity. Yes, there’s no denying that it’s an issue today. But the eighth episode wasn’t about obesity. Aamir in today’s episode brought forward the dangerous side of food that we so lovingly prepare for our loved ones.

Aamir very rightly began by asking the ladies present that what food, they thought, was safe and healthy for their family. A majority of the women replied by saying that it’s the fresh, green leafy vegetables that they personally monitored and cooked. Alas! The problem turned out to be much deeper than just selecting fresh fruits and vegetables; and a tricky one too – pesticides!

And just so that viewers could gauge the gravity of the situation, Aamir brought forward cases that actually made people squirm in their seats, like he always does when the show begins. This time it was Dr Mohan who discussed the case of Kasargod, a village in Kerala that witnessed heavy overuse of pesticides because the area was used by the government to grow spices and cashew nuts. For 25 years, the region was air-sprayed by 22 lakh litres of endosalphan, a harmful pesticide that took its toll on the health of the villagers and the neighbouring fauna. Then Dr Srigopal Kabra brought forward the case of Jaipur where babies were being born with partially developed brains due to the absence of folic acid, destroyed by pesticides, in mothers.

Getting deeper into the case Aamir introduced us to farmers who were well aware of the harmful effects of these chemicals, yet they used it for the commercial produce ‘coz of their limitations. What’s more, Nilesh Desai, a farmer from Valsad even confessed that he grew separate mangoes for his family members, ones devoid of this harmful chemical. Truly, the situation was satirical.

Another interesting fact that came forward was the so called ‘cancer train’ that plied from Bhatinda to Bikaner carrying cancer patients for treatment. All this makes one wonder about the issue that has reached such large proportions, and yet failed to garner the attention required. The multinationals who manufacture the pesticides are to be blamed, perhaps.

Like in every episode of Satyamev Jayate, in this one too Aamir brought forward ‘the other’ point of view, one that was voiced by Dr Shroff, a scientist. “The effect of pesticides is exaggerated,” said Dr Shroff who also stated that DDT is completely harmless. Aamir pointed at what could be a possible and practical solution – steering a state towards an organic status, like Sikkim. The Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Kumar Chamling said that by 2015, Sikkim would become an organic state.

And in the end, Aamir asked viewers all over the country to send in their views on whether they think that all states should follow the example of Sikkim or no.

Satyamev Jayate’s eighth episode followed the format of the show to the T. The points brought forward displayed the irony of the whole situation and how tied we are when it comes to the most basic necessity required for healthy living. Yes, it touched our hearts. But the emotional quotient this time was lower as compared to Satyamev Jayate‘s other episodes. Probably because this time it wasn’t a serious social issue. Even so, will this episode bring forward a change in the unabashed use of pesticide in the country? Or will it trigger another series of unending discussions? We’ll know soon. And guess we can all anticipate what will be the flavour of discussion in this coming week. And kudos for that, Aamir!

Latika Payak –

Watch the complete episode at:

Jun 19 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE 7 – Domestic Violence

The 7th episode of SATYAMEV JAYATE started with sharing of the domestic violence data of two different surveys. Government survey shows 40 percent of marriages have witnessed domestic violence whereas surprisingly the data increased significantly to 84 percent in the other survey conducted by a private organisation.

Aamir spoke to 2 victims of domestic violence, both from different family backgrounds on the show to discuss gravity of the matter. The first victim continued with the marriage for 15 years and endured violence just with the hope that her husband’s behavior will improve someday.  Although, jittered by what has happened with her, she reasoned that life is precious and everyone should enjoy it.

The other lady participant on the show narrated her experience and revealed how her husband threw her off the stairs when she was three months pregnant.

During the first few domestic violence encounters, the husband, however, regretted for what had happened but it continued unabated. The violence began to affect her children as well. It is then when she decided to come out of the hell and broke the relationship.

She also narrated the sordid tale of being labeled by the society when the wife decides to part ways from her husband.

During the talk, it also came to the fore that sometimes the victim expects her son to intervene in the fight and take on his father for beating his mother. But this was not endorsed by the lady on the show as she explained that by doing this violence will automatically become his inherent attitude and he will also do the same as and when situation will get out of hand.

Kamla Bhasin from the South Asian Network of Gender Activists and Trainers (SANGAT) shared that it is not only males who are to be blamed. It has become a mindset. Patriarchal mindset has been with all of us irrespective of the gender.  It is also evident that literal meaning of “Pati” is owner and it is just like we call lakhpati or crorepati. She also talked about the male dominance in the family and says that in order to rectify it, equality should be promoted. She also said that “Love happens only when there is equality. “ The activist was visibly upset with the way this problem is prevalent. She urges parents to empower the girl child. In place of dowry, property should be given to the girls. The government should give shelter home and 24 hours helpline should be opened to protect the rights of the women.

To counter with social menace like domestic violence, there are quite a number of laws to protect the rights of women. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was explained on the show. It was reminded that women cannot be thrown out of the home where she is living irrespective of the owner of house. However, it was also brought to the notice that most of the policemen handling complaints are males and it is very difficult to erase the genetic memory.

Initiatives to protect the rights were also shown to boost morale of the victims. Divorcess are getting proper care, opportunities to earn their livelihood at the foundation was shown in the serial.

However, the vox populi on the show endorsed that the definition of “mardangi” (Masculinity) should be changed. Mahatma Gandhi was remembered for his daring acts from the virtue of non-violence.

Watch the complete episode at:

Jun 11 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE 6 – We can fly!!

This week’s episode seemed more like a compilation of inspirational stories. Dealing with the issue of government’s continued indifference towards the disabled, episode 6 saw people with various disabilities on the sets of the show and documentary-style video footage screened to shed light on the plight of the differently-abled throughout India.

It is not exactly a big surprise that there is an utter lack (bordering on complete absence) of implementation of disabled-friendly policies in our country rendering day-to-day lives of any such person difficult.

The guests on the show, while talking to the host Aamir Khan, expressed their resentment towards the Indian government and talked about problems, like lack of equal education for the differently-abled children, respect and equal rights.

Aamir spoke about the importance of education for a disabled person as a boy named Sai related his experiences around the same. Many on the show blamed the country’s infrastructure, while visually impaired Krishnakanth Mane blamed it on the people and said that citizens too need to be socially conscious. Mane also spoke about the importance of technology in his life and how he considered it an extension of himself. This makes you wonder about those who have no access to technology or the ones in remote parts of the country who are unaware of their rights.

The fact that moving beyond the disability of limb and the senses, the show also dealt with those whose physical disability affect their appearance, should be appreciated. The stigma they face was brought to light through the example of Nisha Lobo (which is Aamir Khan’s chosen moment this week to ‘tear up’).

There is a popular superstition that disability in your present life is considered a result of your sins in past life. The very logic behind this, ‘you must have done something really evil to have deserved this’ was questioned. Also, the very definition of being “disabled” was opened up for interpretation. Many didn’t consider themselves “disabled” at all.

The episode took up various aspects of the issue, but its main focus remained ‘access to education’. A school, Amar Jyoti in New Delhi, was shown as a ‘model educational institution’ where abled and differently-abled study together with access to all teaching aids required for such an endeavour.

The final question: Should schools and colleges that do not become fully inclusive within the next five years be de-recognised?

Watch the complete video below:

Jun 07 2012

DOCTORS upset over Satyamev Jayate – Behaving like Cats on hot tin roof!!

What can be crasser than a handful of self-proclaimed IDEALIST doctors picking up on Aamir Khan for his show Satyamev Jayate, which probed into wrongs of doctors in the profession? The disturbed set of doctors claims that the remarks of Aamir Khan have not gone down well with the fraternity.

Since then the circus has begun on the grounds of a few most atrocious news channels of our country. Self righteous people including the news host and the guest doctors are debating the issue at top of their voices. I am annoyed and upset (as usual) on the stance of all of these argumentative people for the silly areas that they are focusing on instead of looking at the bigger picture, which actually is the need of the hour.

I could not stop myself from dissecting the issues raised by Medical fraternity about the show. Let’s look at what is paining these doctors at all the wrong places:

First concern:

The show ‘exaggerated’ the extent of unethical practices in the profession.

My view:

I do not solicit that the facts/figures shared in the show should be taken as accurate since there cannot be a reference for  validation. However, are we saying that these practices do not exist at all? We all have been victims of these CUT Practices at some point in our lives. Surprisingly, the top officials at Indian Medical Association have asked Aamir to share the names of such doctors who are involved in CUT practices and IMA would immediately take actions against them. I feel that in that case they should step down from their positions and we should have some RAMU KAKA or some BAHADUR THAPA or some PAANDU HAVALDAR to run the association, since they would also act effectively if all information has to come from outside!! What is IMA doing if it does not have any clue about such malpractices?

Moreover, none of the doctors came forward to explain the logic behind the BASIN TEST as shared in the show. Should we assume that since no one is clarifying it so what Aamir explained is the truth? Doctors (the entire community) should be ashamed of it if that is the case!! We all have been witness to the helpless position Dr. Talwar (Head- Medical Council of India) was in when Aamir was probing about the condition of medical services in country today.

Second Concern:

The show only shared the BAD side of the profession.

My view:

I reject that concern totally since the show had all the versions of the profession ranging from a family doctor giving right suggestion to the patient after another one misguided them to the good work being done by Rajasthan government in providing cheap and good quality medicines to the needy patients.

It’s a shame that doctors being highly educated and learned fail to understand that no issue will have only one aspect to it, rather it will be based on a standard expectation and if there is any deviation from that then only it can be discussed as a malpractice. We expect our doctors to conduct their business in a particular manner and if they fail to do so, then only the concern would be raised. Why would anyone raise a finger on someone or some profession if things are working as expected?

Moreover, the medical services are of utmost importance to people! This show has brought a lot of things to the forefront which would have not been known by common man otherwise. I have seen change in the way doctors operate now when recently I visited one of the renowned doctors for treatment. Though he is our family doctor and we have a lot of faith in him, still he explained the entire prescription including the brand of the medicines that he has prescribed and the reason for prescribing the particular medicine, something he never did earlier. It might not be apt to attribute this change to Aamir’s show, but what is encouraging to learn is that things are getting better and transparent.

As I look at it, the show is to bring forth the issues in the society and make people aware of them. If doctors are looking for praises for the good work then IMA should hold some ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS for them (must be happening somewhere I believe)!

Third Concern:

Why doctors are targeted when the entire society is CORRUPT?

My view:

I feel that no individual doctor was named in the show and neither are the doctors targeted here! The show was about a system that has evolved over the years and is hitting us in the face now. But yes, if you are corrupt and evil, as described in the show – then you must feel targeted.

So are we saying that all those who are creating so much of hue and cry over the show are all corrupt? Well, we are not saying anything but they themselves are saying it. Aren’t they?

Fourth Concern:

Aamir Khan should look into his own life before preaching right and wrong to others.

My view:

There might be many flaws in Aamir as an individual. He might have done some terrible things in his personal life. But my question to all ill-wit and immature individuals who are so deeply engrossed in denigrating him is that how has Aamir’s personal life affected their LIVES? The people asking such question seem to be highly irrational to me. To me it is the last resort of the fool to make a personal assault on an individual in order to reclaim his own fake dignity. I do not find such people worthy of any consideration or attention in the first place. I would always keep Aamir’s personal life away while appraising his brave and remarkable attempt to contribute towards making our society a better place to dwell.

A few unfortunate people are also comparing Aamir Khan with Gandhiji, claiming that Aamir is trying to be a Gandhi of modern times! I guess these people are expecting Gandhiji to come back from the deads and help them. God, please bless these poor souls with some wit and sense.

To me, Aamir is just one amongst us but with more resources and a platform to make an impact on the society. I am glad that he chose to make the right one!

Fifth Concern:

Aamir khan himself is charging whopping 3 crores for the show but is preaching that doctors should serve the poor for free.

My view:

I have been a regular follower of Aamir’s show and I do not recall any instance where he has made any appeal to doctors to serve for free. Rather he has only requested to stop the malpractices. Curbing the CUT practices only would make medical services well within reach of everyone. It’s not about charging nothing but charging what is pertinent. A required surgery should be done but the patient should not be charged more than what is applicable. Cases of performing unnecessary operations / treatments not only causes added financial burden on patient and the family but also can lead to loss of life.

Aamir is a professional actor and he is charging what is applicable in his profession. I do not think that anyone of us should decide what an actor should charge for such performances. I do not believe that if Aamir declares that he would not charge anything for the show; it would have any impact on the response that the show has received or will receive in the future. It would take a phony character to not follow something that is authentic just because the presenter is charging X amount of money.

These were a few concerns of the Medical Fraternity and my personal views on the same.
I feel that the show had many important lessons for us to learn and we should not let that be clouded by the dramatic face given to it by the medical bodies, in fact they have crossed the lines of silliness by claiming that they will be boycotting Aamir’s movies as a display of anguish.

I recently have received a comment from one of the readers of my blog. It was on IMA and Medscape India’s demand for an unconditional apology from Aamir Khan. This reader happens to be a doctor herself and it was very encouraging to learn that the younger generation of doctors is devoted to the profession. Read the comment below:

“Being a doctor I will say Amir should not apologize.IMA need to apologize to public.I think private consulants such as physician, surgeons, gynaecologist are really sucking money from helpless patients.There is no limit for their consulting charges.For IVF these criminals are looting childess couples.They are charging in lacs,without guarantee.All these are happening because of our corrupt government policy.There is no good facilities in government hopsitals like other countries.That’s why these private practitioners are looting people.India’s government hospitals are in worst conditions, sometime we feel these are for animals not for human.I do not blame all doctors but some are there.If you are really hungry for money then accept other profession,,should not play with life of patient, Run practice with grace & dignity.”

Read the comment at: Comment

Jun 04 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE 5 – Is there any honor in Honor Killings?

Aamir Khan has kept the custom alive – the custom of shaking the latent conscience of our society and civic system..

He has openly questioned the guardians of barbarism to step forward and answer the question – Where is honour in HONOR KILLINGS?

Ishq par zor nahi, hai ye woh aatish ‘Ghalib’ 
ki lagaaye na lage aur bujhaaye na bujhe!

 With these lines, Aamir Khan began the show.

 The fifth episode touched the draconian traditions that revolve around the caste system in India, questioning whether falling in love was actually a crime. The guests included a couple who are facing the danger of death for eloping and getting married, relatives of those murdered for merely loving a person, members of a khap panchayat and the chief of ‘Love Commandoes’.

While each episode opens with Aamir questioning the audience on their opinion about the relevant issue, this Sunday’s episode started on a different note. A girl from the audience counter-questioned the superstar about his opinion on Ishq i.e. love. Aamir was quick to answer with a touch of humor.

Khap panchyats / honour killings is an issue that was never given its due space in the news. Although individual cases are brought to light, unlike female foeticide or sexual harassment, there have been no concrete steps taken against honour killings.

Fehmeeda and Lokendra who eloped from a village in Jhansi and got married revealed how they have been living in fear since over two years. A surprising fact that they highlighted was how the servants of law, the cops, play a role in supporting families who threaten to kill their own daughters/sons in the name of honour. Lokendra described how he was beaten up by the police despite having a protection order from court. The couple has been shifting houses for over two years to escape Fehmeeda’s family that refuses to accept their relationship.

The next guest, Kishwar Rahman spoke about how her son was ruthlessly murdered by his Hindu wife’s family, that was astonishingly ruled as a case of suicidal death by the cops.

The third case highlighted a gruesome end to a love story. The case of Manoj and Babli has been in news since past four years. This well-known case of khap panchayat has initiated a number of debates on the issue of same-caste marriage. Manoj and Babli, a jaat couple belonging to the same ‘gotra’ went against their families and got married.

The couple fought in the court to prove that Manoj had not kidnapped Babli (as explained by Babali’s family). Despite being legally under police protection, the couple was brutally murdered. Manoj’s sister and mother Seema and Chandrapati Banwala, decided to raise their voice and are till date fighting a legal battle, in which, two accused have been astonishingly convicted and the others have been awarded life imprisonment. On Satyamev the mother-daughter duo described the horrifying murder of the innocent couple.

Aamir also interacted with members of a khap panchayat in Haryana who refused to accept the Indian law and claimed that traditions were the rule of land in their state. Surprisingly, even after a numerous cases have highlighted the vicious acts by khap panchayat, the members present on the show claimed that no panchayat has ever ruled murder as a punishment for a couple that goes against ‘societal norms’.

Aamir questioned the power of khap panchayats in framing their own laws when the government allows people over marriageable age the freedom to choose their life partners.

The most interesting guest of the morning was Sanjay Sachdev, head of Love Commandoes, an organisation that supports couples who are facing threat to their life for having married against the ‘socially-accepted norms’. One of the very few human rights organisation that works towards protection of such couples provides them legal support and shelter. Quoting the yesteryears song “khullam khullapyar kareinge hum dono.. Iss duniya se nahi dareinge hum dono”, he described his motto: “Premi-premika mein vishwas ho, prem-virodhiyon ka naash ho”.He also highlighted how Rajasthan government managed to eliminate the cases of honour killings, while Haryana government, caught in petty vote-bank politics, failed to implement a strict rule.

Aamir also highlighted the story of a family who overcame the societal pressure and accepted their daughter after she got married to a boy from another caste.

One can certainly hope the media takes the hint and pay more attention to cases around the country that have been conveniently slipped under the rug.

Watch the video of the show here:

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