Category Archive: Social Issues

Dec 09 2013

Delhi Assembly Elections 2013 – Why AAP should not support anyone to form government?

I have been glued to the screen yesterday for the whole day; following every update, every comment which was aired related to the results of Delhi Assembly elections.

I could not resist myself from sharing my view on the political scenario in Delhi after strong emergence of AAP in recently concluded Assembly elections and ended up writing this up.

There are a few things which I personally have felt during the day yesterday and of course after the results were declared:

  • AAP is no underdog and they have it in them to efficiently organise elections and come out as winners.
  • The number of seats won by AAP and the amount of voteshare it had in its favour has surpassed every single Exit Poll that was done in the country but their own.
  • Mr. Yogendra Yadav gave very blunt response to the above point when was asked that they have been over-ambitious in claiming 40 out of 70 seats in their Exit Poll (before the elections. He accepted that they are proven wrong in their assumptions (without mocking any other party for proving their assumptions wrong as well) and clearly pointed out the fact that since their party is new and all the volunteers come from basic sections of society with no know-how of the last day tactic before the election, they could not make the most of it. That, as per him cost them a few votes which led them to lose a few seats that were expected to be won.
  • When the BIG names of other parties were busy spreading their WISDOM on the brigade of news channels, either sitting in the cozy newsrooms or their offices – AAP leaders were doing what they have always done – were amidst the public sharing their joy and hopes.
  • There is certain news doing rounds in political corridors and normal households today that AAP will not support any party and will sit in opposition – which would result in a HUNG assembly for Delhi. LG might have to impose presidential rule in Delhi and the state might go into another election in next 4 months. To me – that is another TESTAMENT of the philosophy of AAP that they will not support the corrupt whom they have been fighting against for last 2 years. They do have a golden opportunity to join hands with either of the big parties and form the government. They can be given high positions and portfolios as well – but if you read the manifesto of AAP, it is not in favour of these perks anyway!!
  • So, what does this bring us to? What is going to be the future of Delhi and AAP? Well, I will take the liberty of sharing my view (I am no political pandit or a social scientist – but am an AAM AADMI for sure) so please bear with it till the time you read it through and then share your comments for sure please.
    1. First and the most important thing that these elections have done is clearing all the apprehensions that AAP is a bubble and will burst. On the contrary, it actually punctured the inflated EGOs of the biggest parties in the country by squashing their dreams of making it big in the capital of the country. I still remember a few of their members writing AAP completely down by saying – “the Delhi election is a contest between traditional rival parties of the country – INC & BJP. AAP is nowhere in the competition!” I do feel sorry for those gentlemen today! (I do see AAP going beyond Delhi and becoming a national party in coming years with a strong support that it is drawing from all parts of the country.)
    2. I am also riding high on the assumption that none of the 28 elected members of AAP will fall for the dirty tactics (which I am sure will be played by BJP) to take them along by all means – buying them, trick them or even scare them. If it happens contrary to
    3. About AAP’s decision of not supporting anyone and sit in opposition, in turn leaving Delhi with nothing but a HUNG assembly –  in my view, it is a very good move; politically. It might lead to re-elections  in the state in next 4-5 months and then AAP can target to bag more seats than this time with correcting the errors its made this time. It will also bring back those voters who did not vote for AAP just in apprehension that there vote might go waste as AAP is not sure of winning good number of seats.

Let’s look at some numbers to understand better that what actually have happened this time in Delhi elections in terms of votes in various constituencies. I have done some number crunching on my own and allow me to present that in form of some basic charts and tables.

Analysis of Total seats:

WON“, “LOST but Second in tally” & “Remaining where AAP finished 3rd or lower“:

A)     Analysis of WON Seats:

Below chart shows the no of seats won by AAP from the second party in the tally. It clearly shows that most of the seats that AAP have managed to win was closely followed by a BJP candidate.

Below chart and table shows the margin with which AAP has managed to win the seats with name of the constituency and the party.

This is a mixed bag where 7 seats were won in very tough competition (below 200 votes gap) and at the same time almost 35% of total seats won by AAP are with a margin of above 1000 votes, which includes the biggest victory of New Delhi in terms of vote difference – 25864 votes, which was more than total that Mrs. Sheila Dixit could manage (18,405).

Let’s look at the names of the constituencies for above analysis:

The above analysis indicates that it was a tough fight in a good amount of constituencies for AAP and that becomes area of focus for AAP if they go into election again.

Now, let’s look at the seats where AAP did lose, but they were the second in the tally:

B)     Analysis of LOST Seats with Second position in the tally:

In the below chart as well one thing is common and that is BJP next to AAP. AAP has lost most of its seats to a BJP candidate (not very amusing though as per the decimation that Congress has gone through).

The details of the vote gap and the constituencies is again a mixed one here with almost half of the lost seats are below a gap of 5,000, but it’s also true that in elections a handful of votes can change the game.

Let’s have a look at the actual numbers of votes by which AAP has lost these seats and which are those constituencies:

 

The above list of below 2,000 votes contains the seat of RK Puram where Shazia Ilmi Malik of AAP lost to Anil Sharma of Congress by mere 326 votes! Very close – isn’t it!!

This brings me to the last leg of the data crunching – seats lost totally by AAP where it was either on 3rd or lower level in the tally, though it’s just a couple of cases where it is below 3rd position.

C)     Analysis of LOST Seats with Third or lower position in the tally:

 AAP candidates lost on 22 seats without  a Silver and again 60% of those seats were bagged by BJP. However, this chart is more colourful than earlier two 😉

One thing to analyse in these numbers is that almost all of the seats that AAP has lost with 3rd or lower position are losses with huge margins. So, I am not very sure if AAP can work some magic in these constituencies and steal a couple of seats from BJP or Congress in case there are elections again in the capital.

The detailed figures of the tall standing towers in above chart would show the areas where AAP’s magic did not work – and the answers need to found by team Kejriwal because it is a huge number that has not given a verdict against his party, therefore rejecting his model of clean & corruption free politics.

I do not know Delhi that well to comment on demographic differences of the above localities but I am sure that the people of Delhi can sure relate to these numbers and see for themselves as to where all did AAP do well and where it slipped! It is also for those people who voted for someone else at the last moment in the polling booth because they were in two minds, who believed in AAP principles but were not sure if it will be able to deliver as per the hype and win as many seats to form government – see for yourselves now!

AAP not supporting any party to form government is the best political move and in case Delhi goes into election again – AAP must try to come out as a clean winner and form government of its own.

Though, it has already given enough reasons to Common Man like me to be hopeful of a cleaner, better and progressive governance in this country and now I can also dream of a better and prosperous India.

P.S: The above figures have been taken from the official site of Election Commission of India and some basic calculations have been done by me to present it here. I do not claim for 100% accuracy of the numbers, though I have taken utmost care to ensure that the figures are correct. Please review for yourself T http://eciresults.nic.in in case you need more information.

Looking forward to comments from many of the seasoned or amateur Political Scientists on how they see the situation in Delhi!

Have a great time and thanks for reading!

Dec 26 2012

DELHI GANG RAPE CASE – Whom are WE protesting against?

I have been following this grievous and appalling story of the 23 year old girl brutally molested and inhumanly treated only to be left to die. It gives me shivers when I think about what she might have gone through and might be going through right at this moment when I am writing this down. I pray for her well being and wish that she succeeds in her fight and lives!

However, I also have started to wonder about the way we deal with issues in our country. From the first AAM AADMI ANDOLAN by ANNA HAZARE in Delhi, we have come a long way in expressing our anger and dissent.

Is what is happening in Delhi now the right thing or is that we are being RIGHTEOUS?

When I see thousands of people gathered at India Gate or Raisina Hills, shouting slogans and pelting stones, asking for Death sentence for the culprits – one thing that comes to my mind is ‘WOW’ – what a performance!!

Pardon me if I hurt anyone’s sentiments here but to me its another performance of self-proclaimed crusaders of our society who go on hurling abuses and destroying public property “when something grave has happened”.

If someone is already boiling in rage at my comment – one polite question for them: How many times ever have you dealt some EVE-TEASER strongly? Never right!! Yes, I know. It never happened in front of you – isn’t it? Oh I understand! These things never happen in front of any of you – roadside romeos whistling at girls, making obscene gestures, trying to touch and grope girls in buses and trains – no, not in front of you, right! Give me a break, will you? These would be responses of a hypocrite who could very conveniently turn all guns on everyone else but himself in taking responsibility for sheltering the culprits of molestation.

2 young boys stabbed to death in Mumbai – for saving 2 girls from getting molested! Remember that case. Yes, you do now!

What do you think how many people would be standing around, as spectators of the horrendous murders? Many, right? Now, how many of the same SPECTATORS you think would be marching with a candle in their hand and a slogan on their lips on some street along with a herd of protesters! Again many, right? Do I need to explain any further??

I also wonder why people are asking the culprits of the recent rape case in Delhi to be handed over to public for punishment!! Every time its PUBLIC only which decides to play the SPECTATOR when some girl is getting molested in some bus or while walking on road!!

Oh Yes, I see – just whistling or making some comment or making some nasty gesture is not MOLESTATION – but only to you!! Not to the same goon who is doing all that. It gives him courage to go a step further and attempt something much grave. And when that happens, the same SOCIETY takes it to roads with banners and candle march! SORRY!

Wake up people! No government, no police force, no law can help the people of a country who do not help themselves. The criminals also come from the same SOCIETY where you and I come from! We have to do something to –

A) Not let such people become what they are – sounds impossible, I know.

B) Identify such faces and deal with them before they destroy some life and soul.

The question is are we brave enough to STAND for the RIGHT? Are we convinced that we as a society can make most of the difference to what GOOD or BAD happens around us?

I remember seeing a poster put by protesters which said ” Shame! Delhi Police allows RAPE”. Can anyone in sane mind tell me what that message actually mean? Do all duties lie with a handful of people just because they don KHAKHIs and are designated as POLICEMEN? Do we feel ASHAMED of ourselves as SOCIETY when key witnesses to a crime turn hostile due to god-known reasons? Or do we feel ASHAMED when no one turns up to even file complaint against culprits in thousand of cases of rape, domestic violence and molestation? No, we don’t. And this banner, to me is another part of a wonderful performance!!

Another appeal of the protesters – Death sentence for a RAPIST? Fair enough – but who can ensure that no case will come up in future where a revengeful girl accuses an innocent man of rape just to take revenge for some stupid reason? Sounds imprudent? All the crimes are imprudent. Remember, as per law – One is innocent until proven Guilty; but in our country, ONE is GUILTY until proven otherwise.

We need to see beyond just becoming a rowdy society which knows of creating equal chaos than what it protests against. The victim is alive and fighting for life, culprits are behind bars and alive, but an INNOCENT policeman, who was just doing his duty has been KILLED! Who takes the ownership for that? Do we also appeal for a FAST TRACK court for his case? Do we demand for DEATH SENTENCE for his MURDERERS? Or was he COLLATERAL DAMAGE?

I leave you with a thought about the role of SOCIETY in – not creating a hue and cry after a crime has been committed, but in becoming a deterrent in letting such things happen in the first place. Think about it, talk to yourself and share your thoughts!! I am not against the protest; in-fact I am glad that e have learnt to raise our voice, but WE need to carefully examine our own case as well before we hold everyone else responsible.

God bless!

Aug 16 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE – Journey towards CHANGE – A special episode

As the familiar tune of Satyamev Jayate from Aamir Khan’s chat show reverberated from the TV screens today, it took us back to the many Sundays we had spent watching the show and admiring the actor-turned-crusader. This time though, the show was being aired on a Wednesday, for a very special reason: today is August 15 – the Indian Independence Day. It was a clever strategy by the TV channel to schedule the telecast of the final episode, titled Satyamev Jayate Ka Safar, for a time when most TV channels were airing I-Day specials and the National channel, the Prime Minister’s speech. So what was the response to Satyamev Jayate? Was it really a lasting success, or has the euphoria died down? Let’s take a look.

August 15’s episode traced Aamir Khan’s journey from the germination of the idea of the show in 2009 to its research in various parts of the country, to the telecast and thereafter the audience response. And what a journey it’s been! Uday Shankar, CEO, Star Plus, shared why they chose Aamir for the show, saying, “Aamir’s films were reflecting whatever was not going right in the society. So, we thought we should approach him.”

He went on to explain how airing the show on DD1 was Aamir’s idea. Leeladhar Mandloi, Director General, All India Radio said he was more than willing to partner with the show and spoke on how Aamir’s radio stint for Satyamev Jayate have been highly successful.

Aamir wrote a column every week about Satyamev Jayate in a leading newspaper, and also made sure a special website (www.satyamevjayate.in) was created. He completely understood the importance of audience reach, and a media and digital strategist from the US suggested more ideas to Aamir and convinced him to go digital to increase his reach. Persistent Systems of Nagpur was hired for the analytics to measure the response of the show across media.

Today’s episode reiterated what had been said in the 13 weeks of the show’s telecast. And also reminded us of how Satyamev Jayate was top trending on Twitter, with 12 crore impressions on the day of the premiere on (May 6, 2012), and how the website server had crashed.

Aamir briefly ran through the social issue discussed in each episode, subtly letting us know of the change he has managed to make, and the overwhelming response to his work. He introduced Satyajit Bhatkal, lawyer, director of Satyamev Jayate who said it was dream come true for him to work on the show and bring his 25 years of experience to use.

Swati Chakravorty , co-director observed that people on the show, the victims, “talked generously and frankly”. Lancy Fernandes, Research Head could not believe the status Satyamev Jayatereached. He thinks that since people in power also raised the issues addressed by Aamir, it means that Satyamev Jayate has the potential to change India.

The episode moved to showing us the response over the weeks – the rallies, debates and individual instances of people changing their minds or reforming after watching Satyamev Jayate. Doctors indulging in illegal female foeticide were arrested and clinics closed down. Aamir said the wave against female foeticide should not stop. In fact, he thinks that we should aim for a 1:1 ratio of boys to girls in the 2021 census. He said Snehalaya, an adoption centre managed to collect Rs 29 lakh, and has acquired an ambulance, an intensive care unit and a mobile incubator.

A multi-storeyed structure called the Satyamev Jayate Bhavan has also been built with donations gathered through the show.

Aamir moved on to child sexual abuse. He said they aimed for people should come out, and they did – through TV, radio and various forums. A Pakistani woman wrote from the ICU about the abuse she had suffered as a child. Aamir declared that the Child Sexual Abuse Bill had been passed in the Parliament and that the Chattisgarh government had organised a special programme to make school children aware of possible abuse. Childline, the helpline collected Rs 77 lakh.

Medical malpractice was another significant issue examined on the show. Statistics showed most doctors praised Aamir for raising the matter. His crusade helped the cause of generic medicines now available in various states. Kolkata’s Humanity Hospital, which gives free treatment to poor patients, raised Rs 51 lakh. Meanwhile, the Amar Jyoti School that has been the harbinger of inclusive education, received Rs 32 lakh, and the Family of Disabled got Rs 38 lakh through donations.

Reminding us of a poll for domestic violence, Aamir revealed that 84 percent respondents said that hitting your wife is not macho. He prayed for the mental health of the remaining 16 percent.

Touching upon every issue again, Aamir talked the episode on pesticides and organic farming, moving to alcoholism, manual scavenging, senior citizens, rainwater harvesting and sharing the action taken.

Meanwhile, a Twitter status read: @Google__Mania: “politicians say aamir’s taking 3.5 crores for 1 episode but he’s getting it for something which they should have been doing #satyamevjayate”.

After watching this episode, and the rest of the show, Aamir Khan and Satyamev Jayate will surely remain in your hearts for a long time – if it did not earlier, that is.

Bollywoodlife.com

You can watch the complete episode below:

Jul 30 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE 13 – End of SEASON 1 on a high note

The first season of Aamir Khan’s debut TV show ‘Satyamev Jayate’ culminated with a beautiful and a thoughtful message asking us to embark upon a journey where one could translate the impossible into the possible. Since its inception, ‘Satyamev Jayate’ has inspired an ocean of humanity across the globe and has also ushered in sea change by persistent efforts and sheer commitment.

The last leg of the show’s first season saw Aamir Khan playing a proud host to a number of unsung heroes, who the world had not known, whose noble initiatives changed a number of lives and is continuing to do so.

The point of contention was the constitutional right of every individual in the country. The very first leaf of the Constitution of India speaks of Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. And in his show ‘Satyamev Jayate’, Aamir reminded the audience of the fundamental rights of an Indian citizen.

The first guests on the show were the trustees of Sarvodaya Trust in Gujarat, who braved opposition and provided a roof to homeless Muslim children, who had fallen prey to communal riots in the state a few years back. The Trust is now a unique shelter that provides unconditional support to children of the minority community and treats them as equals.

Communal violence is omnipresent and the state of Jammu and Kashmir stands witness to the savagery that mindless violence can unleash.

Asha Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit had contemplated to leave her village in fear of losing her life like many other Hindus in the state. And when she went to inform her Muslim neighborhood about her plans to leave the village for good, their love forced her to change her own decision. She was eventually elected a Sarpanch by the Muslim dominated village and now leads a peaceful life in the village where both Hindus and Muslims co-exist happily.

After highlighting communal unity, Aamir shifted the focus towards casteism and how Sanjeev, a commoner leading a comfortable life in the national capital decided to change the plight of the untouchables in his village in Bihar. And with determination and selflessness, Sanjeev led the way and helped the people of backward class fight for their rights.

The concluding episode of the show was a learning experience where one and all could seek inspiration from others. One such inspiring lady who was a guest on the show was Sunitha Krishnan, who runs an organization called Prajwala. Sunitha was gang-raped by eight men when she was just 8 years old and hence her organization works towards women and girl children who have been physically abused or were forced into flesh trade. Sunitha braved the mafia and refused a number of prostitutes to give them a better life and make them self-sufficient by employing them in her organization.

It was then time for Naseema to narrate her journey. A handicapped woman herself, Naseema is an inspiration for many other physically disabled people. She trains them to be self-reliant and financially independent. Her trust helps them to lead a normal life.

Like Naseema, Subhasini Mistry too gathered great strength from her belief that she could do something for the helpless in the society. After having lost her husband to illness, Subhasini, a vegetable vendor had to put her younger son into an orphanage due to financial constraints. And the dutiful son of the hardworking mother now runs a hospital called “Humanity” in West Bengal and gives free treatment to the poor and needy. “Humanity” was Subhasini’s dream, which is now a reality.

After Mistry, it was the turn of Babar Ali, a 19 year old boy and perhaps the world’s youngest School principal to share his experience. He provides free education to the underprivileged children in his locality. And Wipro founder Azim Premji, who works towards educating a number of rural children too shared his experiences with Aamir

‘Satyamev Jayate’ unfolded a number of stories that were beyond imagination. One such story was that of Mohammed Sharif alias Sharif Chacha from Uttar Predesh. Sharif had lost his son and could never find his body. And hence could not perform his last rites. Now he gives unclaimed bodies their respectful last rites irrespective of their religion. One can see him in a Muslim graveyard and even at a Hindu cremation ground paying his last respect to the departed souls.

And after Chacha, Aamir shifted the focus to whistleblower Satyendra Dubey, an honest engineer who was shot dead for uncovering corruption in the system. Dubey’s death had made headlines and had created a huge uproar in the country. And at the end of the show, the inspirational story of Dashrath Maaji who personified passion, determination and courage was narrated. Maaji had single-handedly carved a path through a mountain alienating his village from the nearest town with his hand-held tools. He was made fun of and ridiculed by the villagers for even thinking of trying to break the mountain. But Dashrath was passionate about what he was doing. It took 22 years to complete the task and now thousands are reaping the fruits of his efforts.

The curtains are drawn temporarily but the effect of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ is bound to create ripples in the country and hopefully bring in more change in the way we perceive India now.

By: Gayatri Sankar – zeenews.india.com

Watch the complete episode below:

Jul 22 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE 12 – Water Scarcity in India: A bitter truth

Aamir started the penultimate episode of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ on a serious note. After giving basic information about the acute shortage of water in certain areas of India, he directly came to the point and asked a simple question to the audience; however the reply was a little surprising.

When a girl was asked from where we get water for our daily usage, she innocently replied, “From the tap.” The audience broke into a thunderous laugh which vanished within seconds because the research team of ‘SMJ’ started to showcase the plight of the people in different parts of India.

A string of visuals shot on the locations from Maharashtra, Delhi and some more states featured the acute water shortage. The environment of the studio became more depressing when Aamir revealed that a 14 year old boy called Sunil was killed during one of the struggles for water.

Environmentalist and water conservation activist Anupam Mishra stated some hard facts about the problems related to water shortage. He described the Indian mindset in very apt words, he said that we worship our rivers but we are not ready to keep it clean.

The position of the national capital of India, Delhi appeared very grim when it was disclosed that out of the total 1400 km length of Yamuna, 600 kms are already vanished. It has mainly happened due to the mindless industrialisation happening around this river.

Ganga’s situation is no different. Activist Manoj Mishra very rightly said that the Ganga’s situation near Kanpur is almost the same as Yamuna’s position in Delhi. Both the rivers are fast changing into a large gutter.

Ravi Agrawal’s case studies were more frightening. He said that the level of oxygen in Ganga and Yamuna near major cities is actually lesser than required, in fact at some places it has reached to the zero level.

Chennai was also suffering from the same problem till some years ago but precaution measures taken by an IAS officer Shanta Sheela Nair have reduced the problem to some extent. She, with the help of the state government, made it mandatory to install the rain water harvesting system.

However, despite all the preaching, the problem is getting worse and if we don’t wake up now then it would be too late.

 By: ibnlive.com

Watch the complete episode of the show below:

Jul 15 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE 11 – Old Age – a reality of life; lets embrace it!!

Satyamev Jayate’s episode on 14th July, talks about Indian culture. Aamir asks his audience what makes Indian culture stand different from the others. In reply, the audience mentioned that kids can sleep along with parents, we get to see 3 generations live under the same roof and the respect that the young give the elders. Aamir tells his audience that, India is the only country where people fall on the feet of their elders with due respect. Even today a 100 million Indians start he day by touching the feet of their elders. And in turn the elder give Aashirwad (blessing) by saying ‘jug jug jiyo’ and also when sometimes we think of someone and they call us, we tell them ‘sau saal jiyoe’ (you’ll like a 100 years).

Aamir asks if, do all elders get the respect they deserve? He introduces the audience to an old lady Krishna Dawer, who lived in a happy big joined family with her husband and had everything to thank god about. Her kids were her life and she brought them up with a lot of love. After her husband passed away, she lived all alone in the ground floor of the bungalow and lived with the wonderful memories. One day, life took a turn for her. She never expected something like that would happen to her. Her son who lived on the first floor of the house started putting pressure on her. 42% of the house’s share was in her name and 29 % in the younger brother’s name. He wanted her to sign the property’s full share in his name but she refused. When she was off to Dehradun, he threw all her belonging on the road and locked the house from inside. For many hours, the helpless lady was sitting outside, not knowing what to do. After the support from the police and passers by, after 9 hours, at around 3:30 am she was able to get back inside her house. Another couple Gahininath Bhosale and his wife Kusum went through the same thing. They slogged for every penny at young age to give their children the best. A father, Ashok Panchal, who held his son’s hand when small, was shattered when the same son threw his clothes out of the house and told him he cant live in the house any more. Mangala Khadilkar today lives in an old age home because her son abandoned her.

The pain that these old people and god knows how many other parents face at old age is just unbearable for them, that they reach a point where they have no more tears to shed. It is such an awful sight to see parents being treated like that. The parents sometimes get forced and have no choice left but to go and stay in an old age home. One such is ‘Maitri India’, which is an institution that works on making life better for the helpless abandoned old age people.

Aamir wraps up the show, by saying, we must never think that our elders are our weakness. They are our strength. They have knowledge, belief, love, thoughts, power and respect. They are our past and future too. As a part of our society, we must give them a chance to shine at old age too. We must be by them and encourage them at every walk of their life. Old age doesn’t mean your life is over but it means you have come to another new chapter in your life.

The hands that held us and fed us when we where just born should be held with care and when we see the lines on their hand we must see our future in it. Only with their blessings our life will be bright and prosperous.

By: Meera Kukreja, Galatta.com

Watch the complete video of the show below:

Jul 08 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE 10 – Untouchability – Where we stand?

Tainted by their birth into a caste system that deems them impure and less than human, dalits or untouchables live a life that strips them of their dignity. Aamir Khan bravely discusses the social monster of casteism that runs deep in our psyche

What if you are born with a label or an identity that deems you as impure, unacceptable and even guilty not just for a lifetime but it continues to discriminate you even after you death? Aamir Khan asks a pointed question based on the way people are being coldly categorised on the basis of their cast and creed in our country. Are all men truly born equal? Not really. Just take a look at headlines in our mainstream newspapers and you will know India’s untouchables are relegated to the lowest jobs, and live in constant fear of being publicly humiliated. In the tenth episode of Satyamev Jayate Aamir casts light on untouchability.

The show begins with a heart-wrenching story of Dr Kaushal Panwar who was born into a lower-caste family. Right from her schooling years to the present day where she is working as a university professor in Delhi, Panwar faced discrimination at every step in her life. With her story Aamir brings forth a shocking tale to introduce the monster of untouchabilty that exists even 2012 India.The discrimination is so deep-rooted that even elected MPs are not spared. MP P L Punia who is also the Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes was barred from entering the Kali temple in Odisha because he is from a scheduled caste and his community has been traditionally not allowed to enter the temple.

Documentary filmmaker Stalin reveals how untouchability is well-entrenched and is still being widely practised across the country by people of all religions – right from children being discriminated at schools to people being ostracised at social functions. He shows us how dalit kids are forced to clean school toilets just because they belong to a particular creed. Stalin captures the biting reality in his camera and portrays it in his documentary film titled India Untouched. Aamir shows a few rushes of Stalin’s documentary to show the prevalent practice of discrimination, subjugation and casteism.

Justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari believes that the labels of cast and community are so deeply ingrained in people’s mind that they continue to remain even after a person’s death, and the only way to stop caste-based discrimination is to refuse the existence of a caste system.

Aamir also discusses the provisions by law to stop manual scavenging. Statistically speaking, Aamir states that there are still around 13 lakh families across the country who continue to be employed in the most demeaning and humiliating profession ever known to man. Mostly people from lower caste (Dalits) are employed, or even forced to do manual scavenging, or cleaning other’s excreta.

Just like in previous episodes of Satyamev Jayate, in this episode too, Aamir gets different points of view and different voices in. And in the end, Aamir asked viewers all over the country to send in their opinion on the subject.He also urges young Indians to come forward and participate in wiping out the social evil of casteism.

Prathmesh Jadhav – bollywoodlife.com

Watch the complete episode at:

Jul 02 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE 9 – Alcohol abuse

Image courtesy: medindia.net

Image courtesy: medindia.net

www.dnaindia.com
This episode of Satyamev Jayatestands out for the wonderful choice of guests who shocked, informed and educated. Compared to heavier themes like female foeticide and other social ills, the much-spoken-of topic of alcoholism might seem trivial to some.

A chillingly candid interview with Vijay Simha puts a human face on the misery brought about by alcohol addiction while the enlightening interview with Dr Ashish Deshpande dismissed the myth that it’s the habits of the sufferer that landed him in the mire.

Its hard not to flinch at Simha’s booze-soaked decline after having touched the pinnacle of success in journalism — from working as the executive editor of a reputed daily to languishing for weeks in a public toilet where neither cleaners nor flies would venture. After alienating friends and family, and compromising his dignity along the way, it is a heartening experience to watch the man rise above it all, telling his tale.

Though the unseemly, sometimes bizarre, actions of men under the influence sometimes invited laughter from the audience, the genetic nitty-gritty of addiction that differentiate those struck by the disease from those who aren’t was very succinctly explained by Dr Deshpande, earned their rapt attention.

As did the story of another man identified only as Laxman, who spent a whopping Rs40 lakh in hospital bills to seek some relief after decades of liquor pangs. His lesson that while hospitals could only purge his body, but not mind, of alcohol makes a powerful case for the importance of Alcoholics Anonymous — which proved to be his saviour — in smoking out the disease.

Perhaps to those who don’t display the text-book symptoms, overlooking the ruination to the life of a casual acquaintance or distant family member, one’s drinking is a personal, harmless thing.Not so, according to psychiatrist Dr Vivek Benegal, whose shocking statistics revealed that half of India’s liquor-drinking population do harm to themselves by exceeding their limit (Four pegs, by international standards).

Lastly, with the introduction of Sumir Anand, who lost his son Curran to a drunk driver, the episode effectively showed how irresponsible drinking matched with overall irresponsible behaviour creates a problem which assumes society-threatening proportions. Going so far as to question the manner with which the perpetrator of the offence was let off called viewers to question the strictness with which the law was dealing with the menace.

Aamir Khan, keeping things cool, refrained from being high-handed and this episode, far from self-indulgent, only has the potential to induce reflection and open many drenched minds to intervention.

Watch the complete episode at:

Also see:

Press release by The General Service Office (GSO) of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) India

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 – bollywoodlife.com

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.

www.dnaindia.com

Watch the complete episode at:

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