Tag Archive: Satyamev

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 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 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 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:

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?

www.dnaindia.com

Watch the complete video below:

Jun 04 2012

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

ibnlive.in

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.

www.dnaindia.com

Watch the video of the show here:

May 27 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE 4 – Apathetic plight of our HEALTH SERVICES

Aamir Khan delivered yet another thought provoking and ultra-revealing facts filled show of Satyamev Jayate on this Sunday. This time it was all the more shocking and disturbing since it was about the most elementary and essential need of human beings – healthcare.

I have been trying to share my thoughts on this topic but all that I feel now is anger and agony! India as a country is full of people who live their lives based on trust and faith. Be it GOD, religion, politicians, teacher or doctors for that matter. We have immense faith in all these along with many such things. We trust that what they do will be for our good.

Honestly, I am not able to relate to any of that! Not so because I do not feel that it was true, but because I do not understand how someone could do that! We have discussed issues like foeticide, dowry, and child abuse in the past where to me, the culprits were people. You correct the mindset and the evil practice can be curbed.

But in current topic in discussion, the entire system is a party to it. It’s a complete process under which the lives of millions of people ate kept on stake every moment!

Let’s look at what all was covered in the show:

Aamir opened the show with addressing many students of medicine who were present in the studio. As usual, he spoke to doctors and victims to highlight the cases of malpractices in the health services.

He asked the students as to why they wanted to pursue medicine and want to build a career in the field. It felt good to hear all the responses from the youngsters who wanted to serve the society and help people live a healthy life.

Some stories were shared by the victims of the malpractices of doctors. VS Venkatesh could have healed the infected finger with an antibiotic but had to undergo 4 surgeries, and spent around 2 lakhs for no good reason. Arvind Kumar had to spend around 1.5 lacs for just tests when he could have cured with a mere pack of ORS! Such fraudulent practices left people in the audience shocked and shaken!

First case discussed was of Mrs. Seema Raj, wife of Major Pankaj Raj. Seema was suffering from a kidney ailment and was undergoing treatment. Major Pankaj revealed that without her or her family’s permission, doctors operated upon Seema to transplant kidney and pancreas. There was no need to transplant the pancreas, but doctors urged that since they have a spare pancreas so they should get it transplanted!! Already being in so much of trouble, Maj. Pankaj had to arrange almost 60 ltrs of blood for the operation! It cost the family 8.25 lakh for the surgery but still Seema passed away in less than a day’s time. Shameless doctors didn’t even inform the family about her demise and the switched off their mobile phones. Do I need to say more on that??

Another story was of Dr. Anil Pichad from Mumbai who owns a pathology lab. He revealed that he used to overcharge patients for tests since he had to pay commission to the doctors, which most of the times amounted to be more than 50% of the charges. There was another shocking revelation about BASIN TEST recommended by doctors these days! It was uncovered that BASIN TEST means to take the blood of the person – throw it in the BASIN – and give an ALL OK report; all that since the doctor knows that the person is fit and nothing is wrong with him!!  It was after Dr. Anil went through a personal tragedy that he realized his mistake. He claimed that he has stopped bribing the doctors now and takes nominal charges from patients.

The most dreadful story was of women of Kowdipally village of Andhra Pradesh, who were asked to get their uterus removed by the doctors in the area. They were told that if they don’t get the operation done, it might lead to death. As the operation is expensive; it leads to the farmers selling or mortgaging their lands to raise money. Now, you might be able to understand when I say I cannot RELATE to these things! Appalling!

Aamir also spoke to retired Maj. Gen. Jhingon (former head of Medical Council of India). Maj. Gen. Jhingon shared with Aamir that he had resigned from his position in just about an year since he did not approve of the way the body was run. He openly revealed that everything done here was related to make more bucks – “It’s all about paisa, paisa, and paisa” – he said. Let me tell you, Medical Council of India is the supreme authority which is supposed to control all the doctors, hospitals and medical colleges in the country.

If that was not enough, Aamir also spoke to the current head of MCI, Dr. Talwar. It was so sad to see a head of a top body, who is expected to ensure the governance of health services in India be so helpless and incapable. Listening to him made me feel that we are not safe in the hands of the doctors until such people are going to run these organizations.

While speaking to Dr. Talwar, Aamir read out the statistics of the percentage of doctors in England whose license were permanently cancelled in the past 3 years. But according to the RTI filed by Aamir and his team, not even a single doctor’s license has been cancelled in India!! Are we saying that Indian doctors are SO GOOD compared to the doctors in UK?

Aamir also invited Dr. Samit Sharma to the center stage and spoke to him about the malpractices in the drug market. Medicines which can be made available to patients and much-much cheaper cost were being sold at very high prices which made it impossible for poor to benefit from it. Shockingly, few medicines which are sold at 170 rupees can be sold at less than 2 rupees, as per Dr. Shetty’s analysis of the cost of production, packaging and distribution!! He also shared a particular example of some medicine which is used for Cancer treatment and is sold for almost 1.5 LACS (one month’s dosage) – same medicine was being provided for less than 10000/- by Rajasthan Government to the patients!!

There were many other evil-practices discussed in the show like doctors seeking commission for referring patients, sharing aggravated ailments with the patient and its family to attract more money for treatment, sharing false news of ailment and operate upon the patient for something which is not needed at all etc.; however I would stop here on the same note where Aamir closed the show:

DOES OUR HEATHCARE SYSTEM AND OUR DOCTORS NEED HEALING?

Let’s hope that they GET WELL SOON and realize that the human life is above business and money!! Let’s hope that one day our health services can be as good and effective as western countries!!

All the best and god bless.

Satyamev Jayate..

(P.S. – This post, in no manner claims that all the doctors in INDIA are involved in such deeds. It primarily is an attempt to share with people that such things are happening in our country and it should be stopped.)

 Question of the episode:

 

  • Should every state government follow the example of Rajasthan and open generic medicine stores throughout their state so that all citizens get medicines at the lowest possible price?

SMS on 5782711

Y for YES

N for NO

  • The cost of sending this SMS is only Re 1, which is donated after tax to the charity Humanity Trust. You can send more than one SMS to benefit this organization, and you can also, if you wish, help the organization further by sending them a cheque, and deposit it in your nearest Axis Bank branch. You can also transfer your amount to them online through their website. You can get more information about depositing the cheque at any Axis Bank branch. The amount donated by you to this organization will be matched equally by the Reliance Foundation. Reliance Foundation is the philanthropy partner of Satyamev Jayate.


Watch the video here:

May 20 2012

SATYAMEV JAYATE 3 – ‘Dowry System’

There is no end to greed!!newstrackindia.com

This was the baseline of today’s part of Satyamev Jayate. I somehow had a feeling that Aamir might take up the topic of DOWRY SYSTEM in next episode, and it came out to be right.

Again; a neat presentation of an evil practice that is prevalent in our society. The cases picked up were very appalling and revealed the ugly face of our high-class educated society. In my last few posts I had pointed towards DOWRY as a major reason for eruption of other vices in our country – Female Foeticide being a major one of them.

The first story of Komal Sethi from New Delhi was unfortunate and that not only because it revealed the ugly faces of delinquents who could go to any extent of parsimony for the greed of money, but also because the in-law family in discussion was of a well-off IT professional earning a whopping 65,000 dollars a year! That is a not a small amount of salary for someone who is not yet married! Trust me on that since I am from the same industry!

An educated professional treating his wife like an animal is unpardonable as per me. This poor lady was manhandled and tormented to get stuff from her parents. Cash for car, furniture, then travel to US, car in US – everything was sponsored by girl’s parents – not by choice but by force. I would not get into much details but one thing that makes me loose cool is that the man left the poor girl without food and water for 4 days, locking her in an apartment! All this because she denied asking her parents to give their only house to him! I hope when this man looks at the mirror he actually sees a man, because he does not deserve to be called one!

Honestly, this topic of DOWRY did not unnerve me that much – not because I am insensitive to this issue but more so because I have seen all this in my own society.

There were many cases presented today which hailed from Punjab and I somehow belong to the same state. My state has a lot of things to boast about but there are many to be ashamed of as well. DOWRY system is one of such issues. Fraudulent marriages by NRIs, marrying just for the sake of travelling abroad, demanding dowry at the time of marriage are a few common vices in my part of the country. Mr Balwant Singh Ramuwalia (Minister, working extensively on this issue) shared after narration of another story of Paramjit Kaur (who was tricked into marrying a person who went abroad after taking money from her parents and never returned back) that there are more than 30,000 such women in Punjab alone who are a victim of this malpractice! What has happened to our people? Where are we headed? Many such questions always keep hitting us hard. Alas! As always, we do not have any answers to them!!

The other stories discussed in the show were:

  • A highly learned and ambitious girl, Nishana from Madurai had to end her life to end the turmoil that she was going through in her married life because of the greed of her husband and his family. The kind of behavior that a husband should have towards his wife, Nishana never got anything close to that. Her parents tried to fulfill all the demands of the boy’s family, but during all that life became unbearable for Nishana and one day she decided to end her misery.
    Just one question here: What was her mistake for which she had to give away the most wonderful gift – LIFE?
  • Extravagant marriages have become a trend in our society these days. Middle and High class families are spending exorbitant money in lavish marriage ceremonies, but it has an adverse impact on the poor who have to live up to the expectation of the society, which has risen in the past owing to the trends set by the rich. This has led to outburst of another problem in countryside – FARMER SUICIDES. Like many, I also believed that farmers in the villages of India (Vidharba etc.) commit suicide because they take loans for agriculture but are not able to repay because of low output. It shook me internally when I learnt that many of them take loans (much beyond their repayment capacity) just for getting their daughters married. This is really sad because amount of rains cannot be controlled by us, but such vices can be controlled by us for sure. May be we can save some lives that way.
  • thehindu.comAnother strange story was from Bihar where a college going man was abducted by the parents of a girl and was married (forcibly). They even call this practice as MARRIAGE-BY-FORCE! Funny & unbelievable, but is true. All this is done in order to avoid paying the dowry. But, is this a solution? Are we saying that all marriage should be MARRIAGES-BY-FORCE and then only we can get rid of this evil practice? Absolutely not!
  • As it is said – “Where there is despair, let there be hope.” Such were the examples of two villages of Maharashtra – Behranpur and Bhiwandi. Both these villages have a unique practice, which has been introduced by the entire community that there should only be very simple and silent marriages. They have set 3 rules for themselves:
    • No one from community will attend the marriage if a family is holding a lavish ceremony.
    • People will join the girl’s family during Nikaah (main marriage) but will not feast there.
    • The marriage should take place in a Mosque and should happen at 4pm. This was introduced with an idea that no one can play bands or burn firecrackers in a mosque and since it will be 4pm, it wouldn’t be a time for Lunch or Dinner either.
  • Then an infamous sting operation done on another greedy family by a strong girl Rani Tripathy from Mumbai (was in news a few years ago) was shared. It was indeed good to learn that there are people who not only feel that this is not right but have also fought against it to teach lesson to the crooks.
  • Most amusing part of the show was the revelations by a few north-eastern people who proudly shared that DOWRY as a system is not at all present in that part of the country. In fact, it’s the boy’s family which takes care of everything that a girl does during the marriage including her clothes and other nitty-gritties. I must say it is really commendable!
  • Last but not the least, the peppy solo “Rupaiyyah” in the end of the show was really very well written and equally well sung. It fit the show completely and am sure must have induced strength in people watching the show.

That was about today’s episode – in my view.

Now, as I had shared in the beginning of the post that this issue is not alien to me – what does that mean? It means that I have seen many thing around me which had always made me think that why do these things exist in the first place. I will try to put down those in words for all to read. I will share that soon in next post.

I will also share my views about how this evil can be curbed with a collective effort from all sections of society who are a party to this.

All those how could not watch the show on TV can watch it below:

May 10 2012

Transformation of Sunday – SATYAMEV JAYATE 3 (Final part)

I now come to the last and final part of my post on Satyamev Jayate! I might look obsessed with the topic, which might be true in some sense, but I somehow hold myself (and people like me) too accountable for this menace which has become so prevalent in our society.
I (we) might have come across someone who was involved in this cruel act, but I (we) might have not noticed or might have overlooked entirely! Maybe I (we) need to relook at my claim of being highly informed and an active citizen. Maybe I (we) need to relook at my perspective of looking at social issues in the country.

Recently, I was talking to one of my colleagues at work who had an opinion that this problem is not so scaled up that it cannot be curbed. He was of a belief that when it will actually become excruciating, someone, somewhere will stand against it and wipe it out forever! WOW!! What a feeling that was!!

His words charged me up to my core. But then, I am a realist too!! I immediately intervened with my probing query that is it really possible for one person to bring about change in society on an issue of that severity?

Before anyone in the room could answer, the next segment of Aamir’s show struck my wits and I myself uttered, “Yes! Why not? It is possible.”

I was referring to the success story of Nawashahar (Jalahmajra) in Punjab, a town which once was severely hit by the issue in discussion. The sex ratio, which has depleted to below 800 sometime back in the area has now been restored to 1000!

Wow! What a success story! That’s commendable indeed. But how did this happen? Who brought about the change?

It was again an initiative by one person, Krishan Kumar (DC) who after taking the charge of the district did everything possible to bring about this change. Read on more about the story at: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_village-turns-sex-ratio-around_1037903.

Today, the same district has become the most women-empowered district in the state, with women occupying almost most of the high profiles offices. (http://www.financialexpress.com/news/nawanshahr-now-most-womenempowered-district-in-punjab/941575/).

If the idea could be implemented in one town/district and had such an impact, I am very positive that it can be replicated in all parts of the country.

I do not want to discuss on another issue discussed in the show – about trafficking of women from various parts of the country in the name of marriage. This topic is too unkempt to be even spoken about. It once again brings forth the ugly face of the law & order system in our country.

About the show and its format, I have one word to explain it – Cerebral.

Image courtesy: ibnlive.in

I pity those people who are expecting entertainment out of the show and are disappointed in it for the lack of entertainment quotient! I would pray that they always have their families safe & secure and must never have to go through the ordeal that the victims of foeticide have to face.

Honestly, I fail to understand that why a few people (self-acclaimed critics) always have to criticize, no matter how valid or rational an issue is? I could see people debating in newsrooms over the show’s intent.

If we are divided over the very basic fact of the existence of the evil then how can we ever fight it? People are commenting on anything and everything from Aamir’s inclusion, TRP agenda, business model, advertisement revenue and what not!

Has our conscience got so messed up that we cannot differentiate between what is right and what is not?

I wonder that when a sequel of ‘Harry Potter’ is released, fans (including people of all genre, sex and age) flock the internet with comments and views about it, but I have never heard of any hue & cry created over that!

So, are we saying that we have become so self-engrossed that anything to do with society at large doesn’t move us? Or is it that a small section of the high class society (who has access to news rooms) looks at it as an opportunity to leverage the sensitivity of the situation and have a go in front of the camera to be visible. But what do they intend to do with this visibility? I don’t get that, do you?

To me, the show was so neatly presented with no lavish set-up, no gaudy light system, no zooming cameras, no slow motion cuts and most of all Aamir himself as one of the audiences. The reactions of the audience on the revelations made by the people (speakers) were so genuine that even a kid could make that out. There was a light moment as well when Aamir spoke to a group of ‘bachelors’ (forced to be that way because of depleting numbers of girls) from Kurukshetra, who tickled everyone with their innocent yet witty comments. Though people were giggling, but the souls were shaken because of the underlying cause – no women for these men to get married to.

And needless to mention, the final score presented by Ram Sampath and Swanand Kirkire was so touching that I made me loose my self and cry!! I did have tears in my eyes.

I believe it’s time now that we stand up to fight against these evils, collectively (as a system against a system) and wipe them out of our society. The show got people talking, which is good as revolutions always begin with awareness and in issues such as these, we need nothing short of a revolution, says Rajul Kulshreshta (MD of Kinetic Group).

I want to add another view here that though we are moved by the way Aamir has presented a grave issue in front of all of us, supported it with data collected with a lot of analysis and research; still we have to dive deeper and try to understand as to WHY is this happening so rampantly.

As per a little understanding that I have of the society, I can list a few factors which might be fueling this practice:

  1.  Dowry system: This practice is still prevalent in our society, and not only villages and poor families but urban areas are also no exception to this. Girl child is seen as a responsibility, which has to be fulfilled till she gets married and that too with a heavy price.

    ‘Betiyan to parayi amaanat hoti hain’
    still is a widely accepted mindset in our society.If we want to wipe-off the evil of foeticide from the face of our society, we first need to free our social system of the voracity that has seeped into both, poor as well as well-to-do sections of society. Even educated families are demanding exuberant amount in form of dowry from the families of brides, as if they are selling their sons in the market of marriage. In-laws killing the girls for demand of dowry have been an dark truth of our society since ever and this also triggers poor and helpless families to commit the dreadful crime of killing the girl child in the womb itself, only because they cannot pay dowry at the time of marriage.
  2. Male-dominated family system: Our society has always been male dominated and it has become an established outlook. In the same light, people wish to have a male child in order to take their generation forward and that’s why they call them ‘Ghar ka Chirag’. The desire to have the so-called ‘Chirag’ (light emitting lamp) has led to killings of many souls before they can even see the light!!Two girls (in Rajasthan itself) have recently set an example by performing the last rites and cremating their father’s body, a ritual which is predominantly professed to be carried out by sons ONLY. This indeed can be seen as a step towards transformation of the orthodox mindsets of our society.
  3. Poor implementation of otherwise strong law: Though the law has been drafted well to ensure that such crimes do not go unnoticed and the responsible people are brought to justice; still the system accountable for the effective implementation of the law has never played its role effectively. When the guilty is set free by the law, the fear of committing the crime starts eroding and culprits start taking liberty of the loops in the system.If we want to fix this issue, we need to strengthen the system to ensure the implementation of the law at the lowest level of the society.Korea is an excellent example to learn from – Punish the guilty severely and curb the crime. I wish that we can also take such strong measures to ensure that such crimes are swept clean from our society.

Not preaching much about what is wrong and what is right, I still would say that this brave attempt by one man (Aamir Khan) will at least (if not much) send a message loud that if so many people are against something, then it is not supposed to be done. If the punishments are rendered to the guilty, it would warn the prospective culprits to not to commit such crimes for of the fear of being punished.

Another thing that Aamir said during the show and I truly believe in is that WE (the people of society) are the magic wands and if we resolve against the evil of Female Foeticide, nothing can stop it from getting eliminated.

To end, as says the Genesis 1:3 from the BIBLE:

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light!

Let there be 'LIGHT'

Let there be light and let the nation rise and shine!! God bless and good luck.


Satyamev Jayate!!!

May 09 2012

Transformation of Sunday – SATYAMEV JAYATE 2

Image courtesy: topnews.in

I am continuing from where I had left the last post..

The show’s content was so gripping that I could not move my eyes away from the TV set even during the 2 minutes long commercial break. Thought I was looking at the screen but my mind was processing the information that I had gained from the earlier part of the show. It was disturbing yet engrossing and I had already thought that I am going to write about this after the show.

It wouldn’t be wrong if I call it a show of revelations since everyone who spoke, revealed some or the other shocking and horrendous fact. Next to join in was Dr. Puneet Negi, a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology by profession. He pointed out at the fact that the problem of foeticide erupted in the decade of 70s when it was a presumption that population is the cause of all the problems in our country.

What was more shocking was that this entire concept of killing the foetus if it is a girl child was a brainchild of the government of India!! How is that possible?

It was triggered by a research paper published by All India Institute which said that most of the people in the country crave for a male child and girls are just being born without any purpose at all. The paper claimed that if the girls are not let to come to life and only boys are born, the problem of population can be sorted out.

I feel so sorry to be a part of a country that was ever led by people who had such a mindset towards their own people!!

Anyways, that was not all that Dr. Negi had to jolt us with. He further shared that in the light of the research work, an extensive program was started by the government of India, under which pregnant ladies and their families were literally provided counseling to make them to drop their crave for many children. The program was allegedly based on the concept that families which do not have a male child go for more children just to have one. However, they were providing free services in major hospitals of the country for ABORTING GIRL BABIES in the womb of mothers.

Can you, even for a second, try and relate to this idea from any perspective? You heard yourself!!

Image courtesy: UNICEF

Even back then, activists objected to the program and feeling the pressure, government of India officially retracted the program. However, the damage was already done! People became aware that there were tests which can determine the sex of the foetus and this became an occupation for the doctors and lab assistants who started their private clinics to cater to the demand by the families.

Though the conventional means of determination were complex and had fatal risks  involved, however with the induction of Ultrasound technique in the 90’s the process became quick and easy to conduct. That opened the doors for many waiting in the line to try their hands in this fast growing industry of sex determination and abortion; doctors, technicians, druggists, small time nursing homes and manufacturers & dealers of the ultrasound machines. What a vast impact this social evil had on business world?

Salesmen had the pitch prepared for their customers (doctors) of ultrasound machines which stated that the machine will recover its cost in only about a month after it is put into use!! I think I need not explain any further that it has become a 3000 CRORE industry in the due course of time!! Yes, that is a hell lot of money indeed! I agree. But what about ethics? Values? Moralities? Do they have any place in our society or is it just money that drives us? Were these characteristics ever important for our society? If the response is affirmative, then how come something like this bloom in the first place!

If we are feeling so agitated and disturbed today, did the aware mass of those times feel the same? If it did, then what did it do to curb this evil practice? How did they let this become a wide spread money minting business? If Korea could change the face of its society in just about a year’s time by punishing all the doctor’s involved in the practice of foeticide, why couldn’t our country do the same (Korea also had the same issue before 90’s). Honestly, I do not have any answer to these questions! May be you can help me here.

The supreme authority in medical fraternity in our country; the Medical Council of India has failed in punishing even a single doctor in last several years for this grave act. None of the doctors have ever got their license to practice cancelled for their alleged involvement in such matters. Was I surprised? Not exactly. The revelations in the show had made me aware of the prostrate system that we have had to let something like this stem within our social fiber.

Then came forth a sorry story of two brave, responsible and dynamic journalists; Shripal Shaktawat and Meena Sharma, who did a sting operation to uncover the ugly face of female foeticide prevalent in the state of Rajasthan. They covered more than 40 cities & towns and exposed more than 144 doctors who were involved in this evil practice. They revealed so much about the atrocious acts of some soulless doctors that I can bet that no sane person can stand the complete narration in one go.
Having said that, I also accept that this is as a bitter reality of our society but I strongly refuse to accept that this is an inseparable part! This is clearly a disease, an evil; it has to go and it must go.

Image Courtesy: UNICEF

It can be called mere irony of the paralytic system of our country that these two journalists, who had put their heart & soul into exposing the devils hidden under the covers of medical degrees in our society, are summoned by a number of session courts in various cities of Rajasthan for the hearing of the cases (against the alleged defaulter doctors).

This is happening for last 7 years since the cases have been registered against the doctors who were seen in the sting operation video. State government has booked the cases in different courts in different cities (for a very obvious reason cited that since the doctors are from different jurisdiction areas). I pity such a spineless system!

Things are so tragic that at times arrest warrants are issued against Shripal and Meena if they are unable to attend the hearings!!  However the under trial doctors are still practicing; not only that but few of them have been promoted over the last few years. Our caretakers (supposed to-be) are behaving as if nothing has happened!!

‘Nahin khatam ho toh Yamuna mein phenk dena’ – (If it doesn’t die, throw it in Yamuna)

This was not said for some polythene bag, some garbage or a used pepsi can! A doctor used these lines referring to a LIFE, a child, a foetus who was yet to come out of the womb of her mother and see the light!! Are these people really living amongst us? Aren’t such people only seen in movies or read about in comics? Are they for real?

I am leaving you with these questions for now and will describe in my next post as to why this attempt of Aamir is unique  and how it can make a difference.

God bless!

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