Monday, May 07, 2012

Aamir Khan's "Satyameva Jayate"

The first episode of the show was devoted to selective abortion of female foetuses. Two bloggers I respect recommend it highly. Here is Indian Home Maker:

Amir explains that the father’s Y chromosome decided the gender of the baby. He also simplifies why ignoring the issue is not really an option, because nobody is going to remain unaffected by it. He explained what baby girl killing actually means for the society, how it means more trafficking of women to be sold as ‘wives’, less respect for wives and women since they can be bought and sold and then resold. (Remember, Baby Falak’s mother had been sold to a man in Rajasthan as his ‘wife’). How 914 women for a 1000 men translates to millions of missing women and millions of men who are not able to find partners. He recommended solutions – what works he said would be action against the perpetrators. (The same thing works for all crimes, including for sexual crimes against women)

It was good to see single mothers – women who had walked out of their marriages to save and to raise their daughters, being applauded. Don’t you think this would encourage other women in similar situation to take bolder stands too?

Harini Calamur:

Today’s episodes was on the desire for a male child and the accepted, though illegal, practise of female foeticide. It is one thing knowing the data. It is quite another hearing a woman talk about her in-laws who forced her to abort 6 foetuses because they were female. It is one thing to know about a woman being hit, it is quite another to see the scarred face in extreme close up as well as pictures that showed the face when it was all stitched up. The woman’s crime – giving birth to a girl. The show also took head on the myth that female foeticide is rife in villages. It is not. It is practised just as much amongst my neighbours as yours. Statistics show that the richer localities have fewer daughters than the poorer ones. A clip during the show revealed the prevalence of an organised cartel in Rajasthan that provided end to end service in female foeticide. But it was not just about the doom and gloom – it talked about how one DC of Navashehar in Punjab reversed the trend. Solutions are important. Problems are known but is it all beyond hope? no. and that is what is refreshing about this show.

My broken Hindi doesn't allow me to appreciate the show fully; I'm hoping an English-subtitled version will appear soon [Update (9 May 2012): It's here]. This show has done a couple of smart things to expand its reach to all of India by (a) dubbing it into other Indian languages, and (b) getting it broadcast on DD.

You can watch it on YouTube as well; here's the direct link, just in case the embed doesn't work:


  1. L said...

    This has always puzzled me-- as per the little basic economics I know, higher supply lowers the value of a commodity and scarcity raises its value. Our society treats women as commodities, OK. But then at least follow rules of demand-supply then. Many years ago, when I first read about the declining gender ratio, I thought - at least women will become more respected. But this was naive. Somehow, men have made it have the opposite effect. How does this happen?

  2. Ankur Kulkarni said...

    I watched the show sitting in the US; the particular issue dealt with in this episode was of course disturbing. I came off very impressed with the execution of the show and the planning behind it. It is the mother of all "reality shows", because it deals with reality itself. Aamir's sincerity and simplicity is endearing. He is there as a host, not as a star. It is a mighty courageous attempt, because he eventually implicates the very viewers he is hoping to attract. It is also cleverly monetized - there is video conferencing with a small town on Airtel's 3G; there are petitions to be signed through SMSes and also some song at the end. Overall the editing is crisp, the research is thorough, sensationalism is minimal or absent, the content is thoughtful and scientific, the drama is natural and tears seem genuine. If it runs even for a year with these standards, it will be path breaking.

  3. Dinesh said...

    It seems that some of the regional channels are also carrying a regional language version of the same show. I know that it is being translated to Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. I watched it in Youtube.I must say it is indeed a different, meaningful programme considering the crap in Indian TV.

  4. Yayaver said...

    I have not seen the show. But it was more unfortunate to know that Amir Khan's 'Satyamev Jayate' had bot been broadcast in Karnataka. The state has imposed the ban due to its policy to disallow all dubbed serials or movies in the state !

  5. Anonymous said...

    I have no doubt that this one episode is going to bring or initiate future changes, I think India is just waiting for some heroes and leaders - Anna did his bit, now Amir Khan is doing, each in their own way.

  6. Anonymous said...

    I havent watched this show yet (not available on youtube in America), but I really liked the theme song.

    I would like to present a thought about the sex ratio debate though. I think the main desire in Indian families is not so much to not have daughters, but to have atleast one son. If we split the married couples on the basis on whether the first child was a son or a daughter, we might see that for couples where the first child was a daughter, the sex ratio on the second child is much more skewed than that for couples where the first child is male.

    In other words, the way this sex ratio anomaly might manifest itself in the future is this: In a normal setting one would expect that if all couples have only two kids, 50 % have one boy, one girl. 25 % have two boys and 25 % two girls. However, in India we are probably going to see a higher proportion of families with one boy, one girl at the expense of two girl families.

    I feel one possible policy measure the government can try is to provide financial incentives to two girl child couples. Of course, it is important to enforce the laws regarding sex selective abortion as well.

  7. Ankur Kulkarni said...

    This is a nice analysis.

  8. gaddeswarup said...

    I could not locate the Tamil version yet, the Telugu version is here