We are a nation of contrasts.
On the one hand, India is an amazing country, taking many things for granted that other peoples have to strive very hard for. We are a nation of cultures, languages and history; we celebrate festivals of all religions and backgrounds; we are gutsy enough to go back to work the day after we’re bombed and terrorized. We’re not perfect, but we find a way to be a proud, resilient, affable populace.
And yet—we’re not perfect. We take things for granted that other peoples abhor, and have ideas and practices that straight-thinking individuals would repudiate every time. Among other things, we kill our girl children, have set up sexual abuse laws for children only this week, and demand huge favors and material gifts from our women and their families—even going to the extent of killing ‘unsatisfactory brides’—just for their ‘privilege’ of marrying us.
When bad practices are ingrained into a society, there’s perhaps only one way to remove them. Laws help, but not always, especially when social norms and stigma prevent crimes from even being reported. The only way is perhaps to bring the issue into large-scale public discourse, and try and change the thinking of most people in society. Those of us that are not directly affected often are distant in engaging with these issues—‘oh, it’ll never happen with us’!—and a thriving public discourse may be the only way to change that.
Satyamev Jayate (literally, truth stands invincible; this is India’s national motto) is a new TV show that does just this. It talks about the devils lurking in Indian society, and invites individuals who have themselves been scalded to tell their sordid tales. Further, there is an effort to raise money for donating to charities, and sometimes even ideas on how to get personally involved.
This is a great show, and something that everyone in India needs to watch. The first three episodes deal with the three practices I mentioned in the second paragraph—female infanticide, sexual abuse of children, and the ‘business’ of marriages. Credit to Star Plus and Aamir Khan Productions for keeping the shows free-to-watch on the internet after the show airs on TV. Kudos also to Mr. Khan, for choosing this as his entry into television, instead of hosting another game show or another dance competition.