Monday, July 30, 2012

Satyamev Jayate: Just another talk show?

For the past 13 weeks, the Sunday morning slot of the idiot-box was reserved for Satyamev Jayate in most of the households in India. The first episode was premiered on the 6th of May, 2012 and it culminated today with a special episode. Ever since its inception, the show received both accolades and criticism from critics and general public.

Episode after episode, the show discussed various sensitive topics prevalent in India such as female feticide, child sex abuse, dowry, medical malpractice, honor killings, casteism, alcoholism, domestic violence, water crisis and plight of the physical disabled and the old people. Every episode tried to inform, educate and make people aware of the corresponding social issue. The show managed to garner overwhelming TRPs and response on social networking sites during the initial episodes.The reasons were many and included the small screen debut of Aamir Khan, who was also the producer of the show. He left no stone unturned for publicizing the show to the maximum extent.

The show started with the image of a change agent as if it was created to remove all the social evils. It was evident from the response post first episode but the true story was yet to be unveiled. Unfortunately, the show just presented the problem and then stepped back expecting the government to take action against the culprits. What it forgot is that laws have already been there to prevent such social ailments but they alone cannot suffice. What we actually need is awareness among the people. Yes, the show did try to generate that but don't expect an hour or two of a TV show to be enough for the people to fall in line.

It's very easy to point fingers at others; to find errors in the system. What is difficult is rectifying that error. Whenever, someone points out something wrong, the person is expected to correct it or if he is not able to do so, think of other ways to fulfill the aim which might include pushing the government to rectify the error. Satyamev Jayate didn't try either of them. Every Sunday, the show started with a new topic, bringing few ugly truths of the society in front of the society; Aamir sheds a few tears, the audience shed a few tears and the show passes into oblivion with a song. Next day, Aamir would request a politician or meet another to look into the matter. If a single request or meeting to get something correct accomplished in our system, Anna Hazare and team would not have to fast for numerous days for a cause.

Some people also said that Aamir used the show to make money by highlighting societal evils and projecting himself and the show as an agent of change. Someone tweeted that hundreds of activists have been working for years to eradicate these social issues. The only difference between them and Aamir is that he charges 3 crores to speak the same things.  However, I don't think that he can be blamed for anything. He is an entertainer meant to entertain people. He is an actor, a role model, a great human being but not an agent of change. He'd raise the issue with great concern but will not see them through to a solution. He has to and will eventually return to making films. This was just another talk show for him not his life like those unsung heroes he talked in the last episode who have been working wholeheartedly for various causes without any other concerns.

One more thing I don't consider Satyamev Jayate a total failure as you might infer from the above stated text. One great thing which it accomplished was that it introduced several heroes coming from the masses who had suffered that menace and later overcame that with their will power and determination. It was a show with an aim to generate awareness among the people. It has partly succeeded in doing that. It was never meant to change the conditions. The onus to eradicate every social evil from the society lies on our shoulders. It's the first three words of the Constitution, "We, the people" which can bring about the required change. It's our job. After 13 episodes, Aamir's job is now over. I just hope Satyamev Jayate does its bit of job and doesn't end up being just another Sunday morning talk show which people enjoy and forget.

Jai Hind. Jai Bharat. Satyamev Jayate.

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