Lessons on TV: Domestic Violence Chapter by Chapter!
NEW DELHI: A normal adult, foreign educated, within one month of his marriage, is confronted by his mother for beating his bride. He asks her with all sincerity, “But if she does not listen to me and misbehaves with me do I have any option?”
Does this not jar on the ears as bizarre?
The mother looks at her son with a look of pain but walks away.
But when her daughter in law asks her the same question she pounces on her,”How dare you raise your voice against my son.Look where you came from and where you are today? How ungrateful can you be? Such things happens in all marriages and women have to tolerate this beating to keep the marriage intact.”
However the rebellious Kiran is not willing to accept this as normal and opts to divorce him much to the chagrin of her own parents who are worried about its repercussions on the marriage prospects of her other daughter
You could have mistaken this scene from a household in a small Indian household but it is actually a scene from an episode of Kankar ,a Pakistani play being aired on Zindagi Live starring Kiran a typical middle- class girl of Pakistan with more than a little punk; and Sikandar,a foreign educated handsome hunk who inherits the habit of beating up his wife and showering her with gifts later, from his father.
I had read a report by a British agency some years ago which had done case studies and a survey in Patna interviewing both men and women about wife beating.
The report which was published in London showed that a majority of women believed that if the wife does not listen to her husband and consent to sex whenever he wants, deserves to be bashed!
However my point is that not many people may have read this report published in London but what does the display of such plays on TV imply? Zindagi Live telecast by Zee has become an addiction with Indian families fed up with the tear jerker Saas Bahu serials of the Ekta Kapoor variety.
Throughout the telecast of the current play Kankar they keep on showing a banner by the NGO Maitri.in reading ‘Raise Your Voice.’
And each episode ends with a small chapter explaining a clause of what domestic abuse means. The subject and its nuances are huge and varied. But every episode of the play serves as an illustration of the principle that will be explained at the end of the episode like a practical and theory class.
In India we have our own Savdhaan India under the misleading title India Fights Back---a crime show depicting the most bizarre kind of crimes in the country telecast under the garb of warning the potential victims of the designs of the criminals and suggestions to take preventive steps .
But the effect of such crime shows has been that there have been several incidents in the recent past where criminals have admitted that they have taken inspiration from these series of crime stories shown on TV.
Versions of the program (focusing on a particular Indian state/city) are also aired as Savdhaan India Maharashtra Fights Back, Savdhaan India- Mumbai Fights Back, Savdhaan India Punjab Fights Back and Savdhaan India U.P Fights Back. The possibilities are endless and the sky is clearly the limit here.
These shows are aired by Life OK and STAR Utsav owned by STAR India and the fact that they have telecast 1600 shows in four years beginning 2012 is proof that the formula is a money spinner.
The reason this India Fights Back is backfiring is that these shows don't come wIth a statutory warning saying that these actions should not be copied in real life because they have been perpetrated by experts!
Is anyone in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting watching these plays and serials like Savdhaan India which completes 1600 episodes on April 24,2016?