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What went wrong with Satyamev Jayate's third episode?


Aditi Ghosh, IBNLive.com
May 22, 2012 at 07:52pm IST

New Delhi: Ever since Satyamev Jayate premiered on national television on May 6, it has received tremendous appreciation from politicians, celebrities and society alike. But as the show is progressing, the interest in the social issues covered is slowly taking a downward spiral. The host Aamir Khan’s dialogue too seem scripted.

Take, for instance, the first episode which covered the despicable reality of female foeticide in India, throwing light on how female foeticide prevails not just in rural areas, but in urban cities as well. While Aamir Khan pondered over this gender bias, the nation remained glued to their televisions in agreement, anger and silent knowledge of the depths at which this phenomenon has seeped into Indian culture.

It made people question themselves about the world they live in and whether education is the only key to deal with this issue. Aamir Khan’s occasional breakdowns were a heart-rending prelude to the next episodes in store for the nation.

Satyamev Jayate Episode 3: What went wrong?

Satyamev Jayate has received much praise since was first aired. Three episodes down, what went wrong with the show?

The second episode’s emphasis on child sex abuse showcased some tear-jerking moments among the audience and the host. Cinderella Prakash’s horrific nightmare of assault which haunted her for several years, and Harish Iyer’s journey of repeated molestation for almost a decade, finally resulting in the power to say ‘NO’, once again alerted society on the harsh realities which children have faced and continue to face, serving as a reality-check for several others who were completely unaware of how prevalent this issue is.

The anguish of their parents who now wish they could turn back time and erase the painful memories was a warning signal to parents in the country, who now understand how important communication, education and awareness is for their children. Well received once again.

Episode 3 however failed to instill the same sense of anger and rage in the minds of the viewers, despite several hearts bleeding for the victims of dowry torture and suicide. Take Paramjeet Kaur’s marriage which ended in betrayal, of a husband who amassed lakhs of rupees from her family to settle in Australia and abandoned her, who was left with no choice but to return to her family upon being tortured by her in-laws in Jalandhar. Delhi girl Komal Sethi’s parents spent almost sixty lakhs on her wedding, only resulting in having to adjust to an abusive husband who forced her into starvation and despair, and Madurai-based lecturer Nishana’s suicide, who crumbled under the pressure for dowry demands in the hands of her husband and in-laws.

Then the somewhat ridiculous case, received quite ludicrously by the audience, of Santosh Kumar’s ‘pakadwa byaah’, where he was forced to get married in the quest of escaping the payment of dowry. Worth a mention is the Madhya Pradesh-based ‘Tanzeem Khuddam E Millat’ which abandons weddings in the community which do not adhere to the regulation of keeping weddings a low-cost affair to avoid burdening the girl’s family. And finally, Rani Tripathi’s brave sting operation which exposed the greedy demands of her fiancé and his family, which resulted in several proposals and a happily ever after with someone else.

But what was so disappointing about the episode this time? Was it the attitude of the parents of these victims, and many others in the country, who have mentally conditioned themselves to save every rupee for the assumed gift-giving under the veil of dowry, or the sheer desire to spend beyond their means to make their daughter’s wedding a festive occasion? In retrospect, these parents, no matter how well-educated, were the same people who urged their daughters to adjust to their news homes while their daughters continues to face atrocities and struggle each day. This brings to sight that even education has not been enough to prevent these atrocities.

Many questions arise here. Why does child sex abuse and female foeticide appall parents and the society so much when there are many other burning issues which deserve equal attention, like dowry demands? Why does the unceasing existence of dowry not evoke the same emotion? Did this subject truly bring forth the reality of this social issue? Aamir Khan breaking into tears as the women shared their grief, now seems to be following a definitive script, where his reactions are almost predictable. As the show is progressing, the interest it is evoking among the audience is slowly dipping.

Social issues witnessed not just in mere fragments of society, but society in general, is what everyone needs to be alerted about. A show which began with the promise of spreading awareness is slowly becoming just another show which came with a bang, with an impact which is slowly dying out.

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