Why I feel sorry for Aamir’s latest

Like many others, I watched the much awaited show Satyameva Jayate this weekend (albeit, a little delayed – on the internet). Aamir Khan, the perfectionist, had obviously been gearing up for a big-bang first episode release, judging by the promos and the PR work done for the show. And so, saddled with a huge set of expectations, I sat down this morning to catch up on what everyone was already going ga-ga about on Facebook and Twitter. Maybe that’s what I shouldn’t have done. The higher the expectations the more difficult it gets to realize those. And even though the show left me teary eyed once or twice, at the end of it, I was left thinking. And I’ll be honest, a little let down too. Before you start throwing tomatoes and rotten eggs at me, hear me out.

1. I’ll admit that I was a little shocked seeing the blotches of red across the map of India reach frightening levels but how many of us – bloggers, readers, writers, professionals, intellectuals and their spouses were not already aware of female foeticide being rampant in the country?

2. How many of us haven’t heard of, or read about, or seen on TV cases of female abuse? If you pick up any national newspaper, you will find horrifying accounts of such incidents buried in the inner pages, tiny sections of the newspaper that apparently don’t warrant more coverage or space.

3. I honestly commend the effort (or as Twitter has been calling it – the movement). But how many of you think baby Afreen’s father or baby Falak’s killer, after watching the show, is going to say – Oh my God, what did I do? I pledge to never kill my baby again if it turns out to be a girl.

4. How many of you think that desperate-for-a-grandson-so-he-can-carry-forward-the-line-of-descent mothers-in-law and fathers-in-laws would change their mindsets that they have been carrying around for decades, after watching a 90 minute show?

5. How many of you think Ameesha’s (the first mother that they had on the show) orthopedic-surgeon husband or vice-principal mother-in-law or professor father-in-law would repent their decisions? So, some of his patients might stop going to the surgeon, some students might leave – but is that the only fallout we need to see? Does that really address the issue at hand?

6. Per the show, after the sting operation (that identified 100+ doctors who were in the profession of performing sex-selective abortions) was aired on TV, Prime minister Manmohan Singh had announced that strict action would be taken. Apparently, so had president Pratibha Patil too. And yet, nothing happened. As the journalists put it, cases have been passed around from court to court, at times issuing arrest warrants for the noble courageous journalists too. So why do we think that Aamir Khan writing a letter to Rajasthan’s Chief Minister would make a difference? Yes, I agree that peoples’ power is a whole different force to contend with, and if that happens, I will be the first to eat my words. 
That being said, the effort and the amount of research done is commendable. I’ll continue to watch and support the effort and do my bit where I can, how much ever I can. Even if it can transform 1% of the population, I’m all for it.

We are two sisters – never once have I heard the words “If only you were a boy..” or “If only I had a son..” muttered in our household, nor have I ever gotten the feeling that I am anything less. I still fondly recollect my father running behind me trying to teach me how to ride a bike. Not once have I felt that I was not good enough. Our parents and our extended family have loved us for who we are, two individuals.

The show also exhibited statistics which proved that this issue is deeply rooted in the educated class too and not just in the villages/illiterate sections as per common perception, so was awareness ever an issue? If not, then what new does this show bring to the table? We are at this point today, because the wrong-doers, people who support the practice by action or inaction, the male chauvinists, know that they can do so and get away with it. As Dr.Bedi said in the show, what the situation needs in order to change, is a major edict re-write. Eve-teasing was recently declared as an arrest-able offense. Make sex-selective abortions a criminal offense too with significant jail time and disbarrment. Revoke licenses. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Sometimes simply spreading awareness is not enough. Unless and until judicial systems support the peoples’ fight and go hand in hand, we will not see change. At the end of the day, it all boils down to mindset. So if one’s cognition does not change by observing the world around you, then we are left with no option but to hammer the idea in – possibly by force, if that’s what it takes. Make an example of the doctors, throw them in Tihar, let them fight it out. Better yet, why single out just the doctors? Throw in their partners in crime too – the family members who paid to get the procedure done. You’re right Dr. Bedi, I agree!

PS: The viewpoint above is solely mine, but I am open to discussions and constructive criticism.  

Amended: The title of the post has been renamed from “Why Aamir’s latest fails to impress me” to “Why I feel sorry for Aamir’s latest”. My viewpoint is not so much a question of the show’s importance, as much as it is about its effectiveness (big picture). I feel sorry that unless and until there are legal repercussions, unless and until the penal system is revamped to also support ‘the movement’, the end goal will not be met.

I would love to hear your views!