Aamir Khan wants to be the Oprah Winfrey of Indian Television. This was the first thought that crossed my mind after watching Satyamev Jayate. The most awaited TV show was aired last Sunday on STAR TV. In anticipation of the show, hosted by none other than Aamir Khan, the television was tuned to the right channel about 10 minutes before the show began. Having twitter brained attention span, sometimes such measures are necessary. A spirituality show by the Brahmakumaris was on air and the talk was very uplifting as it gave specific steps to overcome negativity in life.
Then came Satyamev Jayate or Truth Shall Prevail and so started the depressing show on female infanticide. There is no denying the social problem and the devastating effect it has on the mothers as well as the society. The problem was well researched and very well presented. The origins of the magnitude of the problem were traced to the Government Policy in the 70s.
I am a big fan of Oprah and like her talk show. Here’s my problem with Satyamev Jayate, its focus on victimization. It is always easy to slip into the role of victim and it is a dangerous destination. A victim is helpless and cannot make a choice to come out of the situation. I absolutely hated the portrayal of those brave women as victims. Yes, they were victims but they were also fighters, who fought for their unborn girl child. These mothers without a proper financial support not only gave birth to their daughters but have now taken on the financial responsibility of running their family. Not once did Aamir Khan focus on their struggle to rise above victimization... and therein lies the difference between him and Oprah.
One of the brave mothers had such an indomitable spirit, it could be seen the way she talked, the way she stood tall and her message of living life carried a whole lot of weight than the preachy dialogs of Aamir. After her husband disfigured her face by biting her face off with his teeth, this lady’s courage must be admired as she educated herself and now works as a teacher raising her daughter. The other ladies were equally courageous and had their own share of struggles as they refused to be the victimized.
It is easy to gather sympathies by focusing on the atrocities and may be make initial jumps in the ratings. But to keep the momentum going, the show has to have a message of hope. I hope the show learns from Oprah to offer self-help steps. Else, the show will lose its following for being a depressing show. One solution does not fit all, but just presenting the options is a good first step or presenting what others did who were in the same situation is sometimes a good motivation. I am not being cynical, I applaud Aamir for bringing such social challenges to light and using his celebrity status judiciously to focus on them. I want him to be successful and I want him to be the much needed agent of change.
Going back to the 10 minutes of Brahmakumaris show, the Brahmakumari did not focus on the anger and other negative emotions of life, but presented a way to deal with it. May Satyamev Jayate be a message of hope and action. Good Luck Satyamev Jayate team!