Sunday, May 13, 2012

fair game

The content of the show (satyamev jayate) is fair game for debate and Farah Naqvi (member of National Advisor Council) raises some relevant points in this article. I agree with her on the need to focus on the nuances of the issue, esp the motives and socio-economic factors. But it's just not fair to expect a one hour TV show to address everything. Audience looking to meaningfully engage with the issue, will ask the question 'why'. Helping them find the answers if they are not already painfully obvious, seems to be the government's / activists' job. The show never advertised itself as the beginning and the end, as the disperser of all gyan. If people are talking about the issue, then the show has accomplished what it has set out to achieve. To burden it with our desperate expectations of finding a resolution to this issue is simply not fair.

The WHY?
Like most things one can trace the motive back to economic factors. Dowry, capacity of the girl child to contribute to the family income and social security (after retirement). The girl child is gotten rid off because keeping it doesnt add up financially (esp. for the lower income parents). The balance sheet is marked negative on birth because there is dowry to be paid in future. Investment in her education is not given priority because she is not expected to get a job and earn. Even if she does work and earn, she will be married soon enough and that puts a stop to any financial contribution.
Our social structures were built for an age when people had multiple children and statistically there was bound to be atleast one boy and he is expected to take care of them in retirement. Today, if we expect people to have just one or two children and raise them happily even if they are girls, then we also have another question to ask ourselves.. how many men and in-laws are willing to let married women financially support her own parents.
What about the parents of women who dont work? Do we have a social security program in our country that allows people to retire in dignity?

I also agree that popular rhetoric doesnt lead to nuanced legislation. Precisely the reason this is different from the Anna movement. This is not an attempt to legislate. People appreciating this show know that at the end of the day this is just a TV show, they simply hope that it will be a start of wide-spread discussion and inward search in the common populace.

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