Saturday, July 07, 2012

Satyameva Jayate (“Only Truth Prevails”)

I’m writing this article on an Indian tv show called *Satyameva Jayate" because many of the social issues raised are what I personally can relate with. They are the same issues that concern me as a woman and as a responsible citizen who wants to make this world a better and safer place to live in for the children of the future.  They are social ills in society not only in a country like India but even in many other so-called modern countries of this world. The same issues that drove me to do volunteer work for NGOs like Deltawomen, World Pulse and Youth Leader Magazine.

I will veer away from the personalities involved or the motives implied by some critics on the people behind the show. I am an observer from a very distant place connected through technology of the internet. And to me, awareness does make a difference. It can make people question their own morals and move them to action. It can make them change or want change.

The show has so far highlighted sensitive social issues prevailing in India such as female foeticides, child sexual abuse, dowry, medical malpractice, honor killings, physical disabilities, domestic violence, pesticide poisoning and alcoholism.

If there is one sure way to gain media mileage and awareness on these issues, it would be to touch the chords of the viewers’ hearts and this show has done that in the episodes I’ve watched. Wouldn’t you be when you see a mother recounting her horrid experience on female foeticide where she was forcibly made to abort the baby in her womb not three or five times but eight times by her own husband and even female in-laws for the  simple reason that the child’s sex was female? Or when a mother tells her story of how a well-dressed, educated-looking woman spat on her baby with skin disease simply because she found the baby ugly and shameful for the mother to carry her around in public?

Whether the show will move people enough to take action on a bigger scale remains to be seen.  It has undoubtedly created awareness and has moved people to take action and try to do something about these social ills.

What is significant to note is the finding in one of  the surveys that such acts are not just committed by the rural, tribal, poor, or illiterate people, but were in fact also among the educated, even wealthy and professional class in society.  How our simple minds can sometimes easily associate such horrors to the less fortunate because they don’t have enough education or wealth and therefore stereotyped as unable to understand what is acceptable, moral or just, is sad. Nothing could be farther from the truth and this show had revealed that. There are in fact professionals conniving to commit such horrid acts of female foeticide on their own relatives. But what can really be disheartening is when the authorities or experts expected to be help save lives and bring forth justice seem to avoid that responsibility as well. Is it because that they themselves believe the crime is justified?  

What’s important is that the show has helped spread awareness, the stories are not told in whispers and the victims have been emboldened to speak of their plight. Now more people in the world know, and the victims have to somehow be given the justice they deserve and be compensated for their sufferings, and hopefully not exploited for profit.

I’m looking forward to watching an even more sensitive issue tackled in the show...human trafficking. It can indeed be something more dangerous for victims to come out when such activities can be highly organized up to an international level.  

I end this article with a quoted poem on Satyameva Jayate:

Truth alone triumphs; not falsehood.
Through truth the divine path is spread out by which
the sages whose desires have been completely fulfilled,
reach where that supreme treasure of Truth resides.”

*  (“Satyameva Jayate” when translated means “Only Truth Prevails” or “Truth Alone Triumphs” a Hindu mantra from the ancient scripture Mundaka Upanishad. The slogan was popularized by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya in 1918 when serving his second of four terms as President of the Indian National Congress. (source: Wikipedia)

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