Indian Television is one of the most intriguing puzzles of modern India. The incessant plague of serials in the name of uplifting society and its values is so blatantly regressive that it hurts. If television is the reflection of our society I am appalled. There is an abysmal gap between the twenty-first century we are raving about and its televised version.
The success rate of kitchen serials indicates an underlying fact which is quite sinister: Unlike our economy and infrastructure, our mindset has failed to progress. Why has this natural process gotten stuck somewhere along? Is it the eternal confusion between tradition and backwardness, between culture and ancient practices that has kept us shackled to outdated concepts which don’t hold good anymore?
At the risk of sounding uncouth and un patriotic (?), I would like to state that the so-called revival of Indian culture by our television is an encouragement to dangerous regression. The expensive saree clad soft spoken tolerant women who sacrifice all their rights and suffer continuously to showcase their “indian” strength of character, are projecting the wrong idea out there. While this self-righteousness works very well for a moralist society, it ignores some very obvious facts. An average educated woman who has not seen any difference between herself and her brothers or guy friends while growing up, faces absolute social crucification if she fails to match up to this ideal televised model. This genre of Indian television is providing a false security blanket to all the future mother in-laws!!
Another bi-product of this regressive movement is the false adulation for the concept of joint families. There’s no doubt that at one time, it was the only natural way to live, but now it does not hold too much practicality. The propagation of the idea that family members can only remain close and in love if they live together under a roof, burdens a married woman’s life with additional complexities. In a combined family, a woman is supposed to play multiple roles for every single day of her life. If our televisions are to believed a woman is Indian enough only when she can work, come back to home, cook for the whole family, make everyone happy,serve everyone’s need at every moment and smile coyly at all the compliments. An Indian woman patiently waits for her husband to come back into their bedroom for having any kind of conversation and blush like a tomato at any indication of physical intimacy.
I do not agree. I feel that these kinds of productions are harmful. They are funny and they can make you laugh for a while. But in the long run they can damage the dynamism necessary for any society to develop. Culture adapts and moves ahead. If it doesn’t, it is bound to face conflict all around and end up as nothing but a cornered, labeled and mocked society caught up in itself.
Note- The no 1 serial in terms of TRPs is Diya aur Bati Hum- Story of a woman who is faced with continuous stress and sacrifices while trying to achieve what should be a basic right- a childhood dream. A difficult mother in law and the continuous emotional blackmail of the protagonist seems to be a major draw. Food for thought?