The first episode of the show Satyamev Jayate on sex-selective abortion has struck an emotional chord with the average Indian viewer. Instead of debating what the show failed to do, let us focus on whether the show did justice to the topic it addressed
By Linda Chhakchhuak
While watching the first show of much hyped and debated Satyamev Jayate, I felt like congratulating all my female friends out there in the red marked states, especially the North Indian states, for scraping through such a network of ‘unwantedness’ that reaches right into the mother’s womb to finish them off. And I salute their parents for protecting and nurturing them.
Hailing from North East India where such insane levels of son worship does not exist or is yet to be reached, I found the statistics horrifying. Crores of females are hunted, killed right in their mother’s womb. Better not to use the polite terms like sex selective abortion or female feoticide, as it does not describe the full horror of the act, the malevolence, depravity and hatred of communities and families. Not that I am against abortion per see. But this is awful. It’s femicide on a mass scale.
Then it was another shock to be told that sex-selective abortion is more prevalent among educated class which led one to think that it is not lack of awareness or poverty which fuels this antipathy to the baby girl. It is about the gender constructs and practices that prevail in a community. No girl child or mother is ever truly safe with such a well of ”unwantedness’ at the core of the culture. Technology just gave it a means of acting upon it.
The show has also tried to bring out the effect of this madness on the lives of men, who at a marriageable age can find no women to marry as dozens of villages are left with men only, because their would be brides were long ago snuffed to death even before their birth.
There were stories of hope, of the woman who was forced to take the test 8 times and abort and who found the courage to keep the ninth pregnancy secret till her girl child was born. She needs to be given a national award for bravery. Imagine challenging her husband and his family by keeping such a secret.
Over all, I was quite impressed by the way the show was presented. Sex selective abortion is something I have always known existed. Probably because the show was framed to be a tearjerker. After all Aamir Khan is an expert at that sort of thing. And if such great talent is used directly for a social cause, all the better. Every bit helps to push the vehicle out of the sticky mud.
Linda Chhakchhuak is an independent journalist from North East India.