IS ‘CULTURE AND TRADITIONAL BELIEFS’ OR ‘SELF RESPECT’ IMPORTANT???

(HINDI SERIAL REVIEW)

The concept ‘CULTURE’ means a way of living that is believed to carry out certain beliefs, traditions, customs that play an important role in the life of the people belonging to different castes, race or religion. Media plays an important role in bringing out awareness and shaping the concepts related to culture.

The serial ‘NA AANA ISS DES MERI LADOH’ (which can be translated as ‘DON’T COME TO THIS WORLD DEAR DAUGHTER) started a year ago with its basic objective of bringing about an awareness of the worthiness of each and every girl child, the injustice done to her and the importance of the need to raise a voice against such an act of inhumanity. It conveys the fact that even today, in many aspects; a girl child is given very less importance as compared to sons in the Indian families.

WHO SHOULD BE BLAMED TO CONSIDER A GIRL CHILD AS A CURSE TO HER OWN FAMILY?

At the start of this serial, there was a scene which had a setup of a village. The villagers considered the decisions of ‘AMMAJI’( a female panchayat head) as final and adorable. At the beginning there’s a scene in which no sooner does a simple woman give birth to a girl child, than the village women take the child away and as per the orders of AMMAJI, burry the child which led to her death due to suffocation. Through this scene, there’s a portrayal of women considering their own gender as a curse but the portrayal of the character of AMMAJI is shown as a ‘strong woman’ who wants people (including men) to follow her orders, but  at the same time, she herself considers girls as useless and herself as a capable and has the right of existence.

Even the ‘Mother’ of this girl child is portrayed as a weak woman, who is incapable of raising her voice against the injustice done to the life of her ‘GIRL CHILD’. There may be possibilities that this woman is portrayed as a weak person just to bring about a sense of mercy among the viewers, instead the character of that ‘Mother’ should have been portrayed as someone who does care for her girl child and also raises her voice against such an ‘inhuman act’. This would have brought an awareness right at the beginning of the show that ‘WOMEN’ have the right to speak up for the rights of her child’s existence.  This brings out the fact that women consider their own gender as inferior, which has been successfully portrayed by the characters, ‘the village women and the simple mother’. When such an issue is taken into consideration, the first opinion that can be suggested is that villagers should be provided with education and awareness about their rights. There can be several questions raised with regard to such a concept i.e. Can education completely change the outlook of society towards a girl child? Are the educated women fully Independent and secure in the society?

CAN EDUCATION (BEING AWARE OF ONE’S RIGHTS) BE CONSIDERED AS A PRIORITY COMPARED TO THE BELEFS AND TRADITIONS OF INDIAN SOCIETY?

There’s a scene in which the character of Siya is portrayed as the girl who is well educated and is very well aware of rights and takes a step forward towards educating the village women of their equal rights. Through this scene, the show has been successful in bringing out a sort of an awareness that women who are educated should consider to spread awareness among other women also, which will supposedly help them to question the traditions and beliefs of the society. In contradiction to such a concept, there’s a scene that follows up after Siya’s struggle of trying to bring awareness among the village people. Later this show takes a twist by showing scenes in which Siya gets married to Ammaji’s son and later finds herself weak to fight against the injustice done to her as well as to the women of her family, just because of the lack her Husband’s moral support. This brings up to a certain extent that even today, many educated women still believe that PATI PARVESHWAR HAI AUR OOSKE BINA EK AURAT ADOORI HAI(Husband is the Ultimate God and without his moral support a woman is incomplete). The conveyance of such a fact through the portrayal of the character of ‘SIYA’ in two completely different scenes, raises up questions like ‘If an educated woman is portrayed as weak and dependant on man for a sense of security and strength, then there’s a total shift in the conveyance of the theme of this serial……How can it bring awareness among women that education can help women become responsible? In spite of awareness of one’s rights, the portrayal of women’s acceptance that she is worth of such a cruelty in no ways conveys the theme of the serial.

DOES ONLY THE ATTIRE CONVEY THE STRENGTH OF WOMEN?

Later, there’s a scene in which Ammaji’s own daughter appears apparently to raise her voice against the injustice done to her by her own mother. This character is portrayed as a strong woman with an attire of a black ‘DHAKU OUTFIT’. Such attire brings a sense of criticism in this serial of some sort of conveyance that the attire plays a very important role in order to fight or even raise a voice against an issue. i.e it has conveyed the women wearing a saree is weaker than the one who is physically strong and has a boyish character. In fact, the very notion about ‘boyish character’ comes from the society’s view of boys as strong, superior etc. This brings out the fact that even in todays world, a woman is described by adjective of calm, weak, dependent etc and men are assigned with adjectives of physically strong, arrogant, capable of handling situations etc

IF A GIRL CHILD IS NOT CONSIDERED AS A PRESTIGE TO MANY FAMILIES, THEN WHY DOES THE SOCIETY BELIEVE THAT THE PROTECTION OF THE PRESTIGE OF ANY FAMILY IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WOMEN IN FAMILY?

There’s a scene where there’s a portrayal of Ammaji ‘s acceptance of ‘Siya’s’ daughter just due  the promise given by her to her son that she would allow his daughter to live in this society. It also shows scenes where the whole family moves to Delhi, just to save the name of Ammaji. It was basically an overexaggeration of the concepts of ‘prestige’ and ‘promise’. Through this scene Ammaji is shown as the one who is worried of her family’s prestige which raises up a question that if villagers follow whatever she says and has full authority, then why was she portrayed in such a way that shifting to a city would be much better option to save the prestige of her family? Who gave the idea to a Village Head that girls are much more accepted in cities compared to villages? If she was aware, then why is the portrayal of such a character (AMMAJI) as ‘ignorant’ in the earlier scenes? Even after being aware of the fact that cities treat boys and girls as equal (with many exceptions), then why does such a character tries to stick up to her beliefs?

There’s even a scene in which Ammaji’s granddaughter ’Diya’, falls in love with a person who is portrayed as the one who that women are equal and with the help of her twin sister, Diya plans out a wedding in which there are scenes where  her twin sister goes through all the traditions of Indian marriage , but at the end its pre-planned that Diya will be the bride (not at all her twin sister), Through these scenes, the marriage traditions and customs are portrayed in a wrong way. After Diya gets married, she is shown as the one who runs away from her house. By this act, Ammaji thinks that the prestige of her family is just vanished because of her running away from her house without any prior permission of her family. This brings up an important issue of the prestige being just vanished just due to running of a woman from her own household. Taking such an issue into consideration, a question rises up i.e. if a girl is given less importance , then why is a girl’s prestige issue get linked with the family’s prestige? Why are only women accused for going against any of their family norms and not the men in the family?

In short, culture (to a very large extent) has a domain in many aspects of life but at the same time, education contributes to shaping the minds of the people in a certain way, including some exceptions i.e. women are also meant to become a housemaker even if she has considered to earn, running away from the house is considered as the loss of prestige of the family etc. Media does play an important role in bringing about a certain culture in the most sensationalised and assumed way. The above mentioned female issues have now become a reason for the Hindi serials to commercialise, an over exaggeration of the ways of living of Indian people.

BY

NICOLE FERNANDES

TYBMM

SOPHIA COLLEGE

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