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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Idiocy of The Big, Fat Indian Weddings


I particularly like the sentence, "We urgently need people who say the correct things. Before the social order goes topsy-turvy, before we start accepting the crooked, the cheat, the corrupt, the pervert; we need people who can put forth the standard view."

Indeed, we need to speak up and I am glad Aamir Khan is using his fame to stand up for social justice. Some one needs to do it. I will do my part, will you do yours?

Mike Ghouse

The Idiocy of The Big, Fat Indian Wedding
by Prof. Shubha Tiwari
Continued from "Our Children are Not Safe"

The Third Episode

Image (c) Gettyimages.com
It’s true that the national passion of India is neither film nor cricket as is commonly believed. Our national passion is marriage. People spend all their lives thinking about marriage, their own marriage, marriage of their siblings, children, neighbors and so on.

Aamir’s show began on a light note where girls expressed desire for ‘Yashraj films’ style of marriage ceremony and boys wanted their ‘barat’ to come in helicopters. Frankly, all of us, Indians dream about that the day of marriage all our lives. The jewels, the food, the location, the music, the gold, and of course the ‘len-den’ (dowry) – different aspects of the ceremony are terribly important for an Indian.

But this national obsession has become a national menace. Farmers, laborers, vendors and all those who cannot afford the extravaganza go on taking loans which they cannot pay back. Severe tragedies occur due to this.

A girl from Delhi, Komal came to the show. She belonged to a well-to-do family. The same old story that we all know so well, followed in her case also. Marriage was settled. Cards were printed. The date was nearing. The blackmailing began. Demands for fridge, car, furniture, foreign tours etc started. For fear of social disgrace, the parents of the girl fulfilled the demands. Somehow, marriage happened. But demands kept rising unabated. The girls was tortured. The parents further bowed down. It all lasted till the girl could suffer no more. Then came the breaking point. In the case of Komal, she had gone to the US. So, her torture was even more acute. But so many girls in our country are looted and tortured for the sake of an NRI husband. And the breaking point never comes. Girls keep suffering till they reach the stage where they can make others suffer.

The show, thankfully, did not go linear. It had interesting twists and turns. After another tragic tale from Kerala and an unsolved case from Punjab, we had a case of ‘pakarva byah’. I liked it a lot. The boy’s father demanded dowry. The girl’s father got the boy kidnapped. The marriage took place with all ‘haldi’ and other rituals. The first night came. The boy was angry. He ordered the girl to stand in a corner and not come near him. After all the adventures of the day, the boy was naturally tired; he slept. When he woke up in the morning, the girl was still standing at the spot where he had ordered her to stand. He kissed his fair, beautiful wife and as they say , ‘The rest is history’.
Balwant Singh Ramuwalia also came on the show to especially highlight the plight of girls from Punjab. Punjabis have this weakness for NRI son-in-laws. About thirty thousand girls in Punjab are currently waiting for their NRI husbands to return or take them abroad. They’ve simply been ditched. A daughter-in-law is the best servant one can have. You don’t have to pay anything. The whole work is properly done. You can abuse as well. You can press the button, and money can also fly in from her parents’ side.
Good examples were also showcased. An organization from Burhanpur has made simple marriage ceremonies popular. The way the old man was referring to his place, ‘hamare Burhanpur me kio ladki jahez ke lie nahi jalai jati’ (girls are not burnt for dowry in our Burhanpur). His stress on the fact that Burhanpur is his was touching indeed. And then came the true heroine from Mumbai, Rani Tripathi. She and her brother had conducted a sting operation on her would be in-laws and showed the world how money and goods were being demanded. The case of north-eastern states was also discussed where there’s no such thing as dowry.
As always the show ended with a lovely theme song.

It’s a commendable effort to touch the conscience of the people. As Aamir says that it is his way of fulfilling his social responsibility; following this program is one of my small efforts to fulfill my social responsibility. We urgently need people who say the correct things. Before the social order goes topsy-turvy, before we start accepting the crooked, the cheat, the corrupt, the pervert; we need people who can put forth the standard view. The beauty of the show lies in its method. Interesting presentation, concern, positive approach, unbiased analysis and a belief that things can change for the better- all these factors together make ‘Satyameva Jayate’ a brilliant piece of creation.

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