Why we should not support reality shows on children

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(Pic Courtsey: Zee Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs)

Just now I was watching TV with my family and my parents insisted on watching a new program launched today. It was a reality show for children; some singing talent competition on some channel (I don’t want to name the channel or the show). I tolerated (yes right, tolerated!) the show for some 15-20 minutes and then I found it better to write this article rather than watching various kids showcasing their talent!

Ok, now let’s go back to the past. How was our childhood, was it like this? I understand that this generation has to move forward, but at what cost?

Let us look at the bigger picture now, the whole picture, which we do not get to see. Take for example the talent of singing. Not everyone has a talent like this, one in many has such a talent. Now suppose, in a national level talent show on a popular channel, say a thousand children come for audition. Out of those thousand, say 50 or 100 get selected to next round, 900 will be rejected. Out of the remaining 900, 50% of the kids will feels dejected and demotivated. They will get a feeling that they are not capable of this “achievement”, their self-confidence will see a new low. And there is a good chance that out of those rejected, there might be a really worthy and capable singer, who may not sing again. And in some cases, even their parents will put pressure on them to try harder next year, which is unjust.

Now let us move our focus towards those 50 or 100 which gets selected. They will undergo trainings, rehearsals, and what not to be near perfect in front of camera. Add to this a lot of melodrama. Slowly, one by one, candidates start getting rejected, and finally the media remembers only the winner or at max the top three. What about the rest? Has anyone given a thought on the emotional condition of those “rejected” children who could not make it to the top?

Recall the events of your life. How did it feel when you lost to somebody? I am sure everybody has lost at some or other point in life. Feels terrible, right? Even at this age, it feels awful to lose. Has anyone of you lost in front of the whole crowd? Anybody experienced that?! When lots and lots of people are watching you, and you lose! Yes, feels like shit!

Imagine what these children must be feeling like when they experience this feeling at such an early age! Losing is not an easy thing, and losing at this scale, when all the people are watching you and the opportunity cost is very high, is extremely difficult! Has anyone of us ever given a thought what these kids feel like? Their confidence suffers a blow! They might be feeling shattered! It’s not easy, when despite losing you have to clap for the winner and control your tears, when cameras are covering you from every angle. It will have serious effect on their growth and their learnings. World will be a lot different from their point of view.

The whole point is, I strongly believe that we are snatching childhood from these children just for the sake of our own entertainment. This is not the right age for children to go through all these emotions. This is the age when children must enjoy what they have and cherish their childhood. Instead we are making them realise what they do not have and letting them repent this thing their whole lives! Are they really capable of handling such pressures at such an early age? No, they are not. Let them enjoy their childhood, let us not take away their confidence, let us not take away their strengths from them. Let children be themselves.

PS: This is just my point of view, and it might not be 100% correct. Many of you may not agree with this, and many of you can add to this. Your suggestions and views are welcome.

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A kind request to all girls!

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Recently a friend of mine told me that she is undergoing a lot of emotional stress. On asking her repeatedly about the matter she told me that her ex-boyfriend is threatening that he will morph her images and will post it on Facebook. He even called her parents and told them this. His demand was that she should come back in his life. I asked her what she intends to do, and there came her shocking reply – Nothing!! I persuaded her to make a police complaint but she refused. She told me that she and her parents feared that if it becomes a case, then nobody will marry her. She kept on crying, and her parents kept on scolding her! Result was that her ex posted the pictures online, and removed them only after his friends scolded him. As far as the girl is concerned, she lost her freedom. Her parents still scold her and now the restrictions are but many!

What was the fault of this girl? She had to suffer for no fault of hers! And that boy is free of any guilt; he may be spoiling someone else’s life now. Isn’t it the fault of our society that we look down upon the victim, and not the culprit?! I so much wish that her parents had supported her and filed a case. Nevertheless, a man who rejects a girl due to reason such as this, is not worthy of being married at all!

This is not the only case that I’ve seen. Two girls who I know closely suffered sexual harassment and that too within the safe confines of their home from their relatives! Unfortunately they also decided to ignore this issue and preferred to keep mum as it would lead to break down of the family. They just ignored the whole thing because they thought their family would get a bad name and her sister’s marriage (which was in due course) will break off!

What the hell! Why are we tolerating all this? Why we are always afraid of what people would say? Why are we afraid of so called “society”?! In many families, the boy gets to do all the things, but the girl is left out. There are numerous restrictions for the girls that they can’t go out, can’t talk on phones, can’t go for further studies, married off at an early age and so on. Why are these restrictions only for girls? Women in Indian society are still much suppressed. The thing they mostly fear is, the society, the relatives, everything. They will prefer to remain silent because it does not look good if they raise their voice against something in society! They can go out and take part in a rally supporting their rights but they will not raise a voice against this discrimination at home.  If their parents or relatives will tell them not to go out with boys, not to talk to boys, not to go out with friends, not to go out after dark, etc, they will do it but will not raise their voice against it, they will not protest. Maybe just because they fear that what the society will think, what if it creates a bad image of them, what if……

Crimes on women are not done by men who are attracted to women, they are done by men who think that women is their toy and their motive is to suppress women, to boost their ego! Some men have a habit of treating their wives/sisters/daughters as lesser mortals and suppress them. It is these men only that go on to become rapists, because they were not stopped when they were doing a small thing!

The whole point is that, the day women will start raising their voice against this, life will be much better for them. What use is this society, this culture, these relatives if they snatch away your freedom from you? It is important to raise your voice against even a small issue. Admit it; most men do not treat women as equal, so you girls need to teach them a lesson! Do not neglect sexual harassment, even if it is from your family member, even if it is on a small scale. Do not blindly agree to whatever orders your parents give. Question them! If what they are saying does not make sense, then protest. Parents are not always right! Most of the elders have grown up seeing this environment only, so it’s not entirely their fault if they differentiate between you and your brother, but you need to change this very mentality. And only you girls can change this. You will not want your daughters to suffer the same fate, so stop this before our next generation takes over from us. Please raise your voices, and see the world change. Just do not suffer in silence!

PS: All of us may not be able to connect with this article as some of us are blessed with such parents who do not differentiate between boys and girls. But this is a sad reality in India. Most of the families look down upon their female members and don’t give them their rights. Also, I do not have a sister at my home, all the inputs and frustration is accumulated by seeing and observing many of my friends’ plight. Kindly correct me if I am wrong somewhere. Do support every woman and encourage her to gain her freedom. It is WE who have to change. 🙂

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Who is really corrupt?

On any given day, we may find people discussing corruption, in trains, at bus-stops, and at almost any gathering. There shall be opinions about how our system is corrupt and how each and every neta is corrupt and everyone will go on their story of dealing with the corrupt. People will come up with every possible solution to this ever growing problem. And ultimately all will move on to their chores after one common conclusion “Kuch nahi ho sakta is desh ka”.

But have we for a moment thought about the root of this problem? The truth is NO, we love to criticize others and give opinions but we haven’t really thought of the root of this problem. Or perhaps if we know the root, we are not willing to accept the cause. I said we may not be willing to accept the cause and rather neglect it because i am very sure that at least we are not ashamed of this thing!

All must have heard of 2G Spectrum scam, evaluating to Rs 176,000 Cr. It’s a huge amount right? Now, for a moment let’s put this scam aside and peep into the life of a common man.

Many (in fact most) of the people must have got an opportunity to take an official tour to somewhere or make an expenditure for official purposes. How many of those people show exactly the correct expenditure? Unfortunately, only a small percentage of people do! Others, just make fake bills, raise the amount of the bills and claim the “extra income”. Is this not corruption? If you consider it okay, then just think how would you feel if your maid charges you extra for s mop? Would you not feel cheated then? In a similar way, most of us are cheating our companies or government by making fake bills!

Let’s take another example. We may have to go to bank sometimes for some or another work. Many of us are having our relatives or friends in banks. What do we do? We simply call them up and say that I am coming and upon reaching you jump the queue and wow, your work is done in a moment. What about all those people who are slogging in line for long? Poor people, they are stupid people, they don’t have contacts, right? Is this not corruption? We are using our sources to get ahead of others then why is it considered moral and ethical?

If we are ever caught by a traffic cop, we refrain to pay the correct fine, and instead we pay him his share, a mere sum of Rs 100 to get away! Is this not corruption?

We pay our servants an amount which is not even sufficient for him, let alone his/her family! We pay them no bonuses no gifts no respect no insurance no retirement options, yet when the same thing happens to us we say it’s wrong!

We try to use money and our so called contact almost everywhere, yet we proudly say that we are not corrupt! These are only few of the examples. There are hundreds of examples in our daily lives which prove that we are corrupt to the core.

We are doing exactly what those politicians and rich businessmen are doing. It’s just that “sab apni aukat ke hisab se khelte hai”. A politician makes a lot of money because he has resources to do so. We are making small amount of money because we don’t have any resources to do so! We can only manage to make 10-20,000 illegally whole those can make lot more then this! When we use our resources to get our work done, it’s okay, but when they use their resources, it’s a big No-No!

This is all not fair! We have no right to criticize anyone unless and until we ourselves are morally and ethically correct. What corrupt people do is nothing different from what we do. It’s just that we do it on small scale and they do it on large scale. It’s not corruption, its jealousy that shows, that how the hell is this man making lot more black money than I am able to. Worst thing is, we don’t even know that we are corrupt.

We need to change ourselves to change others. Please stop doing all such activities. Its high time that we must change. It should be controlled within. Unless and until we change ourselves, we have no right to shout at others and to point fingers at others.  We must be the change we want to see in the world.

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Rapes in India – A Perspective

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From the past few days the news channels and the social media is abuzz with the news of Delhi gang rape and almost everyone is showing their anger through these mediums.  While we all have our sympathy with the victim and condemn, few question were being raised in my mind. These questions may seem inappropriate at this hour, but I feel they should be answered.

We are all posting Facebook status and tweets and going for candle marches in support for the victim and to grant him justice, but do any of us remember when was the last time somebody was given punishment by seeing our Facebook updates or reading our tweets or by signing a petition? Or can anyone can even recall last 5 rape cases despite them being high in numbers! I bet very few can. I am not saying that we should not stage our protest or not show our concern, but this is the cure, i.e. the damage is already being done. Even if we give the accused capital punishment, it is not going to change the scenario. I fully agree that it will give justice to the victim, but is this really the permanent solution? We know that prevention is better than cure, but why are we always focused on the cure part? What about the prevention?

I hear politicians debate about rape laws and methods to prevent it. They said they will increase security and they will give more protection, girls must carry pepper spray, learn self defence etc etc. Many mouth many opinions. But again, these are all the methods of prevention; they will not solve the root cause! So, what is the root cause? Some say that girls nowadays are given more freedom, they wear short skirts, skimpy clothes, have causal relationships, etc etc. So is this the real reason? Although most people will not agree to this but many people do believe this, although they are too afraid or shy to accept and admit it! But unfortunately this is also not the real cause. If that be the cause then USA, UK etc should have much more rapes then India! But this is not the case. So what is the root cause?

The reason I am giving may offend some people or some of you may shrug it as rubbish, but this is what I felt going through deep thought process.

Indians are from the very beginning very conservative people and we always give importance to our values, our so called sanskars. Traditionally our women have been concealed to purdah or ghunghat, and they were not allowed to take part in business matters or various other things, and were supposed to work in kitchen. As time changed, these traditions were ceased and now women have an equal status in India. But do they really have an equal status in our minds? As kids, we are supposed to behave and become a good person. One of those things was maintaining distance from the opposite sex. In school, girls and boys were not allowed to sit together, and they were differentiated on most of the aspects. In our homes also, boys are given much more importance than girls. Gender bias exists everywhere. Many of you may not have faced such a situation, but I am not talking with regards to a particular set of people; this is with regards to majority of Indians. In our families and in school, at a very early age, this bias begins. The boys are told to stay away from girls and the girls are told to stay away from boys. A child or a teenager, who follows this advice is said to be sanskari. Others get comments like ‘awara ho gayi/gaya hai’ etc. We are so much sanskari that we don’t even discuss sex education in our schools or at homes. If any boy or a girl is seen to be good friend with opposite sex, than parents and teachers scold him/her and warn him/her. We are allowed to party with our friends, but only if they are of same sex. From the very beginning, we are taught that girls are weaker and we should respect them. So, what is the cumulative result of all this?

The result is not instantaneous; it shows up after years after nothing can be done. As boys are taught to respect girls because they are weaker, they tend to believe that they are indeed weaker and end up disrespecting them. Due to that lack of communication between boys and girls in earlier life, boys and girls could not mix up properly, and hence boys are never able to understand what women truly are. Most of the boys do not get a chance to talk to girls till they are adults, so they only think of them as beautiful piece of flesh. They never get a chance to understand them. They never accept them as a part of their own mankind. As we do not have sex education in schools, this topic is still a big taboo. These sanskars which at an early age were supposed to help us become better human beings spoil us into being inhumane. Why the situation in other countries is not same as in India, despite girls there are more free, wear skimpy clothes etc. It’s because they do not have such bias as Indians like ‘you are a girl and you are a boy and you should not mix and mingle’!

I am not saying that we have bad values, am just saying that some of the values of our system are not helping us. There is no point in discriminating between boys and girls. If we will suppress both genders and do not give them a chance to understand each other, the problem will not solve. The root cause lies in our own system, in our values and ethics. True, that the thinking is changing, but lot more needs to be done. Stop discrimination. Have a broad minded thinking. It’s no harm if both the genders mix. The boys will stop ogling at girls and passing comments on them if they will have girls as their friends from school time. This way they will get to know them and will really respect them. They will understand that women are not about how curvy they are, but they are about how beautiful their heart is.

I am not very sure that I was able to convey my thought properly, as both rape, and our value system are a very sensitive topics and I do not want to hurt anybody’s emotions. Please ignore if you have any objections.

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