Monday, May 28, 2012

Satyamevjayate Episode 4

What a brilliant show! I thought it was the best made so far. But Aamir and his team did fail in their research yet again and this time very badly. At least for the previous shows their misses were excusable but not on this one. The story of the generic medicines came to me as a very rude shock. I am sure it must have come as a shock to many viewers. So did the medical insurance scheme provided by the government and Narayana Hrudayalaya organization. But Aamir's team did miss out something very important. I'll detail in a moment.

As for bribery in general I think almost everyone in the show, most of the viewers, well almost everyone in this country has been party to it. Even though many haven't taken a bribe I am sure we all have at some point or the other, given one. But since the episode was restricted to only the Medical profession and its associated practices it is not worth discussing about "bribe" any more. Probably Aamir has another episode dedicated to it.

One other thing that could have been mentioned is the number of institutions in the country where medical treatment is provided free. Several doctors and pharmacists also provide free and subsidized medical attention to the poor and the under-privileged. Aamir did bring Dr.Devi Shetty of Narayana Hrudayalaya on the show but he did miss one institution completely. It is extremely sad that it wasn't even mentioned considering the yeoman service they have rendered to people of India. Can you imagine world class (I repeat World Class) super speciality hospitals in India that has been rendering free service to any one that approached them. With all the love, sincerity and hospitality that one can get Sathya Sai Baba's two super speciality hospitals have been rendering world class services for free. The first one in Puttaparthi has been operational since 1991. The second one was opened in 2001 in Whitefield. Prior to that Puttaparthi was operating a hospital for free since 1954. I knew someone whose friend had a heart bypass surgery done there for free. Can you imagine, for free! This is something that is unheard of in the developed nations and something that is possible in a Third World country. That is not all, almost any medical emergency or treatment that one can think that mankind can get is offered here and for free. Sathya Sai Baba's devotees who are doctors come there from all around the world on their own to render free services. Services are rendered with a sense of spirituality found nowhere else. The construction of the hospital in Puttaparthi itself  was nothing short of a miracle. A super speciality hospital constructed in total area of 150 acres, occupying a built-space of 15,000 sq meters, housing 300 beds was built in a record 9 months of which 3 months were devoted solely for the construction of the design. The statistics of the OPD and procedures performed for the period 1991 to 2009 and several other information about the two hospitals are mind-blowing. One fact was just simply hard not to mention. On an average at the Whitefield super speciality hospital seven neuro and seven heart operations are performed by surgeons every day. The costs for performing these (including associated tests like lab tests, outpatient procedure, x-rays etc.,) would cost Rs.5 million or US$100,000 per day but the hospitals don't charge patients a dime! All treatments including stay, medicines and food are offered for free!

Read this and more about these wonderful institutions here: Satha Sai Baba's Super Speciality Hospitals  

I wonder how Aamir's team could bungle on their research on this wonderful organization. Was it because they didn't want controversy? But how could they ignore the great services the organization has offered free for so many years to the people of India.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Aamir's Sathyameva Jayathe - Episode 2

Before I proceed, just as Aamir requested on the show, if you are too young and don't wish to read a matured topic you may not find this post interesting and it would be in your own interest to not continue to read. If you do read and feel upset or disturbed, don't say I didn't warn you.

Aamir has certainly got the nation talking with his great show and by the time his second show was aired The Hindu has had a full page dedicated to the episode and was even asking viewers to write to them. Selected articles were published too. I particularly liked one that indicated how Aamir's show had given the other "money-shows" a run for their money. Today show was more intense and moving than the first.

Today's episode was about child sexual abuse. I got my 12 year old son to watch it. I think this show would have come as a rude-shock to those who didn't know how far child sex abuse has gone in India and what the nation has done in preventing this crime and mitigating the suffering that the victims have endured. I felt for all the victims on the show. May God give strength to the victims of these crimes to lead a normal life.

Did the show have any holes? Absolutely yes! Like the first episode, Aamir's team seem to have ignored to discuss the "root-cause" of this crime. Knowing how to report or protect children from child abuse was the priority but trying to find out why and how sex-offenders are made and why sex-offences are on the rise can go a long way in preventing these crimes from happening.

And what is the root cause? - Answer - A huge rise in Sexual Perverseness in our society today. Yes, there can be other causes too but not as big as this one.

Genetically I don't think India is a nation rife with the child sex-offense gene in the DNA and so it is difficult to conclude that child sex abuse is something the abusers inherited.

What we need to consider is that there are two categories of people. One, people with big or very big sex drives and those that can apply restrain and others with big sex drives who have lost control of their sexual appetites. The second category of people is what we need to concerned about.

Porn stars belong to the first category but how many of them are child-sex abusers? Porn stars or people with huge sex drives don't go to therapists to cure their huge appetites for sex. Instead we know what they do. Child sex abusers are a disturbed lot and they are the ones who need treatment. Like other mental illnesses these guys need to get counseling, therapy, whatever. One thing is in common. They are a pretty frustrated lot and the reasons for this frustration could me many. Chikatilo the Ukrainian serial killer who raped most of his victims confessed that he could achieve orgasm only when the victim would die and so he would kill his victims both young and older. So we are actually talking about a serious medical condition here and those that cannot be cured need to be taken care of in institutions or kept away from the society. In the U.S. sex-offences be that with a child or adult are marked against the doer of the crime and these records show up whenever a background check is made on the person.

Similarly we need to find out why certain people are interested in children only.  From what I have been reading some of the reasons that have been documented are - a)Gays and Lesbians who live with a lot of guilt in our society turn to children as an act of vengeance, b)Adults satiated with sex with other adults find only children satisfying, c) Adults who derive a morbid pleasure (or like Chikatilo discussed earlier) hurting children d) adults who don't get enough or find it difficult to find partners. I have just mentioned a few, there could be other reasons as well. Some of the abusers are have had disturbing childhoods and have been abused themselves. Chikatilo, the Ukrainian serial killer had a very disturbed childhood.

It is going to be a challenge for our Psychologists and Psychiatrists to try and find out a solution and if these child abusers cannot be cured or treated, drastic steps be taken such as punishments, fines, confinements etc., and most importantly we also need to offer therapy, counseling and treatments to victims to recover from the shock they have been through.

I saw a bias towards male child sex abusers. It might have been unintentional but several women, ladies and girls join this league too.  A male friend of mine then only in +2 was forced into sexual submission by a female relative almost 10 or more years older than him. Though I wouldn't call that rape it was abuse no doubt, the latter having taken complete advantage of the teen's age and submissiveness.

Now let us ask ourselves another important question. Why has sexual-perverseness become so rampant? Way back in 1982, and then in Std 9, the closest we could come to an erotic movie was a Tamil film called "Alaigal Oyvathillai" which is laughable if you know what school going kids are watching these days. Take a look at what the media and what the Internet is distributing. Today if our irresponsible MLA's can watch porn during an assembly proceeding you can imagine the sorry state of affairs. Porn of every genre is in the air, literally. Gazillions of them and of every imaginable genre are being downloaded off the Internet and being distributed. All you need is a smart phone or a computer with a high-speed Internet access to get to them. Then there are the videos being made. Videos of sex with young school and college girls have become infamous. A video of a leading actress was and probably still floating around the Internet. India now has a porn star lined up for a bollywood movie and soft-core erotic thrillers are already being made (Yes, Made in India). Item numbers are no longer confined to a Helen or a Silk Smitha and instead leading ladies are coveting them, calling them "prestige" roles. The film industry also has played a major role in "sexing" up the Indian society. Our movies are also filled with such stuff that were never seen before, like sex-offenders, serial killers all getting the more graphic. Gautam Vasudev Menon's "Nadunisi Naygal" is about a psychotic serial killer who is witnesses to his promiscuous father's sex escapades. Imagine how much a child sex abuser's fascination is set on fire with all such stuff around them. So what are we or our government is doing to curb this unrestricted distribution of pornographic material.

The show mentioned about two foreigners indulging in sexual abuse. Let us not forget the case of the infamous Delhi doctor and his male-servant who not only sexually abused kids but also murdered them. I wonder what the law has done to these guys. What about the innumerable raids of parties in the big cities. To the people with huge sex drives and who target children all these lead to a state of morbid no-control.

I did predict actress Sridevi would show-up on the show and boy was I right!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Aamir's SatyamevJayathe Episode 3

This episode is basically the answer to the question that should have been asked in the first episode and about which I discussed in my first review, "Why are so many female foeticides happening in the country?".

I found more melodrama (Aamir's reactions seemed a shade "filmy") in this episode and a very unnecessary incident reported which took away the seriousness of the topic of "Dowry". Instead of wasting time on the incident where a groom was kidnapped and forced into marrying a girl, the show could have highlighted several successful marriages across the country that did away with dowry. The list would have practically been an endless one. I had mentioned about the successful Malayali Nair system of wealth partitioning with the daughter or daughters in such families which act as a natural deterrent to the asking of dowry and how the Nairs and Kerala as a whole boast of one of the most successful male:female ratios in the country.

Aamir started the show asking young ones in the audience about what they thought of their dream-weddings.At the end of the show he asks the same question. Instead he should have asked how many married people in the audience including relatives of those who came forward to describe their tragic stories, had dowry-free marriages. How many of those young things can say that the marriages of their parents did not involve dowry.  This is the hypocrisy in our society. We condemn dowry and yet indirectly are party to it. The groom may say, "I did not ask for dowry." but his parents do and when the parents also don't ask for dowry what makes us think that they do not have an eye on the girl's wealth. And then they are those who don't ask or seek how much she is worth but after marriage use her wealth. Here I must say it is acceptable because as a couple they can share what they have in the name of love but again only with the consent of the wife and not by force or authority.

The report of no-dowry in the North-East was an eye opener. The efforts of some groups particularly in the Muslim communities up North to do away with dowry is highly appreciated. Down south (ironically in Kerala) Muslim families of brides offer atrocious dowries to their grooms.

I still haven't published my review on episode 2. Will do so soon. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Aamir's Sathyameva Jayathe - Episode 1

Sathyameva Jayathe HAS indeed captured the nation's attention and today was Episode 2 but I had already started writing a post last Sunday. Let me complete that before I write about Episode 2.

Like any ardent Aamir Khan fan I waited for the show and I was taken aback to find out that it was just another "Talk Show" kind of a thing. "Sathyameva Jayathe" is too powerful a title and I was only wondering why such a title for a show as this. The show could have simply been titled "The Aamir Khan show".

Basically it is just another import from the U.S. Oprah has been doing this for years. We now have an Indian version of it. We are going to be seeing a lot of crying in the audience and we are all going to be buying it. Actually I didn't because in India (unlike in the U.S.) you don't need to actually watch a show as this to see all the evil. It is just outside your home. Who can forget the horrible episode in recent times of Neha Afreen, the three month old girl child that died in a hospital in Bangalore. Almost beaten and bitten to death by her father she died in hospital unable to recover from the brutality meted out to her. Her story was covered extensively. However I do appreciate Aamir's concern for the "ills"in our society and what he intends to do about it. Suriya (the host of the Tamil version of Kaun Banega Karorpathi, again another import from the U.S. based "Who wants to be a millionnaire") should learn from the way Aamir deals with his subjects. His reactions and contrite tears are more acceptable than Suriya's told-to-behave-style in "Neengalum Agalam Koteswaran".

Now for the first episode, on female foeticide and abortions. The reports were good, the statistics good, but how to eradicate this problem? This is where Aamir and his team missed out on a single most important thing, "the root-cause of the problem". I am actually surprised that he and his team didn't consider that. No one is going to stop abortions in this country by writing to Chief Ministers, the Prime Minister, President or the Medical Council. By the way in rural areas in North India they have people (ladies designated for this) who kill girl children after they are born. To some extent the horror can be mitigated if the perpetrators of the crime are put in jail, their medical licenses removed etc., but as I wrote earlier that alone is not going to solve the problem of female foeticide. In fact if the "real" problems were addressed then we even don't need to be running after the perpertrators of the crime. The crime itself will cease to exist. Having said that the solution is also not going to be very simple either.

The root-cause of the problem can be determined by asking, "Why are girl children not desired?" and the first answers that comes to mind to this question are the "Dowry" and the "Sharing of the family-wealth" issues. Aamir and his team should have highlighted and investigated this aspect more than anything else. This is where the root-cause of the problem is. In most societies in India the girl child is considered a burden because when the girl is married her parents (and even relatives, brothers) etc have to bear the brunt of "funding" her or in other words her husband and in some cases her husband's folks too. So she is considererd a burden carrying away the family fortune to her "in-laws". Sons on the other hand are considered bringers of wealth through marriage. I have a friend who told us that she like other girls in her community (an affluent community down South) are considered a burden and very little is done for their good. I have just made it brief. A full discussion will involve more posts. Therefore to tackle the female foeticide problem we need to tackle the "dowry problem" first. Other reasons for not having the female child are less intimidating as the "dowry problem".

So is the Indian girl doomed. No! Aamir and his team should realize that in India societies exist where things have been put in place in such a way that "Dowry" is discouraged. Take the case of the Malayali Nairs. The Nairs are Matriarchs and a lot of importance and value is given to the Nair women. The daughters and sons born to a Malayali Nair woman inherit the mother's Tharavadu (dynasty to put it loosely) name, even though their father would hail from another Tharavadu (the father's mother's tharvadu). A wonderful concept thought about so early by our forefathers becasue even scientifically we all inherit the mitochondrial DNA only from the mother. The beauty during the family wealth partition process is that the house is inevitably given to the girl or the wealth distributed among the girls equally if there are more than one girl. This in fact discourages the boy from asking for dowry from his bride. Sons are anyway going to be married to girls who get homes or wealth from the latters' families and so there is no need to give sons anything (again here there is no hard and fast rule that they shouldn't be getting anything, the sole decision lies with the parents). But whether the sons are given anything, the girl inevitably IS given the house or other wealth.

At college I had a Somalian friend who would tell us how in their muslim communities the groom has to pay the bride dowry to get married to her and that there were women who divorce multiple times to gather wealth that way. In China too, grooms need to pay dowry to their wives to get married. In recent times The Hindu carried an article how Chinese women have become too dear to pay dowry that it has become difficult to get a bride.

Aamir has already met the Chief Minister of Rajasthan to expedite processes that look into these crimes as his sting team actually captured surreptitiously footage of doctors assisting in female foeticides. One lady doctor even had the audacity telling the interviewers to dump the child in some open area or a farm. But my concern is that the "root of the problem"needs to be addressed.

So this is my review of Episode 1 in brief. I have lots to write about Episode 2 and that will be in another post, coming soon.