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Social Evils Exposed in Television Serials

There's a Hindi television serial running right now, 'Balika Vadhu', which is bringing to public notice the evils of certain rural traditions here in India like child marriage.  I would say that it is doing a creditable job of  highlighting how certain customs, which aim to protect women, actually harm them.  Most people's reason for marrying their underage daughters would be for their own welfare and protection.  However, child marriage leaves young girls open to sexual abuse, not to mention the mental abuse of having to shoulder adult responsibilities at a tender age.  Early motherhood causes physical as well as psychological damage and the sad thing is that when these young girls grow up, they go on and inflict on their own little daughters-in-law the same abuse which was done to them.  Most people who abuse others do it unknowingly, perpetuating a destructive cycle.

Child marriage happens mostly in rural villages, but eighty per cent of India lives in its villages.  I live in a city and have never known of a child marriage.  This is why the serial is such a revelation.

The problem is, that while television serials are a good medium to convey a social message, watched as they are by millions of people, it seems to have got the wrong message across.  Apparently, in a recent survey of youngsters who watch the show, it turned out that most of them thought child marriage was very romantic and idolized the young stars of the show.  I  remember my late father-in-law viewing the young couple on  television one day.  As the wife packed the husband's schoolbag and lunchbox and waved him off  to school while she stayed home to do the housework,  he expressed the view that whatever one may negatively say about child marriage, it was the best way for a girl to to adjust to her future life,  entering her marital home at an early age.

 I found this view outlandish, but what was the point of saying anything?  You can't change someone's attitude by arguing.  How do you explain to someone that two people have to grow together to adjust to each other in marriage, and trying to dominate and control one of the partners to adjust to the other is no less than a violation of someone's human rights?

Until a woman is seen as an individual who has a right to develop her talents and be taken seriously and not as a domestic worker and child bearing machine, this attitude will prevail.

Comments

  1. I'll never understand that attitude in men, that women are not really human beings, that they are less then men. That girls are for getting rid of and the earlier the better. So sad. And so ultimately destructive to the society.

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  2. Oh it is sad to think so many little girls suffer like this.
    I think it will take a long time before attitudes change.
    I hope that publicity about these things will speed up changing attitudes towards little girls. I would be seething about it.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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