Joined: 18 March 2010
The Serial "Pratigya": Addressing a Social evil or Social issue
Before I started watching this show I was under the impression that the show dealt with the addressal of a social evil: eve-teasing. I was extremely disappointed when I realized it did not. In fact it seemed that the "eve-teasing" was used as bait to draw the audience and viewership into watching another Indian soap.
As I have stated in other posts, the issue of stalking was depicted in a realistic fashion. Alas, the solution was very filmy. It would not happen in real life because the most moderately educated people would not find the solution of having your daughter marry a stalker and potential rapist palatable. The girl's acceptance of the shagun is another no-no.
The only way the girl would be able to effect this marriage realistically is by eloping with the stalker, in which instance, the marriage would DEFINITELY be consummated, her maayka ties severed by either her parents or her husband and her future at the mercy of her stalker husband's temperament and good graces. Society and the law would be unsympathetic of her plight, because as a society, unfortunately we do not suffer fools. Tough to accept but that is the way it is.
The only practical solution to eve-teasing is ignore and evade. That was not done and so in my opinion, the show did not address the issue, just glimpsed it in passing.
So, then I began to wonder if I had misunderstood the intent of the show and then I realized I did. The show did not deal with a social evil. It dealt with a social issue.
A WOMAN'S EMANCIPATION IN CONSERVATIVE INDIA - a progressive 21st century solution for a developing 20th century society.
For those who disagree let me say this. A student's overall rank is not determined by their highest scoring subjects but by their average grade in all subjects.
India may have reached the 21st century in cosmopolitan and metropolitan areas but these areas only comprise a portion of our geographical landscape. The remote, rural and non-metropolitan areas are either on the cusp or trailing behind in the 20th century. The reality is that there are few Nitins, a few more Krishna's and a large number of Angads. While we may want to befriend a Nitin or tie him a rakhi, we tend to marry Krishnas because Nitins cannot protect us from Angads. Another sad but practical fact.
As a society, as a culture, as a country, we have been drawn to learning, from the time of Nalanda to modern day India. Our learning is not always formal (in schools, etc) but many a time we learn from informal means, our society, our family, our experiences, etc.
Unfortunately, the literacy rate in our country is affected by social and economic issues i.e. explosive population growth, disproportionate distribution of wealth and a large than normal middle class strata.
As a result formal education is the luxury of a select few. So those who receive it must appreciate this privilege and utilize it for society's betterment not detriment.
Our education is very theory based and our centres of learning and knowledge do not provide us with many opportunities for practical application. As a result, our students unrealistically expect that the world outside their universities has moved in sync with their curriculum and is working on similar ideals. What a culture shock for them.
The Saxena siblings have this problem. Their ideals are inspired by their father's teachings (which are commendable) but the man has not provided them a supporting dose of pragmatism. Pratigya's idealistic stand is misaligned with the society she lives in and has only survived this far because of her husband's indulgence and tolerance and strength. It is sad that she learnt her father's idealism but not her mother's pragmatism. It is almost like the Saxena siblings are sitting inside a sound proof chamber which shields them from reality and the only person allowed in this chamber is their father.
Women's liberation or emancipation was a wonderful and extremely successful movement when it started but in its purest form it is very dramatic for the global society we live in (which unfortunately is still a man's world). As a result, we see that most successful women do not use this "drug" in its purest form but temper it for a more successful outcome. That's pragmatism for you. Pratigya is using it in its purest form and that is why it is being found unpalatable by those she is using it on.
People who share Pratigya's ideals and mindset, see a tempered formula as being a compromise. I see it as being an effective and necessary balance.
Woman's emancipation is a western-influenced formula. There is this desire in academic and progressive India to model the East after the West (the grass is always greener on the other side), but if we are to do this we must have a clear and objective understanding of the west.
We must compare apples to apples. Compare Mumbai to New York, compare Delhi to Washington but remember that while we have Bihar, the US has Texas. We have our social ails and they have theirs. Why should we model ourselves after the West, when the West is far from a Utopic Society?
A transplant is only successful when it is compatible with all other organs and characteristics of the body. To successfully transplant an ailing organ you do not poison or butcher the healthy parts of the body.
Instead of the unnecessary culture shock, why don't we create a customised solution for India and our society. Use the western solution of women's liberation in a more palatable fashion. Look for cultural progression not culture shock. After seeing Pratigya, I feel that it is this social issue that is being addressed and I am very curious to see their technique of addressing the issue as the tracks progress.
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Hope very well written competely agree with you!!
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