So dowry is the new bad word in India cos Aamir Khan says so.
Satya Mev Jayate (SMJ) truly is trailblazing by mirroring India’s problems back to us Indians so much so that my facebook friends who specialize in updates that have historically been socially inappropriate, are now using socially relevant words like abuse, dowry etc on their status updates… of course, every week, the social issue changes - but only as long as Aamir Khan approves. Sample this fb update from an fb friend : “full form of ‘DOWRY’ = Donkeys Of the first order Who can’t stand on their feet Rely on their wives’ riches Yet shameless.” :D (yes, the Department of Abbreviations resent this one!)
Well, me haven’t seen any of the Aamir Khan episodes yet and my attempt at catching the youtube version was aborted cos I found the flow to be pretty depressing and too serious for a Sunday morning. (Please don’t brand me a bad person becos of this – I still pay my taxes, I respect women and I often do offer my seat to elders in the bus. Yes I do ogle at the occasional PYT or curse and envy the idiot boyfriend she’s with; but don’t we all??? )
As an eligible bachelored Indian guy, I can tell you that the concept of dowry is pretty tempting – imagine getting a car/money/furniture for well,… just being a guy. Though my take to dowry is that if you ask for dowry, you lose respect - a marriage’s most important component - in both your wife/in laws’ eyes; hence me ain’t a big supporter of the ‘D’ word. But I am yet to make an opinion about people who do ask for it – I mean, I have both kind of friends who married with and without dowry – and they’re both equally miserable! J So I’m not sure if I particularly know of anyone that the papers or Aamir Khan has named as “victims of dowry” or of the “atrocities” dowry bring about to women across India – so I can’t argue with that and hence I won’t.
But my point is that dowry and other social ills existed even before SMJ and people need to understand that SMJ is just a well made show made for the sole purpose of entertainment. It successfully strikes an emotional connect with the viewer, and is ensuring better trps for the channel and more advertising moolah for the producer, which incidentally is the Khan. But what is the key motive of the show - highlighting social evils to us or making money? Or both? Or is there one? Or is it just general entertainment, which is what I think it is. And it looks like the start of whole new genre so don’t be surprised if more celebrities start similarly themed shows soon.
My personal take on abolishing dowry is to abolish the concept of arranged marriages – in the name of “tradition”, arranged marriages put a premium on one gender that require the other gender to compensate for it. But tradition overlooks the social fact that women today are no longer dependant on men and that women today are as capable, if not more, than men in almost every area. If people get married for love, marriages would be conducted in a more understanding and practical way and more often than not, people know what they’re getting into. Of course personally, I am a strong believer in the animal kingdom credo of ‘fight for the girl’ – you know, the “alpha male always gets the girl” rule – and arranged marriage stands grossly in the way of us Indian men getting any practice in the art of wooing and winning women – incidentally, we Indian men grossly suck at charm and seduction.
But since last year, I strongly opposed dowry and advocate that it should be seriously banned. And here’s why - In my earlier company, I remember this guy in my same team and both of us had the same boss and the same work profile. In fact, he was the lesser mortal between us both as I still had a bike that we used to pool together to office every day. Things were hunky dory with me having a slight upper edge(on account of my bike) till one fine day he got married. And then, everything bloody changed and how! And ever since, I’ve been vehemently against dowry and its ill effects to society. You see, this dude is from some remote village in the hinterland, and in his place, he’s like some feudal land lord or something and dowry is a huge thing there with people giving away whole villages and towns to the groom and this dude’s family owns like half of Andhra Pradesh or something. So the simple act of marriage made him richer by….. hold your breath….. 10 crores. Today, when I’m on my bike waiting at signals, I see him in his C Class. And I remember the days when I could have, would have and should have been kinder to him…. Alas…… Dowry should be banned I say!
Yes this post is too frivolous to address an issue like dowry but seriously, if dowry need to be abolished, it goes beyond sending one rupee sms to SMJ which they claim will be donated to charity (never mind that the number of smses is actually a metric to judge the success of any tv show J). It needs to start with changing our basic mindset. Lets understand that men and women are equally unequal and need each other to complete each other. And let’s not forget that a wedding is actually about two people and the society is only secondary. And lets advocate more love marriages. And lets understand that SMJ is just a good entertainment program and nothing more. And since we’re at it, let’s make this blogger popular by visiting his site more often here.