Are TV serials making Kashmiri women infidels, spies, rebels?


SRINAGAR: The state run women’s commission has kicked a new controversy by asking a very relevant question on its Facebook page: “During one of our awareness programmes, some men suggested women should stop watching TV serials which teach them nothing except spying, infidelity and rebellion… I want you to respond to this….what is your view on it…”

Reactions were far and few between. Some were supportive of the argument. “Yes, it is true. These serials are destroying the social set-up because lot of young women follow them without applying their mind.”

“Why should boys have all the fun?…” reads one comment. “These serials depict reality of society and I guess people are not able to accept the truth,” a woman commented.

Then a man asked: “Are men who indulge in domestic violence fond of watching wresting or are men who watch news all the time becoming paranoid and cranky? When that is not logical, how is watching Star Plus causing anything?”

“Women will decide what they want to watch or what not. Let the men decide about themselves not about woman again,” reacted one lady. “What a joke, poor men. If women watching TV programmes of their choice make them insecure, I wonder how weak such men could me, Pity.”

But the women reacting aggressively to the question took it as if it was coming from the males. They did not know the question came from the State Women Commission, a constitutional set-up for the women that is manned and managed by women.

But the question is increasingly getting more important because of the stuff that the TV prime time shows in the name of entertainment, especially those from the mainland India. By and large, ninety percent of the soups that are telecast in India have the relationships at the core of their idea. Even the TVs pick the same theme for their crime and horror shows, usually telecast later during the nights.

Some prime time shows are basically about infidelity within the neighbours and they are smash hits, cable TV professionals said. “I am personally unable to sleep unless I see a serial that is about the fantasies of the two neighbours who wish to entice each other’s wives,” one operator, who wishes to stay anonymous, said.

A mother of three in an old city locality said she was surprised to see that even at schools the kids are grouping themselves as per the serials they watch. “A friend told me that his daughter came smiling one day and when she was asked why she was unusually so happy, she replied: her character in her favourite serial was expecting to deliver a baby in today’s episode.”

Read More: Do women kill their conflict induced sadness by becoming part of the TV’s unreal world, click here

A Srinagar resident, who found the TV so problematic that he switched it off permanently, said he was shocked when he watched his kids watching a teenage serial in which the entire focus was about enticing the males and vice versa. “I found it absolute wastage of resource and time,” he said. “The other problem was that every time there was TV showing one or the other thing, he was getting least time to talk to his kids.”

The death of news bulletins on the Delhi TV channels was one of the major reasons for the people to use the idiot box for entertainment. With longer periods available because of tensions and unrest, people would stay hooked to the TV jumping from one channel to another.

“I found the serials quite problematic and abhorrent,” a retired director rank officer said. “In last two years, I might have watched all the old Bollywood films again and again. There is nothing much left to be watched from Bollywood.”

Psychologists and mental health experts do admit that a section of addict serial watchers gradually start seeing world from the characters they like on TV. Some even start behaving like them. And in certain cases, they pick up particular scenes from their serials and started seeing the home situation in that backdrop. Simply, they say, it messes up with life as a director’s imagination start creating upheavals in homes which do not belong to him.

Though the clerics and the Imams have been talking quite harshly about the content being watched so hugely by the people, it has not had any impact on the situation. This was despite the fact that part of the political camp has always maintained that Kashmir culture is facing a severe onslaught on TV and beyond.

On the cultural issues, the crisis is now being attributed to the failure of the Doordarshan which has not lived up to the expectations of the local culture. “It is one of the least watched TV stations as for as cultural issues are concerned,” one artist who has been affiliated with the Centre for a long time said. “What was the last serial we produced after Hazaaar Daastan ?”

Now this question is coming from a state appendage? Are there answers?

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