Sunday, May 6, 2012

Power, Knowledge and Satyamev Jayate

Power, Knowledge and Satyamev Jayate

Every now and then an event happens with a potential to stir not thoughts, not ideas but the whole nation with its plain blatant truth and honesty. And this time it were the many stories and incidents which apparently well known were still brushed under the carpet.
A friend of mine texted me to watch Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate, and I’m only glad that she did. Shows like these need to be aired without any second thought. But, well there many out there who may get agitated and frustrated for their work depends on many such so called ‘ill- legal acts’.
I question: What is immoral? Are we taught what morality is? Which truth are we talking about, for relativists believe there are different truths?
No! I don’t wish to derail in anyway. But Kohlberg’s theory of Morality comes to mind. Kohlberg was a Developmentalist who tested the moral quotient of children in different age groups and accordingly stated the level of moral development.
In this first episode of Satyamev Jayate where the topic of female foeticide was fervently taken up, stunned was I to see that even after seven years of showcasing the sting operation carried out by two journalists in Rajasthan, the doctors were out in the open, continuing with their practice, perhaps having killed lakhs of to-be- future- women of the country only to add weight to their already full pockets!
Sigh…..they say truth is bitter and painful. I say, to that, add the word shocking and palpable.
Yet, what follows this thought is the aspect of power!
Michel Foucault, of those of you haven’t heard about him, related power to the many aspects he saw around him. A French philosopher, social theorist and a historian of ideas, Foucault ( pronounced as Fuko) introduced the concept of power, knowledge and discourse and how they are related.
There is no doubt that Aamir Khan does a great job adjuring the millions in India to support his cause, for they, we, and I will. Yet, as a critical thinker I wish to put forth a question and a view.
Think about it, why this show will activate the corpus callosum in our brains firing the myriad of neural circuits making us eager? Why indeed?
The answer lies in power dynamics and the circle of power, knowledge and discourse!
It’s not that you, I or a third person does not think about such pertinent issues in India. A while back I started a FB page named ‘India, one road goes to Success and the other one down the drain’ (which was created when HT published a detailed article on how the grains worth crores of rupees were being eaten by rodents even as lakhs of people in India starved to death). It was an attempt, on my part, to do something, to bring a change, for the better. I felt and believed, but things did not work out.
All I wish to say is that Aamir is a celeb, he has money, power and of course after great study and research the shows are being aired on the television. Please do not misunderstand me in any way! I do not wish to say that people who do not have money or power cannot bring a change ( for it sis the stories of many such people, in fact which Aamir shares with us!)  What I mean is, that different discourses operating in a specific epoch get influenced by the people in power. Let us take for instance, the very issue of female foeticide. Had the Govt of India made gender identification of the foetus  not only ‘just’ an act that was termed ‘illegal’ but actively cancelled the license of those practicing it, many others would have stopped the practice for the fear of going behind the bars and losing their daily bread.
Yet, as quoted by the journalists in the program, many medical practitioners openly encourage birth of the male child leading to skewed sex ratios and depriving a man of his ‘own’ wife and a woman of her due respectable status.

What age are we in,
When women do not get their due,
And for the many with their riches,
Sharing husbands that poor few!
Hath a woman no right even to choose,
And if you squash her cry, in the womb,
Where will your lineage flow? But
To empty drains of that girl’s tombstone!

It’s a sorry state of our country. I personally have been feeling that the distance between the rich and the poor has vastly grown over the years, as a matter of fact glorification of a country’s riches in no way washes away the cruel mundane truths……
And we all have a long way to go………….

P.S.: I have exhausted my thoughts. I apologise if they didn’t come clean. I’m not that great in advocating social issues, yet I strongly feel for them. I do hope my words made sense.
See this video, for those of you who missed.


Manju Modiyani said...

I had missed watching this show. Thanks a lot for this post. Watched the video, the song is so touching. And yes your words do make sense. No matter what you are still trying to make a difference. A really nice post... :)

Subhrashis Adhikari said...

great initiative by Amir...hope it stirs some sleeping souls....

Bikram said...

I saw this program and have read a lot of blogs too on this

I think its a GOOD start only if we dont let people hijack the idea or the causes it is showing .. as with everything already people are talking of how patriarchy or Man is responsible .. this and that which actually makes me mad .. people dont want to work on the cause but they try to find issues on how to blame someone ..

You are right govt shud have done something , after 7 years nothing has happened maybe just maybe with a celebretiy taking up the issue something might happen and the doctors and other responsible might jsut be taken to task.

lets us all get together and do something a little bit jsut a little bit


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