Ban the regressive tele soaps calling menstruating women impure and liable for punishment.
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The Hon. Minister for Information and Broadcasting,
Govt. of India,
Dr Rajendra Prasad Rd, Shastri Bhavan,
New Delhi, Delhi 110001
We wish to draw your kind attention to the different television serials telecast on different channels like Zee, Star Plus, Colors etc who portray women in a very bad taste.
With the rapid growth of television networks, viewership has increased manifold. This has given rise to a number of daily soaps, 'serials' as we call them. They revolve around various themes, like love, family and marriage.
They often touch upon various women's issues. From teenagers to grandmothers, the entertaining story-lines of these serials have got the audience hooked on to them. Watching them have become a part of our daily lives.
They also highlight different issues and taboos in our society and raises questions about the same.
But the question is, do these serials portray the real India and its women?
According to our daily soaps, a good docile woman is the one who always love and respect her husband, no matter what he does to her or how he treats her. But why is it always expected from the woman and not the man?
Why is the woman always expected to surrender and forget her self esteem in order to win her man's love?
Some of the serials, like Madhubala, glorify a man who insults, hurts and abuses the woman, with whom he is in ‘so called’ love and it is always his wife who tries to patch up by massaging his male ego so that they can live a happy married life.
Women's Issues: A 'Fair' Point
Women are always shown worrying about trivial issues like their mannerisms, looks and skin colour, unlike a man who is accepted by everyone the way he is. Suhani Si Ek Ladki is a story of a girl with dark complexion, struggling to gain the acceptance of her in-laws and society, and her husband's affections.
In another shocking depiction of women, the serial " Tu Suraj, main saanjh piya ki", it is openly propagated that menstruating woman is impure and should not be touched.
Here a woman is being punished for becoming impure as she touched a 'rajaswala' (menstruating woman). Her chance to become pure is when she washed her husband's feet and drinks that water. This is an appalling even to think of it.
When so many people and organisations are striving to deconstruct the taboo attached to menstruation, these regressive people wrongly influence the minds of young girls and women about it and refixing the ideas regarding impurity and shame.
They are declaring a woman impure for touching during menstruation, Dasidharm etc.
Where in our Dharm granth is this written that for shudhdhi they are asking the woman to wash her husband's feet and drink the water.
It also shows that women are like slaves of their husbands and meant only to service them. This is what is being shown in to the households to women, children?
What is far more dangerous here is that it sends out the message that being a "bad boy" and treating women badly will make men more attractive to women even in real life.
Whether it is women from big cities or rural areas, the young and the old, thanks to the omnipresence of the television, there is a huge enamored audience who watch them religiously.
What’s worrying is children and teenagers (both boys and girls) could be forming opinions on women and their role in society based on such programs.
When female characters are consistently stereotyped as ‘timid, obedient = good’ and ‘assertive, questioning = bad’, it does add to the innate sexism and patriarchal notions already embedded in the mindset of the masses.
We request you to please look into the matter and,
a) Immediately ban all such serials depicting women in bad light or demeaning them, and,
b) For the future, issue guidelines to producers as to do's and dont's of portraying women characters.
Freedom of expression is agreed but it should not cross limits whereby they demean one gender against another and corrupt minds of people.
An early action in this regard will be highly appreciated.
Alert Citizens Forum of India
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