Reflecting on the Pros and Cons of What Indian Television Teaches the Upcoming Generation

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Indian Television
Reflecting on the Pros and Cons of What Indian Television Teaches the Upcoming Generation
Indian Television
Reflecting on the Pros and Cons of What Indian Television Teaches the Upcoming Generation

Reflecting on the Pros and Cons of What Indian Television Teaches the Upcoming Generation

Regardless of how much the human mind is capable of developing new ideas, gizmos and gadgets, a larger part of the human world still relies on its ‘monkey see monkey do’ instinct. In the minders’ world, that instinct is called following a trend. Whether it is fashion, technology or social norms, trends exist in every aspect of the world. A larger part of those rapidly growing trends is what media provides us with. The human mind feeds on what the surreal world throws at us, making media the most crucial trend setting educational outlet in the world.

In a country such as India, the daily soap cult plays a greater role in the way society is formulated. Everything from the designer churidars the main lead is wearing to the way her sindoor is placed on her forehead sets a trend. In this way, society not only makes a show a part of their lives, but also makes it a life style. Although majority of the time, this result in a progressive society, but there are also times in which society is negatively influenced by media or television.

Progressive Thinking:

Naari Shakti –

Indian Television
Balika Vadhu and Pratigya

In recent years, the idea of creating a generation of bold women has changed the way India feels about women. In light of the traumatic Damini Case, child abuse issues and other sexual incidents occurring in India, daily soaps have used their vast platform to speak out against such occurrences. Mann Ki Awaz Pratigya which aired on Star Plus was a major platform for women’s reformation. The main character, Pratigya, was considered an idol symbol of women’s rights. Likewise, Balika Vadhu which currently airs on Colors is consistent in its attempt to improve the living standards of women in and around India.

Non-Nuclear Families Also Work –

Indian Television
Kuch Toh Log Kahenge and Tumhari Pakhi

For years, Indian television has focused on core Indian values and extended families but in the past 5 years, this has changed. While India still feeds on the traditional family outlook, major changes have been brought in the way non-nuclear families are presented. A few of the more current shows introduced some life-like character which can easily be you or I. Take for example Dr. Nidhi of Kuch Toh Log Kahenge; she did not wear lavish clothing, nor did she live in a pushtaini haveli (traditional palace) with her extended family, but rather a small house with her grandfather. Aside from the more realistic approach, Indian television also discontinued to show step-parents and half siblings in a completely negative light. In fact, the very recent Tumhari Pakhi shows a step mother who is eager to take care of her new found son.

Men Who Support Working Women –

Indian Television
Diya Aur Baati Hum

Gone are the times when women were confined within their four walls, well almost. Indian television has slowly begun to evolve to the point where more and more women are being shown working outside or at least fighting for getting financially independent. The prime example of such a noble thought is Sandhya of Diya Aur Baati Hum. The daring bahu of the Rathi Parivaar has not only chosen to work, but do a job no traditional woman can dream of. She unlike more small town bahus wishes to be an IPS officer, that too a high ranking one. Her husband, rather than suppressing her, believes in her and helps her reach her goals even if it means going against the will of his family. In Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai we saw a rare husband in the form of Virat Wadhera who left the stage only to save his marriage and denied to compete with his wife in a singing competition. He also claimed himself to the ‘the husband of 21st century‘ who wants his wife not to be behind him but to be one step ahead of him.

Indian Television
Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai

The Law is Reason Free From Passion –

Indian Television
Crime Patrol, Savdhaan India and Shaitan – A Criminal Mind

Sappy detective tales have either evolved or have been replaced by informative crime thrillers. Shows such as Crime Patrol, Savdhaan India and Shaitan – A Criminal Mind have played a pivotal role in reforming the overly dramatic crime scenes while presenting the audience with crucial survival information to better their lives. Not only do these series shed light on informative cases which are often unheard of or shoved aside by major news channels but also provide the audience with a sense of alertness which is much required in today’s world.

Not Everyone is Inherently Good or Purely Evil –

Indian Television
Ek Boond Ishq

The addition of boldly outlined grey shaded characters has added to the complex understanding of human nature. Grey shaded characters such as Nirmala of Ek Boond Ishq provide a much needed lesson for the coming generation. Rather than to see the world in black and white, the coming generation is now well prepared for a world where they can tackle the complexity of human nature without prejudging a person. RK of Madhubala, ASR of Iss Pyar Ko Kya Naam Doon or even Pihu of Bade Ache Lagte Hain somewhat define that humans realistically are not only white or black, but they are grey.

Indian Television
Arnav Singh Raizada, Pihu and Rishabh Kundra

Regressive Thinking:

Polygamy is a Male’s Right

Indian Television
Qubool Hai and Beintehaa

Polygamy, although widely accepted in some cultures is presented in a negative light on most shows. The recent Qubool Hai and Beintehaa, which focus on Muslim families have showcased polygamy within their story lines. Not only does it send across the message that polygamy is a man’s right but also emphasizes the fact that women of the polygamist culture are jealous and demanding women. While this may or may not be true in a select few families, it is certainly not true for most families.

Domestic Violence –

Indian Television
Dil Se Di Dua- Saubhagyavati Bhava and Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon…Ek Baar Phir

While on one hand, women are being taught to voice their opinions, the increasing display of domestic violence onscreen is nonsensical. Angry young men who rule the small screen are slowly paving their way into the hearts and minds of young men everywhere. The outrageous and bold attitude that we, as audiences unknowingly get attracted to can be fatal for future generations. Like the 1962 bobo doll experiment, the audience acts the way they see their role models act. Those guilty of spreading violence on screen would be Viraj of Dil Se Di Dua- Saubhagyavati Bhava and the newest addition, Shlok of Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon…Ek Baar Phir.

Women are the Sole Binding Glue of The Family –

Indian Television
Gustakh Dil and Rangrasiya

Granted that women play a key role in making a family what it is but the traditional outlook on the sanskari bharatiya nari has stretched a bit too far. With men being shown as the bread earners of the family, most women on screen are left to look pretty and add to the drama quotient to the family. While most women have progressed immensely, a handful of Indian television shows are hell bent on showing us the same damsel in distress. Lajjo from Gustakh Dil and Rangrasiya’s Paro are guilty of such portrayals.

I’m in College to Earn My MRS –

Indian Television
Pakhi, ChhanChhan and Jeevika

Parents want their children to receive a good education, find a stable job, find a rich man and then quit that job to be a stay at home wife. What is the logic in shows like that? Granted that even today there are women who prioritize their family and are willing give up their jobs for them but for the most part, women of the small screen keep a safe distance from distinctive 9-5 jobs. Whether it be ChhanChhan, Jeevika (Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai) or Pakhi (Tumhari Pakhi), they all have rich businessmen or lawyers to take care of them. Granted that there is nothing wrong in hoping for a comfortable life, but when will we get to see today’s working women on screen? When will we see more women who work, cook, clean, wear simple clothes, take their kids to school and still have time for juicy drama to entertain us all?

All of Life’s Struggles Come With Love Stories –

Indian Television
Pakhi, Anshuman, Dhara and Jai

It’s not only Bollywood that gives a girl unrealistic expectations of love. Television seems to create a magical world of love for us as well. Don’t get me wrong, fairy tales are great, but who says that Pakhi will never get angry and always forgive Anshuman or Dhara and Jai and will eventually fall in love? Romance is a delicate delight, but too much of it may also falter the way people perceive things. There are a whole lot of example like Pakhi on Indian television, girls who are mentally or physically abused by the so called ‘angry young and dashing’ men of their lives only with the expectation that they will forgive them later and will create some kind of irrevocable love. Not only do these stories give us in unrealistic expectations of love but also make people do some crazy things. We have people committing suicide for love, slitting their wrist and even writing letters in blood thanks to these filmy nuske.

Despite the ups and downs, likes and dislikes, one thing is certain, Indian television has evolved over the years and continues to conform itself to the utmost level of human thinking, as we too evolve as humans. What would you like for your favorite television show to reflect? What have you learned from it? What would you change about it? Tell us only on Fuze.

Author: Diana Lydia

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Former Entertainment & Political Affairs writer at Fuzion Productions.

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