Spreading social awareness via idiot box

Updated: May 29, 2012, 17:32 PM IST

Spreading social awareness via idiot box <br/><br/>Be it child marriage, adult education, female infanticide or widow re-marriage, every second show on television seems to be based on some or the other social issue. It looks like television channels have taken it upon themselves to spread social awareness in the country. That is the reason why not only fiction, but the non-fiction genre is thriving too. <br/><br/>Many Bollywood celebrities have taken up the social responsibility to the next level - Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan for Polio, Aamir Khan for Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Preity Zinta for supporting cleanliness drive and Waheeda Rehman for fighting against female infanticide.<br/><br/>Here in India, where Bollywood stars are worshipped like gods, it is impossible to ignore their influence on the masses. <br/><br/>Now, Aamir Khan is out there on TV discussing issues like infanticide, child abuse and dowry in India through his programme `Satyamave Jayate`. Despite criticism from some sections of the society, Aamir Khan`s home production show is not only commercially profitable for its makers, it has gained widespread appreciation too.<br/><br/>The impact of `Satyameva Jayate` is so wide that a sarpanch in a Rajasthan village decided to act against female infanticide. He took it upon himself to register police cases against women and families who go for tests to detect and abort the female foetus.<br/><br/>Superstar Amitabh Bachchan took up social issues in the latter part of his career and was seen in a lot of campaigns. He has been able to generate not only awareness about the causes he supports, but also managed to change the psyche of the audience to some extent. UNICEF`s Pulse Polio campaign has him mouthing four crisp words - `do boond zindagi ke`, in the most effective manner. <br/><br/>Most Indians think that Bollywood actors can effectively raise awareness about social topics, but I often ponder - Why do we need a celebrity to address issues which we routinely ignore? Why can`t we eradicate polio till Amitabh Bachchan tells us? I understand one needs to play the emotional card, because without it Indians do not seem to understand much and who else can do it better than a celebrity or a role model with an intensifying way of bringing social issues in the limelight. But is it going to solve problems? <br/><br/>In order to make the societal change, the media, the government and the judiciary needs to do their job. The real will to make the change lies in our hands. <br/><br/>However, the moral value system is missing - our education and our upbringing do not lay enough emphasis on how we can contribute to the betterment of the country. The reality is that what we see on television shows today is what we need to be told in our early years.<br/><br/>

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