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Satyamev Jayate: Can so much reality shake Indians out of their stupor? May 6, 2012

I missed the first episode of Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate this morning, but when I saw it trending on twitter and the sort of overwhelming response twitterati was coming up with, I had to watch! I am not a TV watcher at all, so its a big deal for me to stay up just to watch a TV show! Now, this better be good…

Just finished watching. It was good. All the right elements- well-researched, a tear jerker, Aamir’s humble attitude….Yes of course, as the twitter folks said, it is commendable that he’s putting his star power behind issues that matter, using his fame to change attitudes and influence personal decisions. I can actually imagine, in today’s Bollywood obsessed India, some guy (or woman, shocking but true and not an aspect Aamir dwelt upon!) actually refraining from female foeticide because Aamir Khan said it is a despicable thing to do.

But the most important thing Aamir said today, the one thing that struck me, is that we really need to believe that we are the change. The onus of India’s problems is on us, on each of us, and it is we who have the responsibility and the power to make the change.

What’s bringing India down is not the dysfunctional government or the corrupt babu; the real problem is us, for taking things lying down, for always passing the buck, for never taking initiative, for being passive citizens. We need to change that within ourselves, we need to reassert our right to live in a fair and just society, where everyone has equal opportunity; to live in well-governed cities and villages, breathe clean air, afford the basic necessities, live with dignity.

For any of us who have stepped outside India and visited developed nations, it’s not the glitz that dazzles us any more. We have plenty of our own in India now. It’s the fact that every citizen, however poor, can rightfully expect to live a dignified life. When we return, we are shocked to register that back at home, we have learnt to live without the basics. It makes my blood boil to live in an address where property prices per square foot are through the roof, but the road outside has no street lights. But we say nothing! People would rather lose their dignity and leave town than report a rape to the police for fear the victim, their daughter or wife or daughter in law, would never be able to live a life of dignity again! And we say nothing?  This list can go on. We need to find a way to make ourselves heard and change will come!

That would be Aamir’s true contribution. If Satyamev Jayate can be a conduit to capture the voices of India’s people, not just as statistics, but as footage, as letters, as outpourings of thousands of people who want to see the change, be the change, it would have done its job! Hopefully, the ‘last mile connectivity’ that the program offers in the form of support to NGOs that work for the causes he takes up, will also make its impact. Bravo Aamir, for subtly showing Indians that we’re sleeping while the nation falls apart, and then showing us how we can save it! Done like a true showman by changing the rules of showbiz once again!

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