Indian soap operas,normally called the saas-bahu sagas, are perhaps one of the most damaging in the world. They are not only regressive but depict a ridiculous version of Indian Culture which harms more than entertains.Television has the capability to influence even those in the remote corners of the country. But instead of doing something progressive, these serials show a regressive India. Let’s have a look at some of the side-effects of these sagas on the culture we call our own.
Saas-Bahu sagas show a daughter-in-law happily suffering at the hands of her devilish mother-in-law. In doing so, they effect the minds of women around the country. The mothers-in-law begin to feel that it’s their birth right to encroach upon the daughters-in-law’s lives unhindered. While the latter feel suffering without retort is the only way to lead their lives.
An educated woman is shown to don sarees covering her head from the moment she marries. While saree is culturally appropriate in an Indian context; what is bothersome is the fact that a bahu is shown to be happily covering her head all the time. Indian culture is rich no doubt but some practices are archaic. It is sickening that a medium such as television fails to help society break the shackle sand and instead propagates a regressive culture.
While the Indian mother-in-law is a tough nut to crack but there are exceptions too. There are good mother-in-laws around even though they are few and far in between. But these saas-bahu sagas would only paint the sorry picture for television viewers. While it’s not completely untrue but then it is not constructive to always paint them in this light as that would make every girl wary of this future figure in their lives.
Indian television serials are very backward with story lines are in deep contrast to the society in the present context. Whether it is the manner in which the daughter-in-law is shown to be submissive or the priorities that define her life, everything is a total antithesis to progress and packaged as our culture. This influences women especially in rural areas and in a way prevents them from moving forward in the guise of the Indian ethos depicted.
More often than not the daughters-in-law in saas-bahu sagas are show to let go of their careers. Perhaps a century back this was Indian culture but it has got nothing to do with culture in the present milieu. When television programs promote women giving up their jobs on marriage at the behest of in-laws, it paints a peculiar picture in the mindset of millions of women in rural areas hindering progress on the pretext of culture.
There have been saas-bahu soaps where the bahus have been shown to be tortured for the color of their skin. Depiction of problems in getting a girl married due to her skin-color as she is not readily accepted by her prospective in-laws is a common story line. It sows the seed of doubts in the minds of thousands of girls out there and not to mention the in-laws too. For some reason television producers find it advisable to weave a sort of legitimacy around this. If Indian culture is this then it’s pathetic and needs to change. However these serials ensure our culture inevitably traverses the degrading path!
Our society is plagued by dowry and the problems related to extravagant marriages. This need to show off in our greedy society has led many towards doom. But a medium like television can go a long way in influencing people across the country. But they choose instead to depict marriages where it is acceptable to splurge extraordinary amounts of money for the sake of the family name! This is truly one of the worst effects these serials have in the society as it in a way validates the practice.
This is perhaps the worst side-effect of the Indian soap operas. The perfect Indian women as depicted in these serials are one who put up with all kinds of nonsense without making a sound. The Indian Television’s interpretation of a cultured Indian woman is one who puts up with an unhappy marriage and a torturing mother-in-law. Fighting back is presented asun-Indian which in actuality is culturally degenerating.
With rising cases of rapes for which westernization is often blamed, television certainly holds responsibility for shaping mindsets. These saas-bahu sagas depict women in western clothes or with self-respect as vamps or immoral. Now this is very dangerous as these serials are also watched by men around the country and could lead them to conclude that raping or hurting such women is in fact right.