The gushing wind graced my glowing face tinted in the twilight of a dusty Saturday as I stood sipping a cup of ‘chai’; and all that my tiring eyes could scan was a sea of cars and motorcycles rummaging through the traffic of a busy weekend. The honks, the roaring engines, screams and curses had almost deafened my ears when suddenly some words just trickled through from the nearby radio in the tea shop. It wasn’t one of those numerous raunchy Bollywood songs that caught my ear but a commercial. It had nothing to do with discounts or freebies offered by the plethora of companies out there but a humble request by a lady in a very unassuming tone to save the girl child. There it was, an effort by the Indian government to save the girl babies from being killed right in the foetus stage even before the life has bloomed.
So is the condition that pathetic that one is required to beg and plead on the national radio and channels to save someone’s life from being butchered. I found it rather intriguing that in a democratic nation like ours, one has to appeal to the society to be allowed to live; which per se is begging for a fundamental right. Year after year, statistics come out and one thing that has consistently decreased is; well not poverty or not even population but the sex ratio. 908 to 1000 is the glorious number that today’s rapidly developing India is staring at!
The lady in the commercial calls upon the society asking them to let girls be born and given equal opportunities so that they will grow up to become the next Saina Nehwal or Lata Mangeshkar. Now there is nothing wrong with the two ladies out there as they are the epitome of courage and hard work who have forayed into the worlds dominated by men. But what amuses one is the approach taken by the infomercial; to lure people into accepting the idea for some beneficial results. I suppose one has never heard of things like let the boy be born because he needs to be the next Bruce Lee or Barack Obama. Should I be a person with extraordinary abilities and innate talent to be let into this world, born and raised freely?
Now it’s not completely right to blame the makers of the ad, they just have naively structured it in such a way so as to make it appealing but the subtlety lies in the very root of the idea. One more instance of what may seem trivial had been in the TV commercial for the recruitment in Indian navy. People come in and beam with pride about their son, brother or husband being in the navy and serving the motherland and not one is sincerely proud of the 3.9% of women serving their nation. Or is it a rude hint that women need not apply? People speak out and sometimes even shout in support of female empowerment but why do they forget even tiny whispers of such obvious things? A realty ad gloats that its condominiums are excellently located so that the man is home early and spends quality time with the family making him a super daddy, loving husband and a caring son. But what about the 29% of women who equally sweat out only to be denied of any credit and praises. One may say that it’s a minor representative everywhere and hence risks of being left out are high but then isn’t that a very ironical explanation?
Now it may seem that I am reading into it too much but it’s also very true that only the wearer knows where exactly the shoe pinches. Mass media has been one of the powerful tools for any radical change throughout the world but such loopholes in the very same media doesn’t augur well for the efforts of empowerment. It doesn’t mean that fixing these trivial notions will set anything right; in fact, it won’t change much but well at least it shows that how much one really cares or incorporates the better half of the society in some very seemingly regular situations. Our aim shouldn’t be to make ‘her’ existence feel special but to be normal.