Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Letting the Truth prevail...

Dear Mr. Khan,

You don't know me, but I do know you. I mean, who doesn't? But, turns out we're related. Related in a weirdass way, that only Indians would consider each other related in such way. Your wife's grandmother was my grandfather's first cousin. Or something like that. In other words, I believe I have relatives, who are also related to your wife.

But that's obviously not why I am writing this open letter.

Let me first start with congratulating you on your wonderful new show. It is a great concept, and the right topics seem to be selected. Also, the show has the right amount of gravitas, and needless to say, an anchor with the exact amount of credibility needed to bring out the seriousness of the issue. As you said in the promos, “Dil pe lagegi, tabhi baat banegi”.

Consider “baat dil pe lagi

So much so, that I am going to come out with the truth, since the truth always prevails:

I didn’t watch the show.

Not that I didn’t want to, or had no interest in watching it. I did, trust me. But I had other things to do.

Not outside, but in and around the house. Minding the kids, while the wife was out. Paying the cheques for the bills that came, this week being the first week of the month, you see. Putting the clothes out to dry.

That kind of stuff.

But anyway, I’m not going to bore you with details of why I didn’t watch the show. I don’t think you missed me.

Airtel, Reliance, Star Plus probably did, but that’s beside the point.

What I am more concerned with, is that whatever I heard of the show, somewhat disappointed me.

Not that it’s not a great show. It may be. But if you truly want me to watch your show, you need to bring out a show, where not only do you promote a cause; you come up with actionable solutions. Not SMS to 575757 (or whatever) where Airtel provides special Re. 1. charge to petition the government to do something.

Do you truly, truly believe that my SMS will ensure that other people don’t kill a girl child? Pandering to the lowest common denominator with such gimmicks suggest to me that all this somewhere is a marketing brainwave for Star Plus, Airtel, Reliance, etc.. Tugging at our heart strings, making an emotional connection, and then making a profit.

Plus I am more of an ESPN, Idea, ICICI Prudential kind of guy

But I will still send that SMS, like how I go to a temple. Not sure of whether it would help, but it will sure make someone happy. And if that someone is happy, then I am happy. I may be the holier-than-thou, cynical, so-and-so that my wife says I am, or even worse, but I am a practical holier-than-thou cynical so-and-so.

But here’s what you need to do for me:

Forget going to Ashok Gehlot asking for help. Instead, help that poor lady who came to your show and held us to emotional ransom on national television, lodge a police complaint against her mother-in-law knowingly and willing pushed her baby girl down the flight of stairs, for attempted murder. Lodge a complaint against her husband and father-in-law for aiding and abetting the murder. Surely if what she says is true, a crime was committed, and the criminals should be punished.

Similarly, help mothers register cases against their family members who are killing the girl child. A hotline, an NGO, something that will provide them the emotional support. They need our support for showing courage, that what they’re doing is right. That, going against the family, is what is needed to get rid of this cruel practice.

Encourage people to register births and deaths. Lobby the governments to make it easier to register these. You see, the mother-in-law in the above case, would very likely get off scot free, because most likely the birth of those twins was never registered in the first place. How do you prove a murder in the court of law, of someone who there is no record of being born in the first place? There is a law signed in 1969 making it mandatory to register births and deaths. And as of 2001, only 61% of all births were registered.

And if you want to meet Gehlot for something, ask him to lift the ban on the sex determination tests. Instead, lobby him make them mandatory. You see, by banning the test, we’re killing the messenger. The tests, are to date, the only way of knowing whether there is a girl or a boy in the womb. If someone is killing the girls, the tests are pretty much the only piece of solid non-refutable evidence, admissible in the court of law, which can then be used to prove culpable guilt. Keeping the prohibition will only encourage people to approach quacks and practice unsafe practices.

Let’s encourage the use the technology we have, to eradicate a menace. Use the forum of your show to encourage people to do all those things which will help the government catch wrongdoers.

Help people bring the truth out in the open.

Because as you rightly put it, the truth always prevails.

See you Sunday, at 11am to rediscover my television viewing experience.

Best regards,

(PS: I spent more time writing this letter, than I would otherwise have spent watching your show. As I said previously, “Baat dil pe lagi”)

Ten Commandments - from Bertrand Russell..

Felt like sharing. And hope to have more of this, as we go along..
1.Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2.Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

3.Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

4.When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

5.Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

6.Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

7.Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

8.Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

9.Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

10.Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

Hat tip: Brainpickings via Marginal Revolution.