The last episode of Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate highlighted the basic tenets of the constitution which promised equality for all. It showed us the efforts of certain individuals who fought for that belief, refusing to give up in the face of adversity. There was Dr Sunitha Krishnan, a social worker who looks to rehabilitate prostitutes and rape victims, through her anti-trafficking organisation Prajwala. She explained how cruelly society treats these women and children, often victimising the victims while the perpetrators are allowed to live with their heads held high. A rape victim herself, Sunitha never gave in and continues to fight for the downtrodden bemoaning that fighting societal values is a bigger challenge than fighting the girl trafficking mafia.
Then we met Miss Naseema Hurzuk, a wheel-chair bound lady who runs Helpers of the Handicapped, an organisation that looks to help the disabled. Since it was set up in 1984, the organisation has provided rehabilitation to over 17 thousand people with disabilities.
We also met the Subasini Mistry, a lady who had lost her husband because they couldn’t afford the healthcare bills. This incident made her took a vow to provide for the needy. Her son, who grew up in an orphanage went on to became a doctor and with his mother set up the Humanity Hospital. Starting from a small hut, the hospital now caters to thousands of patients every day. The hospital stays true to its original ethos, ‘For the poor, by the poor’.
That Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate is more than a TV show is unquestionable. A unique tour de force, the show covered various issues that were controversial to say the least and ruffled quite a few feathers. And it wasn’t just a medium that asked questions. It actually forced people to look within themselves discussing topics like female foeticide, medical malpractice, disabilities, and child sex abuse. Here we look back at some of the episodes and the impact he had on society at large – civil and political.
The very first episode dealt with the issue of female foeticide, highlighting the ugly face of a society which was willing to go to any lengths to have a boy. This included illegal practices like prenatal sex determination, illegal abortions and even abandoning new-born female infants.
Impact: The episode had quite an impact on the various state and central government leading to a clampdown on illegal sex determination practices and fast-tracking of female foeticide cases.
Child Sex Abuse
The episode on child sex abuse highlighted the cases of various child sex abuse victims and how these incidents were often shoved under the rug. The show showed how child abuse victims were victimised.
Impact: The child sex abuse bill was passed in both houses. A gender neutral bill, it seeks harsher punishment against offenders and anyone under 18 is to be treated as a child.
This episode dealt with the medical malpractice and raised quite a hue and cry, particularly from the medical community, who felt they were being unfairly targeted and misrepresented, and demanded an apology. Aamir refused to do so, stating that his aim wasn’t to misrepresent doctors but to highlight the healthcare woes in the country. It also highlighted how the government had failed to provide healthcare to its citizens.
Impact: Though the medical community was suitably miffed, the show did highlight the existence of generic drugs and the increased patient awareness about their rights. The government too launched a plan to provide free drugs for all and reduce out-of-pocket expenditure on drugs and healthcare. Aamir and the Satyamev Jayate team were also invited by the parliamentary standing committee to discuss the issue.
Enabling our disabled
Satyamev Jayate’s sixth episode highlighted the trials and tribulations of people who are disabled. It highlighted the various problems people with disabilities face and how easily it can be overcome only if society were a little more considerate and aware of their needs. The show went on to highlight the indomitable human spirit and how anything can be achieved with determination.
Impact: It opened people’s eyes to the trouble faced by the disabled – physical or mental – and went on to show various ways we could vanquish their hurdles.
Pesticides and fertilisers
This episode dealt with the harmful and long-term effects that pesticides and fertilisers have on people, flora, fauna and the environment in general. They became part of our staple during the Green Revolution with genetically modified crops. It also explored organic farming and how it was a feasible alternative for a healthier life style.
Impact: It highlighted the various organic farming initiatives across the country and also the harmful practise of over-using fertilisers.
The episode on alcohol abuse highlighted the effect of alcoholism and binge drinking on individuals and society in general. It was also explained how alcoholism was more of a disease and there was a need to support and rehabilitate alcoholics. We also bore witness to the struggle that ex-alcoholics went through to beat the booze and the dangers of drunk driving.
Impact: It raised awareness about alcoholism, drunk driving and even the issues of occasional binge drinking.
Dealing with the water situation on the country, this episode dealt with various issues like water scarcity and the health hazards of consuming toxic water. The show highlighted how water was indeed a non-renewable resource and we wouldn’t survive without it.
Impact: The show highlighted various individuals who had taken matters into their own hands with alternative solutions like rainwater harvesting and building reservoirs to renew our most important resource.
13 episodes later, Satyamev Jayate has changed the face of television and reiterated the belief that we can make a difference. Wrapping up the season by reciting an Urdu version of Tagore’s ‘Where the mind is without fear’, Aamir urged the people of this country to fight on, to believe, to know that we can make a difference. We from India.com Health are seeped in this belief that each of us can make a difference. So we ask our readers – What did you think of the series? What other topics would you like the show to cover in upcoming episodes? Do you think the show has made a difference?
And oh yes – Satyamev Jayate. Jai Hind