For a long time the media for expressing interpretations of the world and society were limited and they only became more widespread with the invention of the printing press. However, the floodgates for brainwashing were opened only with the invention of television in 1929. There has been no looking back since as all kinds of illusory information and interpretations to suit the ruling classes have been poured into the heads of people through the idiot box, viewing which unlike in the case of reading does not require much thinking to be done. It is in this context that the TV show being hosted by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan on the social and economic problems that beset India has to be judged because it is titled "Satyameva Jayate" - Only Truth Prevails.
Many people have said that Aamir Khan has done a service to the nation by focusing the glare of public scrutiny on such unjust situations as female foeticide, violence against women, the skullduggery of private doctors, pesticide infestation of food, neglect of the elderly, untouchability and the like. While other reality shows have a solely entertainment angle this show of Aamir's has a socially relevant thrust they argue. Even though all these subjects have been discussed before ad nauseum in print and on TV, for the first time they are getting a mass audience which later continues to be mobilised through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook say the Aamir Khan aficionados. Social activists who have been fighting for justice on these issues for years without having made much headway will be benefited by this glare of publicity and the mobilisation on social networks that the show is facilitating it is claimed. But how far is this true or is it just another power game a la Nietzsche?
Lets get the financial angle clear first because that will make things easier to understand. Aamir Khan gets Rs 3 crores for hosting each episode and his production firm Aamir Khan Productions gets Rs 1 crore for producing each episode. Star TV and all the other networks on which the show is aired earn quite a few crores of rupees more from sponsorship and advertisements. Thus, in the name of doing social service, Aamir Khan and all these networks are earning a packet. Reliance Industries Ltd by being one of the sponsors of the show through its Reliance Foundation is getting to project itself as a great do-gooder to mask the reality of the various environmental, economic and social rules that it is continually breaking.
The content of the shows is decidedly mild. The structural factors responsible for female foeticide, gender based violence, pesticide poisoning of food, fleecing of patients by doctors, untouchability and the like are not discussed at all. In fact many social activists who have participated in these programmes claim that either they have been left out altogether or their bytes have been drastically edited and in some cases their appearance in the shows has been so cleverly edited that they are being shown to support statements made by others that they did not during their actual interviews. As long as the world is controlled by big corporations bent on earning profits there is no hope for any lasting change for the better. None of these corporations and there profit making is mentioned. The show itself while jerking out tears from the public is concentrating crores of rupees in the hands of Aamir and company. After all there is not much else going to be done by the viewers apart from shedding tears. Because doing something on the ground to fight against these injustices involves fighting the powerful vested interests that have given rise to them.
The publicity for the show has been cleverly planned. The title has been chosen to echo the motto of the Indian state which in turn has been taken from the Mundaka Upanishad which like all Vedantic philosophy speaks of the victory of the ultimate spiritual truth. The actual Indian state of course is far from this spiritual truth and engaged right from the time of independence in power play of the worst kind to defraud the masses and deny them justice. So Aamir Khan also continues this fiction by naming his show Satyameva Jayate and slotting it on Sunday morning where other mass hypnotising serials like Ramayana and Mahabharata had earlier been slotted. The print and social networking media have been used to publicise the show further and the impression has been conveyed that a new social movement for justice and change is under way. As one friend of mine, echoing Nietzche, commented, Satyameva Jayate should actually be translated as "Only that which prevails is the truth". Aamir and the Corporates have prevailed and made a packet at the expense of the masses who will go on suffering all the ills that this show is focusing on and that is the truth!