Satyamev Jayate: Thoughts on a jewelry ad and Desperate Grooms.

It’s understandable that ‘Satyamev Jayate’ would probably say only as much as the audience is willing to hear and hence may not discuss exactly why Indian parents want to avoid having daughters.

I think it’s a good idea to stress more on the positives.

Maybe India needs to hear more about a girl buying her own jewelery or laptops, or property or IPL teams, and more about marriage not being about jewelery (and dowry) and perhaps we need to be more tactful when we speak against  little girls being brain washed to see Getting Married-Staying Married as their only goal in life?

Maybe we need to learn to convey that Indian parents should raise their daughters as their own children and not as future daughters in law without hurting patriarchal sentiments?

But this jewelry ad I think is anti-girl-child by any standards 😦  Do you agree?


And then, Satyamev Jayate brought to mind these recent cases – I hadn’t noticed before how these kind of cases seem to be becoming more and more common.

Desperate Grooms in Haryana and Rajasthan.

1. Skewed sex ratio in the northern state of Haryana is forcing men of the marriageable age to scout for brides from other states, including Bihar and far-off Kerala.

2. Baby Falak would have lived if it wasn’t for India’s skewed sex ratio.

“Delhi police have nabbed two women who sold 22-year-old Munni, the biological mother of baby Falak, to a “desperate groom” in Rajasthan for a price and forced the young mother to leave her three children behind.” [From here.]

Munni had been given the reassurance she would be able to persuade her ‘husband’ to allow her three children to live with them.

Dharam Ram, father of Munni’s second husband, Harpal Singh says, “Besides my son who married Munni, one of his nephews too married a woman who was brought to us by an agent. We have spent Rs 2.7 lakh on the two women,”[Link]

3. Seema Parihar from MP is a widow with two children, she was sold to Kalli Meena of Kaseda village in Karauli district for Rs 60,000 [link]

In Kaseda, villagers stopped policemen and asked them to retreat. They argued that Seema Parihar was purchased and now belonged to their caste and village. They were violent and the local police could not help,” SP said.

The villagers were so violent, our team decided to come back without the woman. However, it is now verified that the woman was kidnapped, sold and is now being held captive. It is a clear case of human trafficking. So far a case of kidnapping under section 366 was registered against the mediators but now the case will be of human trafficking. We have got in touch with the Rajasthan police and are stressing on a joint operation with them to rescue the woman.” [Madhya Pradesh widow sold to village in Rajasthan]

4. K’taka women sold to men from Rajasthan

Hubli, Feb. 5: A shortage of brides in Rajasthan and other northern states where female foeticide is reportedly rampant, is fuelling a racket in which women are allegedly sold to the highest bidder by middlemen operating from north Karnataka.

Deputy superintendent of police A B Basari admits that a systematic network of agents, which functions like a marriage bureau in the district, is giving the police cause for concern. “We have visited Rajasthan and other states several times to bring back these poor girls. While we have found several of them living happily with their husbands, we will deal with the cases where the girls are ill -treated. Some men have been forced to take their wives back after being put in jail for months,” he says.


Related Posts:

Four kinds of marriages in modern India. Which ones would you ban?

Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.

So what could make even the average, selfish, money-minded Indian family welcome baby girls?


39 thoughts on “Satyamev Jayate: Thoughts on a jewelry ad and Desperate Grooms.

  1. If my father had ever made a face like that regarding cost increase wrt me, I’d have been horrified. There’s one message to children that ‘we’ve got X amount of money to live our life in’ and another which says “as a girl these are the expenses I have to incur on your behalf”. The first is a good life lesson and the second is just a mean accusation.


  2. Regions of the World which witnessed Scientific revolution like Europe had to get transformed into more female friendly capitalism from feudalism. So fruits of Scientific revolution like pre natal gender detection was never misused there.
    When such technology became available in severely Patriarchal/feudal societies in India it began to be misused. Though our economic system is Capitalism the cultural mind set always lags behind economic changes.


    • @ Arun
      When the western world adopted the free market system, they have already attained a sense of social maturity – one where ethnics, justice and value for human life was supreme. Unfortunately, for some parts of India, the free market system came a little soon. Nowadays, economic prosperity has become a license to carry on traditionally regressive practices. The free market attitude hurts gender ratio when parents think of kids purely in terms of investments and not as what they are – children.


  3. When i saw this ad in the tv i was really pissed off,a girl is told that she too will get a rajkumar in her life when she grows big,i never heard nor i told that after growing up girls will get rajkumar.

    Parents of the girls are more worried about their girls marriages then anything else.I get suggestion to invest in the gold so that i can give the gold to my daughters on their marriage.People tell me to save for the marriages not for the education….What she will do with education at the end she has to be a housewife looking after kids and husband.


  4. I strongly feel there is nothing wrong in “hurting patriarchal sentiments”. Patriarchy is the enemy to human development and a healthy society in general.

    Why to protect parents and in-laws from a much needed realization? What Indian families need is the flush of cold water. Without warning and without apology. We can see every day that subtle hints for change don’t work.

    There is a fine line leading from a bride crapping out gold to human trafficking. Both present a woman as a commodity with a fixed value range and because of that both are equally disgusting.


  5. What also irks me is that the couple is having this ridiculous discussion in front of their daughter 🙄 an underlying message being conveyed to the daughter that her ultimate goal is getting married? Argh!


  6. That’s not the only TV ad out there which dives right into gender stereotypes, bigotry and misogyny. Another one I especially dislike is the ad for the platinum rings “our day of love” which shows an ostensibly “modern” young couple getting married off (arrange marriage of course) by their all-knowing elders, then getting separated at a train station, then the husband gives his wife a platinum ring after they re-find each other to mark “their day of love” or I assume the day they realize they love each other? There’s also a print ad version. So, the jewelry company is trying to say look, a really modern, very white skinned couple has an arranged marriage but hey, we’re modern and they also love each other so we’re going to wear western style wedding rings. There’s also that irritating ad of the young wife all dolled up in a sari who goes to her husband’s office with his tiffin, just to try to enjoy the air conditioning. Why is it that Indian women always have to wear tradition dress but men are running around in trendy modern clothing aka western clothing??
    What India needs is a socialist revolution like Russia or China!!
    Keep up the good work IHM-your blog is terrific.


    • “What India needs is a socialist revolution like Russia or China!!”

      If you think socialism stops stupid ads from being made, you should see some of the ads on TV in China.


    • I always change channels when that ad airs. It annoys me on many levels.

      First, the sugar-coating/ romanticising of a typical arranged marriage so it looks nothing like it actually is.

      The wife casts anxious glances at her husband while he glowers at the camera. Very Mills and Boonish. Silent, stong male meets bashful shrinking violet.

      Also, the sub-text that ALL arranged-married couples find true, everlasting love.

      Why are all jewellery ads, whose target audience is always female so gallingly cringe-worthy?

      The only exception are the ads for Tanishq’s Mia collection.


  7. That ad is total shows how that family starts worrying about a girl’s marriage and hence financial burden because of that from the age that she so young…this is one of the reasons why people don’t want to have girls.,because they think she is a financial liability…can’t there be a censoring of such ads! I guess the ad company only wants to sell their prodcut my tapping into the already existing mindset in our society about how a girl’s marriage and the jewellery in her marriage(which seems to be the prime focus from the time a girl is born!) are of prime importance…only mindset change and supporting structure for girls in the society can lead to a true change…


  8. Patriachy has screwed our heads I tell you!!
    All we seem to be focusing on is marriage and jewellery and white skin and girls getting their rajkumars… stupid ads…gah!
    We need these Ads to change.. we need people’s mindsets to change!
    lets hope this show helps in this change and that people’s mindsets also change.


  9. And this is how it starts! This is how young girls start making marriage a very important event that they look forward to. I dont know what the parents are thinking in the adv. I think all the fairytales, knight in shining armor tales, happily ever after tales are just so utterly biased! And because girls are given such fairy tales to read at such young and impressionable age, so many of them do not realise the flaw in their thinking when they grow up. Putting so much importance on marriage, sacrificing to the point of being ridiculous to make the marriage work, and being stupidly hopeful that somehow “things will improve”, because afterall it is a fairytale and the husband is the prince charming.


  10. Oh my goodness. What a deplorable, deplorable ad. My 5 year old daughter tells me all the time how when she will grow up, she is gonna graduate and get a job and then buy me a shirt ( imagine the wait for a shirt). As for his prince charming, she says, she will save him if he did not knew how to fight.


  11. What India needs to uproot this malaise is some law and order. There is foeticide, trafficking and abuse because there is no/little punishment. If there is severe punishment for any such act, this will stop. You don’t even have to punish them all, just make a strong example of a few offenders. The rest will be too scared to commit further crimes.
    I’m all for societal change/changing mindset. But that will take a while, and meanwhile the girls die. Call me cynical but the majority of people will ignore inequity if it works in their favor. Such people need “motivation”, ie; punishment. Punish a few and see the changes come!


  12. I completely agree with you on patriarchy being the cause of a skewed sex ratio in our country. This is obvious to people who are steeped in debate about gender roles. But introducing this idea to an uninitiated audience may cause a backlash. I often find this to be the case when I talk about such issues with friends who are not as involved as I am.
    I think what Satyamev Jayate is doing is presenting the facts and leaving people to do their own analysis. This, itself, is a huge step forward. At the very least, I think this show will increase awareness about social issues, if not provide solutions or inspire people to act.
    Btw, I am just discovering the Indian feminist blogosphere. Yours and Careless’s are my favourites!


  13. That jewelry ad was ridiculous! But having met some people who talk like this – I wouldn’t be surprised if most people watching that ad would be quite happy with it. In some ways, I guess ads do reflect what people want to hear – very unfortunate if this is what people want to hear 😦

    I agree with you, if we had more ads with independent women, doing stuff on their own terms.. etc the mindset of the society might slowly change..


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