With shows like 'Satyamev Jayate', 'Kaun Banega Crorepati', Balika Vadhu' on board, it seemed in 2012 Indian TV has gone back to its roots of the 80's and 90's where shows like 'Hum Log' and 'Krishi Darshan' majorly talked about various aspects of human life
Small screen this year was dominated by the common man with shows like Aamir Khan's 'Satyamev Jayate' and Amitabh Bachchan's 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' (KBC) aiming at connecting with the masses by highlighting their problems, reports PTI.
'Satyamev Jayate' was a major turning point as the show brought to the fore various issues like female foeticide, child sex abuse, untouchability and the trappings of a big fat wedding plaguing India.
The compassionate host brought in real life instances and people across the country to share their sufferings on the public platform. His 14 episode series created a mass awareness and sensitised people. After a positive response, Aamir is now gearing up for a second season to the show.
Bachchan's 'KBC 6' also followed the same path as it gave a chance to the people from troubled backgrounds to come out and win money through the game.
Sonali Mukherjee, a victim of acid attack, had come on the show with actress Lara Dutta. She narrated the horrific incident that happened to her in 2003. At the end, the girl left with a hefty sum of Rs25 lakh from the show.
The sixth season of superstar Salman Khan-hosted 'Bigg Boss' saw a commoner - Hyderabad based martial artist Kashif Qureshi - in the house alongside 12 celebrity contestants.
With these shows on board, it seemed Indian TV has gone back to its roots of the 80's and 90's where shows like 'Hum Log' and 'Krishi Darshan' majorly talked about various aspects of human life.
Even long-running daily soap 'Balika Vadhu' is another show which showcased social stigmas of the society.
The show has always highlighted the issue of child marriage but their recent episodes also talked about widow remarriage. The show saw protagonist Anandi (played by Pratyusha Banerjee) getting married in a mass wedding ceremony which also included many other widows of the village tying the knot on the same day.
The small screen proved to be an important platform for luring people into the movie halls as well, with many A-listers using TV shows to for their movie promotions.
Salman took full advantage of his show by promoting his and brother Arbaaz Khan's "Dabangg 2". Right from launching the movie's first look to disclosing Kareena Kapoor's item number, the actor revealed every information about his last release on the show.
The show also witnesses his actor friend Ajay Devgn and Sonakshi Sinha's "Son of Sardar" promotions and also Anil Kapoor starrer "Race 2".
Filmmaker Karan Johar, dancing diva Madhuri Dixit, singers Asha Bhosle, Runa Laila, Abeeda Parveen; actresses Shilpa Shetty, Mahima Chaudhary, Ayesha Takia, Neha Dhupia, Kirron Kher and Malaika Arora Khan also returned to the small screen for judging dance and song based reality shows.
While reality shows were entertaining with their celebrity quotient, soaps like 'Bade Ache Lagte Hain', 'Kya Hua Tera Vaada', 'Parichay' and 'Uttaran' took help of their age old formula of taking a leap to make the story interesting. The jump in time saw new characters joining in and old ones getting a makeover to sustain the curiosity of the audience.
Also what made a comeback on small screen was the famous epic drama 'Ramayan', recreated by the late Ramanand Sagar's granddaughter Meenakshi.
Other mythological shows that made entry into TV were 'Devon Ke Dev Mahadev', based on Lord Shiva and 'Jai Jag Janani Maa Durga' which chronicles the legend of the powerful Goddess Durga.
Equity turnover during 2012 at NSE and BSE fell by 1.6% compared with 14.7% fall across global markets and 8% for bourses in Asia Pacific region
Amid turbulent times for the stock markets across the world, the equity turnover fell on Indian bourses as well in 2012, but the fall was meagre at 1.57% when compared to the global average, reports PTI.
Globally, the equity turnover fell sharply by 14.7%, while the fall was nearly 8% for the bourses in Asia Pacific region as well.
On the other hand, the collective equity trade volume of two Indian bourses, NSE and BSE, fell by 1.57% to 161.74 crore during January-November period of 2012, as per data from the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).
The total number of equity trades on the exchanges across the world was 907 crore for the same period. Indian markets are expected to further improve their tally in 2013, as a new bourse MCX-SX is expected to begin operations as a full-fledged stock exchange.
The Asia pacific region registered a decline of nearly 8% to 533.4 crore trades in January-November period of 2012. The global data for December is still awaited as one last trading session would take place tomorrow.
Experts said economic uncertainty across the globe, political deadlock in Europe, fiscal cliff debate in the US, policy logjam in India and lack of trading opportunities were main reasons for fall in equity trading in India and rest of the world.
Individually, National Stock Exchange (NSE) recorded 129 crore equity trades, showing a marginal improvement of one% compared to 2011, and grabbing the mantle as the top bourse among 51 global peers. NSE was the third largest bourse in the world in 2011.
BSE, ranked seventh globally in equity trades, recorded 32.71 crore trades in the period from January to November.
"Indian markets turned out to be better performing markets as compared to other emerging markets and government reforms are also bringing faith back in Indian equities markets resulting in higher interest among the traders and investors," Religare Securities EVP and Head Retail Research Rajesh Jain said.
Experts believe that NSE and BSE stood their ground among the top global bourses largely owing to heavy investment flows from foreign institutional investors (FIIs).
"Our entire policy is pro-FII, whatever volumes we have is basically because the global players are investing...the participation of retail investors and domestic investors is negligible," CNI Research CMD Kishore Ostwal said.
On the flip side, the experts say there was lack of confidence within the domestic and the retail investors, as Indian investors had lost confidence in 2011 and were seen looking for opportunities to exit during 2012.
"2012 saw the equity markets reviving but the retail investors used the rally in 2012 to exit. Equity funds witnessed outflows of Rs12,702 crore till November this year, the second highest outflows in the category witnessed in the last six years," Jain said.
Ostwal also said "the main reason for slow equity trades volume is that even though we have had market touching a new high, the retail investors have not come out and participation by domestic investors is negligible."
"Market is all about the confidence of the market participants but if everything goes in opposite direction, say ballooning inflation, shrinking industrial output data, it is sure to dump the confidence," SMC Global Securities Head (Research) Jagannadham Thunuguntla said.
"Moreover, in 2012 the market has moved in a band, there were very low% of volatility, say of 3-4% on a monthly basis, which has stolen all the arbitrage opportunities," he added.
Experts said retail investors opted to get out of mutual funds as and when they got an opportunity resulting into lower participation and decreased number of trades.
On an optimistic note though, the market players said the outlook for the coming year is positive largely owing to expectations of larger inflow from FIIs and India still being a favourable destination for investments.
"The coming year appears to be more promising as far as the Indian markets are concerned as fundamentals are expected to improve and we may see an increase in interest in Indian markets from the FIIs as the concerns over the fiscal cliff and growing concerns in Europe may weigh heavily on their minds making India a safer investment option," Jain said.
Moreover, the equity trading could also pick up if more measures are taken to boost the markets, including a possible abolition of security transaction tax (STT).
"STT alone is a big cost along with other costs like Service Tax, Transaction charges of NSE, Brokerage etc. A trader has to recover all these charges before he can actually make profit from his trade," Jain said.
"The combined charges being too high, the trader finds it difficult to make profit from trading. The cost of trading should be reduced for more trading activity," he added.
Thunuguntla also said that removal of STT would be a major attraction for further FII inflows.
The big-bang reforms introduced by Indian government such as FDI in various sectors and a cautiously improving global economy coupled with overflowing central bank cash, are expected to revive the stock markets in India and the rest of the world as well.
"At this juncture, with the improved market sentiments ahead of the year I expect old participants also would return back to their work and new participants would participate aggressively," Thunuguntla said.
Each one of us is responsible and we have a role to play. Most of us have remained a silent spectator thinking it is someone else’s fight, in the process the country has come to such a sorry pass that our own mothers, daughters and sisters are scared of not just going outside the house but also within the confines of the home. So let us wake up in our own interest
After battling for almost two weeks the brave-heart Delhi student, victim of gang-rape, lost the battle for life. While she has passed away, the question raised by her suffering is staring at all of us in the face. The question that needs to be answered is where do we go from here? Will it be back to normal after some more platitudes and false promises by the politicians and some more candles at Jantar Mantar or will we see some concrete and substantial change? Left to itself the government may not really do much and may announce some half-baked measures, therefore it is necessary for the citizens to be alert and ensure that the government does what is required to be done.
However, at the same time it should not be forgotten that crimes against women is not merely a government issue, there is an equally big role to be played by the other sections of society. To really address the issue at hand there is a need for a multi-pronged, multi-locational and multi-sectional approach. In other words, there is neither room for patch-work nor any effort to merely trying to make police sensitive and speeding up the judicial system suffices. While all this is required, much more needs to be done to really to make some noticeable impact on the society.
The real problem
The question that needs to be raised is what is the problem before us? It is the mindset of the men in our country. Women of today want to be treated as equal in every manner but our male ego is not permitting her to get her due and how do we achieve this is the issue. The problem is not what women wear or do, but the patriarchal mind that won’t allow the women to become free.
In my view a comprehensive plan to address not just the issue of safety of women but the attitude towards women should envisage involving the following sections of the society:
All pending cases involving crimes against women throughout the country to be taken on priority basis and fast-track courts be established to hear the cases on a day-to-day basis. Special investigation teams be assigned to ensure that proper and timely investigation is done and the offenders are brought to book at the earliest.
We need to remember that speed and assured justice is the biggest deterrent where the potential offender knows that he will be certainly caught and be in jail for a long time. It is the certainty of punishment and not death sentence that can be a real deterrent.
Politicians be asked to keep their opinions to themselves and not vitiate the atmosphere with their bigoted views. Special counselling centres to help the brave-hearts to get back to normal life as soon as possible.
Long term measures
Family: The first lesson a child learns is at home where boys and girls are made conscious of their role. It is here that the first steps are taken that would eventually shape the personality of the boy who is virtually given total freedom, while the girl child is made aware at every stage that she is not as important as the male child. In many families there is a clear preponderance to pamper the boys and neglect the girl child. The attitude towards females is inculcated by these baby steps at home itself which later on manifest as a social problem appearing in different forms.
Hence, it is time for all of us to look within before we rush to curse the police and the government. While nobody denies the fact that these agencies have miserably failed in their duty towards the citizens, we also need to realise what kind of thinking we are imparting to our kids at home. Society cannot change by itself; it is the family that has to change; family members have to develop a healthy respect for the girl child so that the boys in the family also learn to respect their sisters. If elders in the family expect total sub-servience by the lady members of the family and give them scant respect, then it is foolish to expect the boys to respect women when they grow up. After all their personality is the manifestation of their development over the years. Therefore, family is the place where the respect for the women should start with husbands showing respect for their wives and fathers taking care of their daughters.
Society: We are all products of the environment in which we are born and grow up and as a result society plays a great role in shaping our attitude towards women. Here one cannot understate the role which schools and colleges can play in shaping the understanding of young boys and girls so as to develop healthy respect for each other. Unfortunately, more often than not even these institutions are not free from prejudices to which so many families are victims, that of tilting in favour of boys at the cost of girls. Gender differences are further reinforced by the teachers themselves who might have been brought with the thinking that boys are superior to girls.
Hence, educational institutions have a great role to play in shaping the correct attitude that the students need to develop which will enable them to play a positive role in society. Teachers need to take a lead in this regard and initiate necessary action to engage with the students and lead them in the right direction.
Role of films/showbiz: Any discussion about the role or influence of films on the society is immediately countered by the film fraternity that films merely reflect the reality as they just hold a mirror to the society. While this may be true at one level, it is simplistic to say films merely reflect reality. What happens is that with a view to making the films a marketable commodity several film makers keep on finding new ways and means of using women in their films that would titillate the audiences and rake in the moolah. Inclusion of item songs is just one manifestation of this attitude, while the other is the use of demeaning language in several films where women are shown in poor light.
It is nobody’s case that movies should be subject to greater censorship, but it is time that filmmakers are made to realise that film is a potent medium and it has great influence on the minds of people so they do have a responsibility towards the society. Portrayal of women in skimpy clothes is least of the problems; the real issue is about the regressive attitude of many film makers towards a woman that gets manifested on the screen.
Police: In every society people either have respect for the law or the fear of law or both, but in India there is neither fear nor respect for the law. Why is it that only honest people are afraid of the police while the criminals care two hoots for the police? Police in the country needs to ask itself why things have come to such a sorry pass. Widespread corruption and nexus with the criminals has considerably eroded the authority of the police and this coupled with political interference has virtually killed the professionalism in police as they are perceived to be busy doing the bidding of politicians and other powerful people.
Hence, if the government is really serious then it has to implement the police reforms that have been gathering dust for the last several years, but my hunch is that the government will do nothing of the sort. After all no government wants to lose control over the police as it can come handy in meeting certain political objectives of the ruling party of the day.
Moreover, political protection of criminals also extends to police protection; in such an environment it seems that all the tall talk by the ruling party is nothing but an attempt to assuage the immediate feelings and then quietly go back to the normal routine. Talking of sensitizing the police would hardly make a difference when the mindset of the police and their political masters continues to be grounded in the 19th century.
There can be no real change in law enforcement unless the police is given a totally free hand and made fully accountable for its actions; let the police be treated as professionals, otherwise the more things will change the more they will remain same and many more young girls will continue to suffer or even lose their lives at the hands of anti-social elements.
Politicians: Today the biggest hurdle to effecting change in India is the very class of people who have undertaken the responsibility to steer the nation, yes the political masters of the country. Their mindset has been routed in the past as has been made evident from time-to-time by the kind of observations made by them about women. If politicians had in their power, they would like to banish women to the household only and stop them from coming out and lo behold the problem of harassment of women in public places will be solved. This is the most difficult aspect of the problem; who will educate our politicians and make them aware of the realities? It is time they come down from their ivory towers and experience the reality on the ground. Shockingly even the young MPs are quietly sitting in their cocoons.
Judiciary: Last but not the least, role of the judiciary in meting out justice to victims of sexual crimes. Can the judges continue to live in their high-walled chambers, oblivious of the stark reality outside? Is not the duty of the magistrate or judge before whom the case involving a crime against a woman is placed to ensure that priority is given to such a case and it is disposed of at the earliest? Does the judiciary realise that the old adage, “Justice delayed is justice denied” still holds good. At the same time, the government needs to not only create new courts but also fill the vacancies and appoint the required judges from time to time so that justice can be dispensed in a reasonable time. It has been repeated ad nauseum that the procedures need to be simplified so that the matters can be expedited.
In conclusion, one can only hope that the death of this brave-heart will not go in vain and even though the task that lies ahead of us is of gigantic proportions, hopefully this time around the government and the authorities will sincerely work towards making the system work and instil the fear of law in all those men who think they can get away by playing with the modesty of women.
The question we need to answer is, will India wake up? Will we get up from our Kumbhakarna mould and face the challenge squarely?
Remember, each one of us is responsible and we have a role to play; most of us have remained a silent spectator all these years thinking it is someone else’s fight, in the process the country has come to such a sorry pass on the social front that our own mothers, daughters and sisters are scared of not just going outside the house but also within the confines of the home. So let us wake up in our own interest.
(Dr SD Israni, advocate & partner, SD Israni Law Chambers, is one of India’s leading authority on corporate, commercial and securities laws. He was a member of the Naresh Chandra Committee for simplification of Company Law relating to private and small companies. He has been on SEBI's committee on disclosures (called the Malegam Committee) and the one on buy-back of shares. Dr Israni has been a member of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Indian Merchants' Chamber and Indian Council of Arbitration. Dr Israni is an active member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India and was on its Central Council for four terms and headed the Capital Markets Committee of the ICSI.)