Aamir Khan's Khap Panchayat

What happened? A man is killed after appearing on 'Satyamev Jayate


Is there a limit as to how far reality shows can and should expose the participants? When people are willing to have cameras placed in hospital rooms to capture their battle for survival, or even impending death, how valid is the query?

I have consistently questioned the ethics of Aamir Khan's show 'Satyamev Jayate'. The host had begun to believe he was a messiah, riding on lachrymose glands. One thought, disgusting as it was, this is where it would end: Sunday mornings of chicken soup for the soul, followed by the main course of 'this is life' shrugging.

Unfortunately, the attitude remains one of arrogant consciousness.

Abdul Hakim eloped with Mehawish in 2010 against family opposition. The difference in status was the reason cited. The khap panchayat issued a death edict. Adoli village in Bulandshahar district of Uttar Pradesh became more than a dot on the map of India.

On Thursday, Hakim was on his way to get medicines for his pregnant wife; five men pumped bullets into him. Was this a family dispute or honour killing?

Had they not appeared on the TV show would they be saved? Other people are indeed killed even when they don't appear on television. Yet, when a case is highlighted and ordinary people are transformed into media-propped bravehearts, then the irresponsibility of the medium ought to be questioned.

Aamir Khan, upon hearing the news, said: "It was completely their choice. In fact, when I met the couple before our show, they expressed the fear of being killed. They were already getting threatening calls."

Why, then, did he not dissuade them, since the purpose of the show was to help society? Or, wasn't it? 'Satyamev Jayate' was catering to voyeurism, not conscience. It had a clear agenda to mimic soaps, but make it sound realistic. Is that why their faces were not blurred nor their names changed?

One notices this sort of 'authenticity' increasingly creeping into the electronic media. Real people are like us or those around us. It is about being a bystander at an accident site, or even a neighbour of someone who commits suicide. We become part of contemporary events, some of which are deliberately exaggerated.

The manner in which such shows sit in judgement is a form of khap panchayat. They too issue diktats and use the vulnerability of those who suffer. Abdul Hakim was a casual labourer. How did he benefit? Was he desperate to appear on TV.

One would think there'd be some introspection. Instead, Aamir Khan said: "Disturbing and unfortunate incident. Will speak to the government authorities in UP to help and ensure the family is safe. The culprits must be brought to the book. The case is registered on the basis of right facts."

How does he know? If he has the clout to talk to the government, then why not talk about the role of such TV shows?

The case is registered, we know. Now, it is time for 'talaash'.


  1. Wish someone would take him down a couple of notch's. Indians are way too willing to deify people/animals/places/things :/

  2. Meriam,

    Just as Muslims are way too willing to demonise non-Muslims!

    Sorry. I thought I heard FV say "Boxers, BOX!"

    One stereotype is as offensive or as benign as the next! Right?

  3. Yes, Pagans-R-Us and no he can't take it down a notch now, even his microphone has become sacred!

    some deify, some die

    but show must go on ...

  4. "Just as Muslims are way too willing to demonise non-Muslims!"

    Oh I don't know about that...everyone here has been suffering your presence on this blog pretty patiently :) But thanks for not refuting the comment I made :>

  5. "some deify, some die

    but show must go on ..."

    and go on live :/

  6. Meriam,

    QUOTE: "..everyone here has been suffering your presence on this blog pretty patiently.."

    This indian hasn't exactly deified either you, or FV or anybody else so far! What happens to your incredibly broad stereotype then?

    My point was about stereotypes: We tend to accept some of them readily while going into a blue funk at others. Hope it registered.

    Thanks for suffering me so regularly! May Allah grant you Jannat for your Jihad-like perseverance! :)

  7. Hitesh:

    It's the arrogance of it and the manner in which mainstream media plays it out.

    If the microphone is sacred, then every word uttered is a prayer. Does the congregation comprehend?



    Yes, Indians do deify a lot. I've seen pretty much everywhere in different contexts - with stars, politicians and even activists and bravehearts. In Pakistan too it is quite common, as you will agree, to deify any voice of protest as much as who/what is being protested against.

  8. F&F:

    I'd love to be deified. It would be a nod to my idolatory ancestry.

    As far as you getting into a fit over Meriam's comment is concerned, would you care to read it again? She said 'Indians'. It includes goddess-like Muslims, such as humble writers/bloggers. Add Sikh, Christian, Parsi to our tolerant mix.

    But, you had to react and mention Muslim attitude towards non-Muslims. Demonise? Aw, come on...we have demon gods too. I said 'we':-)

    PS: About your presence here, I doubt she was serious. As for me...well, I'd say you make me look good!

  9. Farzana: "In Pakistan too it is quite common, as you will agree, to deify any voice of protest as much as who/what is being protested against."

    Yes...but that sort of deification is practiced by the minority literati as opposed to it being all pervasive the way it is in India.

    Thanks for understanding the distinction I made between Indian and Hindu :) Knew a refined mind such as yours would...a one track mind on the other hand...:)

  10. FV,

    I am reminded of the song "The only thing that looks good on you.... is me!" (I think it was something like that!!)


    QUOTE: "...I doubt she was serious"

    See that smiley in my comment again! Who said Hindutva is humourless?



    To get ahead, one has to run on a single track. With single-minded determination. Smiley again!

  11. The murder of Abdul Hakim is a very sad thing. An innocent hard working man has been killed for reasons that don't make any sense to me. We can analyse and slice and dice the reasons but ultimately it is nothing but cruelty, jealousy, selfishness. The blame squarely lies on those who killed him, what they did was pure evil. The TV show may be exploitative, but it clearly does not condone murder of innocent people. May be the show is getting undue credit for good it does not do but I don't see how we can blame Mr Hakim's death on the show. My guess is those bastards would have killed him any way.


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