Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Celebrate Gender Equality!

There have been two interesting developments or events as you may call them, in the recent past and today. These events could give a new and a positive direction to the Indian society.
For a little over a month now, Colors, a Hindi entertainment channel, has been telecasting a reality show, Bigg Boss, which has been modeled on UK's Big Brother. While the show this year treads on the fine line dividing decency and indecency, the channel did a good thing by getting in a transgender activist, Laxmi Tripathi, as a contestant on the show.
In Indian society, transgenders are looked with a heightened sense of fear, disgust and contempt. Little do we realise that transgenders are as much as humans as we are, they are as much as God's children as we are and are as much as Indian citizens as we all are. They are the way the are for no fault of theirs but they too have the same rights that we do. So what makes us discriminate against them? It is high time we think about it.
Another big issue facing India, or rather looming large over India is the declining sex-ratio, which could derail India's economic success. Today the brouhaha in the media and amongst the Twitterati on birth of a girl child in the Bachchan family gives me hope that we could arrest this sad practice.
Personally I have never been a fan of the family. I got quite a shock, when 2 years back, we were at Aamby Valley for an offsite. Mr. Amitabh Bachchan happened to be there, shooting for a television show. A colleague, who is normally quite reserved and serious, caught a glimpse of the star. And the transformation was instant - this guy kept beaming for the next 3 days, as though he had achieved all that he had to. This is the way people idolise this family.
Frankly I don't think too highly of the family at all - they are far too snooty. We once met and got photographed with the Junior B, Abhishek. As he was speaking to our group, his phone rang. The guy disconnected the call. We obviously didn't ask him who called.
But out of the blue, the guy exclaimed with glee "Oh, it was my wife!" Good, heavens, we all know that the ex-Miss World, Aishwarya Rai, is his wife. It seemed that he wanted us all to realise, realise all over again, that he was married to the ex-Miss World! Should we have said "Wow!!!"?
(Then came the best part, when one of us in the group said this in fairly audible tone - "Bugger, if he didn't want to speak to Aish, he could have given me the phone.")
All this trivia is okay, but the fact is that the whole country idolises the first family of Bollywood, the B Family. And today, Baby B, a girl child has entered the B Family. The whole family is rejoicing, so are the rest of Bollywood and their fanatic fans.
This should be a good signal for the rest of India that the birth of a girl is reason to celebrate. In fact the B Family could do well as symbols in the anti-female-infanticide campaign, which is critical especially since the sex-ratio in the prosperous parts of India, South Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab, is abysmal.
I am not homo-phobic, but then if the sex-ratio continues to fall, what option would the males of India have? Save the girl child today, else your son will be forced to be a gay tomorrow!
So celebrate gender equality!

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