As a citizen who respects the Armed Forces personnel of our country, I write this letter to Padma Shri Ms. Ekta Kapoor, with deep anguish.
Dear Ms. Kapoor,
When you came up with your show Kyunki Saans Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, it was seen as a welcome move. You had brought the joint family concept to the drawing rooms of our homes. The entire family could sit and watch the show together. The weddings in your show used to be a gala affair like those in KJo movies with a Mehendi & Sangeet in place and so on. But somewhere it seems you lost the plot….terribly. You chose to be the sadist who started portraying women in the most negative way, be it the multiple marriages in Kasauti Zindagi ki or the series of extra marital affairs in Kyunki Saans bhi Kabhi bahu thi and in many other TV serials that you produced.
You continue to show the women in bad light in some of your shows even today. While there maybe a few bad apples in the basket in every sphere of life, one cannot defame everything in it. You chose to just focus on the bad apples in the basket. But now, you have hit the final nail in the coffin by portraying an Indian Army wife in bad light.
A glimpse of the life of a Fauji wife
Let me take you to the anxiety that every woman whose husband dons a uniform, faces at some point in her life. If her husband chooses the Olive Green which represents Army, then there will be times when he will posted in Siachen for at least 3 months and he will be living in a bunker, at 18000 ft, at -40 degrees, with only snow at all sides, eating canned food. Even under those circumstances, he is meant to be alert against the enemy infiltration. Then there are those men who are in Counter Insurgency Operations. Since you may not be aware of these terms, let me explain further. Counter Insurgency (CI) operations are those areas where there is constant threat of terrorist activities and the Army along with local police plays a prominent role in saving the civilians and ensuring these terrorists do not enter our land. The wives of these men live a life of constant anxiety because be it Siachen or CI operations, there is always an uncertainty and risk of life all the time.
Now, if the woman chooses a sea warrior or worse still a submariner as her partner, she has to make do with the fact that he will stay away for weeks on end from her. Please do check some documentary on how a submarine looks and you may get a faint idea of what it means to be 300 meters underwater for 4-5 months in a row, within cramped spaces and in special clothing where bathing and shaving is a luxury. You will know how each of our men work to keep our waters secure. The wives of these men realize the kind of dangerous lives their men are upto. A minor scratch or crack in a submarine and it is all over. That is all it will take.
Lastly, if a woman chooses an Air warrior to spend her life with, he may not really be so far away on duty. But can you envisage how does she feel when her husband’s fighter jet takes off for a sortie? For a civilian like you and me, the sight of a fighter plane is a thrill, adventure and adrenaline rush but for her, till the time she doesn’t hear the sound of the jet landing back, it is anxiety. The sound of the siren in the airbase is the last thing she wants to hear because it indicates a mishap and it means someone somewhere is in trouble.
These are just glimpses our Fauji wives live day in and day out. Not to mention how they attend all the PTA meets on their own, how they take care of their extremely unwell in-laws in the absence of their spouse. They may have independent careers of their own, carved a niche for themselves, but they still take pride in the uniform that the husband dons. And all you chose to do is show her having an extra marital affair with someone and also tearing off the uniform which has our National Emblem on it.
The responsibility of your award
You have been awarded the Padma Shri and that means you are a National Icon. The other such awardees are Sudha Murthy, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Jhulan Goswami etc. who brought laurels to our country. What you have done with this demeaning portrayal is made a mockery of the Fauji wife as well as the National Emblem. Do you realize that your web series will be viewed by people world over? Did you think of the reaction a Pakistani would have when he sees this portrayal of an Indian Army soldier’s wife? He including the whole world would laugh at India.
The silent warriors behind the real ones
Earning money and gaining TRP’s is one thing but to show such brave women in bad light is another. These are the silent warriors behind our real ones. Try going and meeting just one of these women and see if you can still portray in the negative light that you like to do always. There are always exception to the case but that doesn’t mean that the exceptions are the ones that are highlighted because they are not the representatives of the fraternity. If you have any iota of respect for your country and the men who lay their lives for your freedom, kindly delete the objectionable content and also offer an apology.
There are eminent writers among the fraternity like Ambreen Zaidi, Swapnil Pandey and Bhavna Arora to name a few and they don’t need me to write this piece for them. Yet I felt I owe it to them to raise my voice against such inept portrayals.
The country owes it to them
Please do remember, if the likes of Maj Sandeep Unnikrishnan had not laid their lives, you and I would have lost a lot of what we call our city of living.
The next time you wish to do a series on Army wives, please do let me know. In spite of not being from the fraternity I have met these women who have lost their most precious loved one and yet all they can do is spread positivity and try to do selfless service for the less fortunate. Search for information on women like Gauri Mahadik, Nitika Kaul Daundiyal, Garima Abrol, Pallavi Sharma just to name a few and you may get an idea of our brave Fauji wives. Try showing the stories of such remarkable women rather than such awful narrations.
Last but not the least, do try and visit a War Memorial and that may probably awaken your conscience and remind you that Our Flag does not fly because the wind moves it, it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.
If you cannot respect our Fauji brethren and their wives, DO NOT disrespect them. For every time, there is a state of unrest or calamity, it is these men who come to our rescue.
May better sense prevail.
A fellow citizen of India.
Credits : The featured image is from the FB page of Garima Dixit Photography