Dubbed Indian Teledramas Cause Much Damage to Sri Lankan Women
August 7th, 2007
by Nadira Gunatilleke
Some time back I received a very funny e-mail which named the five worst women in Sri Lanka. This e-mail was circulated all over Sri Lanka for a long time.
According to the e-mail the worst five women in Sri Lanka were four Indian women who play the main roles in four imported Indian teledrama series continuously telecast over a local television channel and the Sri Lankan woman who watches them all! In order to check the meaning of this e-mail I started watching these teledaramas and guess what gradually I understood how true that e-mail was.
About four women are the main roles of four popular Indian tele series telecast over one of the local television channels.
Two of the series were produced using local actors and actresses but only their speech is Sinhala, all the other things (sets. costumes, traditions etc.) are Indian. The four series are being telecast over a period of several years continuously in the peak hours and viewers are being given valuable prizes in order to be attracted to the tele dramas.
One can name it as importing ‘Made in India violence’ and distributing it in Sri Lankan society which is not violent when it comes to women, marriages and dowry. These teledramas purely promote violence against women in Sri Lanka.
They cause severe damage to the Sri Lankan women in various ways. First of all they encourage Sri Lankan men to administer violence against women. The majority of men in these teledramas act violently against women or torture them psychologically.
The worst thing is, it shows how the culture can be used as a weapon to torture women and new techniques of executing violence against women.
One can argue that all these women are fighters for justice and live according to traditions. It is true. The problem does not lie in these four women, but the contents of the teledramas and in the other characters.
A feature can be written if all the incidents on violence against women telecast over all five teledramas are described in length.
May be there is an argument stating that the teledramas (soap operas) imported from other countries are same and have a negative impact, but usually such teledramas are in English and viewed by a limited number of viewers and such teledramas are not dubbed in Sinhala, not telecast during the peak hours and do not run over years.
Sri Lankan actors and actresses star in two of those Indian teledramas. The main damage is caused by these two teledramas because it is closer to the Sri Lankan viewers because of the Sri Lankan actors and actresses. In this teledrama it shows how an unmarried girl is being kept in a house purposely where a married couple is living.
This girl is in love with the married man and knowing this fact the parents of the man keep her in their home. This is not Sri Lankan culture and the Sri Lankan younger generation may tend too think that this type of a situation is just normal.
In another instance it shows how a woman is being ill-treated and discriminated by all of her family members and outsiders and how they make trouble all the time expecting her downfall. In other words this teledrama tells the viewers that a strong woman who becomes a challenge to the male domination should be defeated and crushed.
In the other two teledramas there are many incidents which show how culture is being used to torture women, such as preventing her from taking part in family ceremonies etc.
We cannot forget the fact that India records around 1,000 dowry related female deaths per year and some married women are being murdered by their husbands and in-laws by setting fire.
Some husbands and in-laws threaten the women to commit suicide. Sometimes women are tortured to fleece more money out of their families and then they are being killed or forced to commit suicide. There are several instances where young mothers are burnt to death by husbands and in-laws. After this the husband is free to re-marry and get another big dowry.
The imported tele series telecast in Sri Lanka has been produced using this background which causes immeasurable harm to Sri Lankan women.
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