I’ve been waiting to write this for long now. Finally, getting down to this. While India has all kinds of stereotypes — gender, language, region, religion, etc — Indian television sitcoms are a complete different league. Here’s what they teach us:
1. The newly married girl becomes the “property” of the family she is married into. Her in-laws, husband and everyone around wants her to cook food. Mother-in-law is still the villain and bulleys the daughter-in-law at every given opportunity.
2. Girls are meant to do only certain things like cook food while men have to be the bread-winners in the family. Why? Because “Ladko ke kaam ladkiyon ko shobha nahi deti” (Aunty ji, do you belong to the stone age or the khaps?)
3. Husband is always shouting at the wife, insulting her, assaulting her if she questions him about his ex. Yet, the wife takes all the shit, because she “loves” him. (Girl, get out of that house. The man doesn’t respect you! Period.)
4. If you are pregnant with a girl, kill her or go for an abortion because “she can’t inherit your work or property!” (No wonder female feticide in this country is high, even in affluent families). Interestingly, all these people in these serials are rich.
5. Even if the daughter-in-law is in the Army and has a supportive husband, she has to take care of the household work. (Seriously? Get over it. She’s fighting for this Goddamn country, dear mother-in-law!)
6. Continue the stereotyping by calling a Punjabi North-Indian and any South Indian a Madrasi. (Seriously? Get your geography right! There are four states in South India and not all eat only vegeterian food).
7. Pass on the stereotypes to your kids too by calling them Madrasi, Punjabi, etc. (When are you going to get that India’s diversity is its asset? So, you can’t compare one region or culture to another!)
8. You can never be good to your in-laws. There is so much tragedy in life that you have only misery. (You have just one life. Stay happy!)
9. Blame the daughter-in-law for everything wrong in the house. (Even if the dog poops!).
10. Live-in relationships are looked down upon. The girl is questioned about her sexuality, always! (Don’t you get that it is her wish? Stop interfering in every girl’s life as if you own her sexuality!)
Funnily, on one side, we show the country developing and progressing. On the other, we have such sitcoms thriving on stereotypes and directly or indirectly promoting social evils like dowry, encouraging violence against women, female infanticide, child marriages, etc. However, as long as you don’t carry the concepts of these serials into your personal lives, you are fine. But, if you do, you are in deep shit, all your life.