Children’s Programs

By Shobha Diwakar

All are aware about the upsurge of children’s programs aired on TV these days. Probably if I remember correctly it began with Sa Re Ga Ma, Indian Idol (I may be wrong), then a host of others followed on different channels like Sabse Bada Kalakar to name just a few. There is a rush of parents taking their little ones to gain fame and wealth (obviously, if selected), to various destinations with food and bottles in their hands, a babe in arms, or another kid holding their finger or an older one trailing along. The moment any announcement is made about any audition, there is a mad rush of parents lining up in the sun, rain or thunder? They take refuge in the fading, clattering, jostling thoughts that if their child (aged 3+), is selected… thunderous applause, ‘outstanding,’ ‘ historic’,  ‘fantastic’, ‘epic,’ ‘I have no words to describe your awesome performance’ (what does ‘historic’ and’ epic’ precisely mean here is beyond my comprehension), comments  will be poured into their straining ears simply dying to hear the much awaited glowing claps and winsome faces. The hungering parents whose mission in life is to PUSH their child as much as they can towards achieving ‘their goal’ literally hug themselves and their ward at the priceless ‘gift’ bestowed upon their offspring while those who face rejection are hugged and kissed as promising future champions.

Forget studies. Forget childhood. Forget playing games. Just watch these precocious talented children,  nice and round and chubby with bulging cheeks, tummies, hips and arms, (looking more than their age); performing so very confidently before the judges and the audience glorifying their parents hopes to win the booty and grab the opportunity to become a future Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle or a Kishore Kumar, and a host of other old timers to name a few who spent their entire life to reach the pinnacle while these kids are presumed to have already tasted the golden apple much before their ripened age.

Where has childhood and innocence disappeared? It is so annoying and ridiculous to witness cheap and vulgar jokes cracked by so- called comedians who are called upon to entertain the audience. By no way are the jokes in good healthy humor or the accompanied performance an act of creativity that pronounces a judicious impression upon the immature minds of the participants. The forced laughter and giggles reveal a lot about the mindset of those affected by the cheap humor.

A very young boy aged about 5 years ( JK alias BHAGVAN), is the star attraction of Sa Re Ga Ma these days. Not only is he a God gifted child but also he is the apple of everyone’s eyes. However, does the little prodigy understand the meaning of proposing, love, engagement, marriage, and feeling cheated? The manner in which such bouncing comments are made and instigated by the judges to be answered and enjoyed are really too unpalatable. This little child is projected as a lover of a comely judge who enjoys the sensation she coyly creates! Does the child even understand the meaning of girl friend, boyfriend and a beau? Many may appreciate this cheap entertainment at the expense of the child’s innocence but personally speaking is this what modernity means? Is this what we are teaching our young and tender kids?

‘Sabse bada kalakaar,’ is another featured program that is aired and quite popular. Again the kids are young (3+ or so), who enact their parts outstandingly. Kudos for their great talent, but here again their childhood and education is put at stake since they miss school for these entertaining whims. Most of the time their coaches train them to mug up their dialogues and put their best foot forward yet is it necessary that these kids act as mothers-in law and ill treat their daughters-in law or enact any such role that damages their softer feelings and creates a rotten effect on their conscience. I am sure there are tons and tons of children’s stories, fairy tales and other environmental or other interesting educational topics that can be taught and enacted to create an impact on their young minds rather than destroying their feelings by trudging them towards adulthood when they have barely understood the basic values and meaning of life. These young kids are, honestly speaking, exposed to petty issues of life from which they should be shielded. Some child is exposed to being a cancer patient dying a miserable death, some ridiculed and pose as tyrants, some make fun of their teachers and we call all this sheer entertainment and clap and promote the growing gap between innocence and morality. Instead of projecting some values for the young mind all that these programs are doing is slashing off a slice of winsome childishness and endearment.

Beware adoring parents of what lies ahead in your child’s life. Fame and name is attained no doubt but what is the price you are paying to satisfy and fulfill your own dreams? Do you wish your child to lose his/her childhood fantasies; his/her dreams and fairy tale make beliefs and enter into a world of adulthood much before they are ripe to face the realities of this rocking, colliding world? The choice is yours.

About the Author: Dr. Shobha Diwakar lives in Jabalpur, India and retired as the head of English department at C.P. Mahila Mahavidhyalaya, Jabalpur. She has published many research papers, stories, poems and essays in national, international and online journals. She contributes regularly to writerslifeline and Indian Periodical. Dr Diwakar  servers on the Advisory Board of www.writerslifeline.ca and editorial board of CLRI (contemporary literary journal India) for poetry and short story section.

2 Comments

  1. I fully agree with Ms Diwakar’s views. It’s very true that our children are losing their childhood and innocence in this world of competition not because of participating but because of what they are exposed to. These sweet, smart and talented children are caught in the grip of an adult world which is still a long way for them to reach. Let’s enjoy their talent without destroying their childhood innocence. It can lead them astray. Let’s not poison their immature minds. Thanks Ms Diwakar for your beautiful article.

  2. thank u anu for you wise and apt comments.
    yes we all appreciate talents and talented children but yes, not the manner in which their young mind is being corrupted.
    i feel even the parents should come forward and raise their voice against cheap entertainment on children’s programs

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