Dr Jyotsna Bhattacharjee
Undoubtedly television has become an integral part of life in recent times. The situation is such that we cannot even imagine life without a television. And it is no longer a luxury item for rich people.
With the advent of cable TV, the entertainment is full to the brim of the cup and has spilt over. You just do not have a moment of boredom with the TV going on in full blast. Admittedly entertainment is not the only offering of TV. Viewers are also offered educative programmes like Discovery and National Geographic Channels to give us knowledge of unknown things and events. But very few people are interested in these educative programmes. Mindless entertainment programmes are the order of the day.
Television has dominated our lives in such a way that we change our schedules according to its diktat. In various homes you find children , parents , as well as domestic helps huddled before the TV set, enjoying some feature film, or some serial in rapt attention. All the programmes, which are displayed on the small screen, may not be suitable for the young children. But strangely enough the parents rarely bother about the effects of undesirable presentations on the young sensitive mind.
We are of course not hostile to television. The entertainment programmes, taken in judicious doses, are good for the mind and body. After a long tiring day most of us want some relaxation and what better way of relaxation can we find except by watching TV shows? But if we let television to dominate our lives, it may lead to disastrous consequences. Some of the programmes are quite nice and decent, which can be viewed by all. But some of them are not really in good taste – and they are not suitable for young minds – but ironically enough they are the ones which are most popular. Indecent vulgarism, disgusting and nauseating villainy, hair —raising violence and passionate love scenes are watched in glee by old and young together. These scenes give very wrong ideas to immature children.
Story books played a very important role in the life of the children of the past era. Most children loved to read fairy tales or other story books, covering a wind range, which not only gave them mental satisfaction, but also enhanced their creative power. But now it seems that books have no attraction for most of the children in this modern age, since they get all types of pleasure by watching serials or feature films, presented by the television.
Most pictures or serials shown by the television are chock- a-block filled with violence, rape, titillating dances and all sorts of crimes. In today’s world we see violence spreading like an infectious disease. Shooting, stabbing, extortion, abduction, deception, rape etc have become so common, that we are no longer shocked by these heinous incidents. The violence and villainy shown in these serials and movies may have inadvertently filled the young minds with all sorts of wrong ideas, which may ultimately lead them to be labeled as blots of society. I think television is mainly responsible for misguiding the youths.
One would have thought that TV would show some restraint on displaying the programmers. But it seems that television has rather encouraged the youngsters to wallow in alcohol, sex crimes and violence with their indiscriminate presentations. Their injudicious shows may do great harm to the immature young people.
On the social side also, television’s impact is enormous. Before the advent of TV, we used to visit friends and neighbours for some convivial evenings and those social visits meant a lot for us. But now these visits are no longer joyful events, as TV has put an effective stop to our social gatherings. It seems that we do not need friends, as television has given us all the company we need. And if you intend to visit some friends, be careful. You may not be welcome if you barge into somebody’s home when some persons belonging to the family are watching some popular and interesting show.
That is the situation in a nutshell. We have become slaves to television. We are in an age when total moral degradation can be noticed all around. Crimes have become regular events. Every morning the news papers feed us with stories of some heinous crimes and we have learnt to take them in our stride – without batting an eye. The television bosses should seriously consider as to what should be shown on the screen, as the youngsters are totally captivated by them and it may have a disastrous effect on their future. Judicious viewing is good, but too much of everything is not good for mind and body. Parents should be more cautious, and they should remember that excellent maxim that example is better than precept.
(The writer is a former Head of the Department of Philosophy, Cotton College, Guwahati)