TRIED OF the “corrupting” influence that the television has on your child? Feel sick of the vulgarity, violence and sleaze that many TV programmes project?
And, ever been engulfed in violent rage and felt like destroying your TV set? “Please go ahead, destroy your evil TV set” would be the advise of thousands of residents of both Gulshan Cooperative Housing Society and the Momin Gujarat Society in the posh Versova area of Bombay who virtually hacked to pieces their television sets some months back.
“I was anyway very upset with the values that many TV programme inculcated. It goes against the basic tenets of Islam. So on that fateful evening, my husband, my two children, and I went to the bedroom disconnected the wires and carried our Videocon television to the edge of the window. All of us then pushed it out of the window together. Since we are on the third floor, there was a tremendous crash sound. Many neighbours rushed out. No, nobody made adverse comments. In fact, we set the trend (of throwing out the television) and many others followed it,” explained Mrs. Safira Ali Mohammed of Gulshan Society, beaming with pride.
Minutes after Safira and Mohammed Dewa pushed their Rs 18,000 colour TV set out of the window, Zaheda Kadiwala who lives one floor above the Deva’s followed suit. Usmanbhai Bhurani of E-1 building too decided that he had enough of the television menace. Without any hesitation, he too hurled his television out of the third floor. Like a chain reaction, quite a few residents of Gulshan society destroyed their TV sets. Those who could not afford to destroy their sets arranged to give them away or sell them off.
The Dewa’s were spurred into this strange action after they heard the fiery speech delivered at a majlis by Maulana Abdul Rehman Korakiwala who highlighted the dangers of having a television set. The predominantly Sunni Muslim society consisting of the 365 flats virtually took a collection decision to do away with the “Satan’s tool,” as they call it.
“Television is largely responsible for the declining moral values of the present generation. Our children were being corrupted. They would not study. Instead of going to namaz, they were interested watching Hindi film songs. And absolutely nobody in this colony regrets that they do not have a television in their home” Abida Begum explained.
Abida Begum’s views are echoed by several residents of the society. Today, none in Gulshan society has television set. Giving company to the residents of Gulshan Society are the occupants of the 830 apartments of Gujarat momin society in the nearby Jogeshwari area. “Destroying the TV set was the best decision we in this society could have taken” argued Abdul Haq Momin, secretary of Gujarat Momin society.
“Undoubtedly, a few programmes on TV are educative and informative. However, if you compare the ratio, they are very few in number. Even in West, the parents are concerned about the impact of TV. And with increasing number of channels, the risk of corrupting young minds is frightening” said Mrs. Hamid Momin, a housewife in Gujarat Momin society.
The result is that the high-rise skyline in Gujarat Momin Society too is now totally devoid of TV antennas or satellite dish or cables. And no, nobody in the society regrets their decision. “We do not think that we are cut off from the world. There are many educated people in this society-chartered accountants, lawyers etc. They are also happy with the decision and they have gone along with the rest of the society. We read newspapers, we go out, and we meet people. It is not as if life had stopped without TV in this society,” claimed Abdul Momin.
Mubarak Mehsania, another resident, agrees with him. “TV preaches a different set of values. We in the society have different values. When values get confused, evidently there is conflict and tension in the family. Family life is shattered. At least now, in the evening, all the family members get together and talk to each other. In fact, our family is now knit even closer.
So, when the rest of the nation is glued to their TV sets, watching. The Bold and the Beautiful or Dynasty, residents of Gulshan Society and the Gujarat Momin Society have social interaction and outings in groups. Children, too, have accepted the decision of their parents, though some of them very reluctantly. In the evenings, both the societies virtually resemble a mini fair with children scampering around. The near by entertainment park-Essel world-also is a favouritehunt for the children.
A few months have elapsed; the resolve has scarcely lost any strength. The residents are firm on never allowing a TV set in the colony. Will they succeed in warding off the “satanic influence,” as they call it, for long?
By KETAN TANNA