I am back this Sunday morning with another observation on my bete noir Chota Bheem. Sometime ago I had written a piece on how the child super hero was having a bad effect on kids with respect to their diet. Anyone consuming that many ladoos would be sick and with India already the diabetes capital of the world would lead to further problems.
Now there are 3 other issues with Bheem
1) For some strange reason Bheem and friends are never seen going to school. I am not sure why the producers don”t think a good education is essential to these young minds. There are some episodes which show them at school but they are far and few. I think they have been to Africa and Middle East to rescue friends than to school. Now also I find it strange that a show set in rural India does not find it fit to spread the message of education. In this respect the spin of show “Mighty Raju” is better as it shows the protagonist going to school regularly. I feel this is a opportunity lost. With only 15 % of schools filling their RTE seats, I feel the influencers need to act smart and promote good education. But that does not stop the producers of Chota Bheem from trying to peddle Bheem School bags though Bheem himself does not think it is important to get primary education.
2) Children fighting in wars. Somehow the use of children in battles is a matter of grave concern. Many children have been used to fight civil wars in Africa. 300,000 child soldiers exist in the world today. Even in India it is estimated that militants in Kashmir and the north east, Naxalites in the Deccan among others use child soldiers. Now I fail to understand that in Chota Bheem with an established kingdom and a army, why the children need to go out and fight. In every other episode there is an attacking army and the kingdom sends out these kids, Bheem and friends. I think it just sends out a negative signal to the children specially in the rural areas. At a time when the tensions are already high in society the producers of Bheem want to propagate that violence is the only way out.
3) Getting their facts mixed up,I think noone has an idea where is Dholakpur. Looks like it is on the coast. There are people from different eras in history at the same time. There are Roman Legionnaires who share time with French Aviators and then there are Chinese warriors who rub shoulders with American businessmen. Even when it comes to technology there is inconsistency. The soldiers of Dholakpur have swords but the dacoits have guns. There are aircraft and steamboats but no street lighting. Also there are scientists with sophisticated machines but no television or cell phones ? Also in terms of governance I am not sure what we are trying to say. Dholakpur has a king and there are neighboring kingdoms. I have seen some references to India in the republic day specials. But other side it seems to be a benevolent monarchy, with a buffoon as king who has to rely on a bunch of kids to solve problems. There is no capital city as Dholakpur is essentially a village with a large castle. There is no village council, no system to governance and hardly any civil servants. The entire kingdom seems to be run by the king, depicting a over centralized administrative machinery like in the Mauryan Days.
Overall I think the producers at Green Gold Animation even after 425 episodes and 8 years in the making have not been able to correct basic flaws. I would recommend that they start sending Bheem to school along with his friends, reduce the number of episodes where only punches and kicks save the day and finally get some of their history right.
There was a time when Birbal used to solve problems with his intelligence and wit. Today we have a over grown muscular kid who believes in solving all issues banking on his muscles. I leave it to you what India needs more today- Intelligence or more violence ?
As always welcome your views on the same