Changing Phenomenon of TV-Serials and Its Impacts on Bangladeshi Society -By Abdur Rob Razu


The Bangladeshi audiences are very much attached with TV-serials since long time ago. “Kothao Keu Nei” was a Bangladeshi television show, which aired on Bangladesh Television in 1990 and became a super hit TV-serial. But a very surprising thing happened when people realized that the main character which is “Baker Bhai” is going to be executed in the last episode of the drama. Baker was convicted of murder wrongly, which incensed people throughout the country. Protests broke out everywhere, demonstrations were brought out. Letters and petitions urged to the writer Humayun Ahmed and director Borkot Ullah of the drama not to kill off Baker Bhai. But Humayon Ahmed and Borkot Ullah stuck to their storyline and Baker Bhai was hanged. For years afterward, special prayers were held in many localities to pray for the departed soul of this fictional character. This public agitation and sympathy over Baker Bhai’s hanging proved that how much the Bangladeshi audiences could be integrated with the fictional story from a long time back.
In the present era, Indian serials and channels are dominating over Bangladeshi serials as well as channels. Main viewers of Indian TV- serials in Bangladesh are women and they prefer Indian TV-serials rather than any other programs telecasted by Indian or Bangladeshi channels which indicates that popularity of Indian TV serials are increasing dramatically. There are more than 50 Indian TV- serials people watch regularly. Among them, some are most popular such as- Milon Tithi, Ichchenodi, Jhanjh Lobongo Phool, Bodhuboron, Ke Apon Ke Por, Punyi Pukur, Potol Kumar Gaanwala, Khokababu, Kusum Dola, etc.  “The most popular Indian TV channels in Bangladesh: We listed 39 foreign channels which people of Bangladesh watch frequently. Most of the channels are Indian. Findings of the study show that Star Jalsha, Sony, and Star Gold are the most watched channel. Another study shows that some other Hindi channels in Bangladesh where Zee TV, STAR Plus, were ranked as very popular channels” (Md Jakir Hossain, el,2017). In the era of globalization, we cannot force someone not to watch their favorite shows. But what Indian TV-serials are telecasting is alarming for our society.
Through TV-serials they promote these things; filthy dress up, inflame sexual behavior, provoke premarital relationship, extra marital affair, originate eve-teasing, nurture conflict between daughter in law and mother in Law, educate criminal activity and Familial conflict considering the direct impact of Indian serial in Bangladeshi society. The viewers are blindly following the Indian culture showed in these serials destroying our culture, values, beliefs, and traditions. According to Shuvo, 2009, some women have even reduced the number of dishes and cook in a hurry also. They forget to eat while watching these TV- serials. They can pass a day without eating but they cannot avoid these serials in a day. Bangladesh is the third largest Muslim majority country where about 90% people are Muslims who are being influenced by this showed Hindu culture and history as Hinduism is the dominant faith in India, practiced by over 80% of the population.
According to Mirsha, 2012, it is evident that Islam and Hindu are not only two religions but also two social orders. Because, their eating habit, clothing, speaking, script, sculpture, in a word, their entire culture is totally different. Though Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country mentioned above, her population is losing their local culture gradually due to Indian drama serials.
According to The Daily Star’s report, 2014, girls are being influenced by drama serial “Bojhena Se Bojhena” aired by Star Jalsha. Three Bangladeshi girls have reportedly committed suicide for not getting “Pakhi” dress used in the serial. Later on, a writ petition was filed to stop telecast of three Indian television channels–Star Jalsha, Star Plus and Zee Bangla in Bangladesh. The divorce rate is dramatically increased during the last couple of years. According to BD Today in July 2017, every day on an average 20 % separation takes place in Dhaka city. Approximately 70% are women giving divorce to their husband. This incident shows that our social structure is in danger. And directly these TV-serials are influencing them to go through. According to Dhaka City Corporation, 5897 women and 3847 men filed divorce application in 2016.

On the other hand, the TV-serials called “Tarak Mehta ka Oolta Chasma” reflects the life style of the middle-class family of India. The serial depicts neighbours helping each other, housing society members enjoying festivals and events together happily, elderly member of family getting respect from younger members (Not like sas-bahu drama), just like any middle-class housing society friends of the society gather together every day after dinner and have fun in their day to day life, ladies from society enjoy shopping of little things like vegetables, fruits, etc together and they debate with each other but in a respectful manner. It includes many types of religions and professions together with happy gesture. It is not only a comedy show but it gives a very strong social message about all the problems in very humorous manner; corruption, women empowerment, education, environmental problems, black money and exhibiting own culture and beliefs. The TV –serials is being telecasted since 28 July 2008.
Actually this TV- serial is helping the society of India and people are becoming more conscious about their rights and duties to their society after watching this serial. This show influences human’s behavior by altering their attitudes towards particular aspect. Now, People are cleaning dust nearby home by themselves rather waiting for government aids. They know how much important the environment and fresh air are for themselves. People also protesting if women and child abuse happens in their region. Considerable changes have been found in Indian society due to this show. People have been concerned about woman rights, education and have realized the importance of girls and stopped killing the girl’s embryo in the womb of the mother in many states of India. They stopped wasting water due to shortage supply of water in the city. Though the dowry system is very common in Indian culture, the TV-serials discouraged it. Now, people understand how bad it to take dowry from girl’s family is. The serial also depicts how to live with family in a crisis and serious moment. Moreover, this serial is spreading positivity throughout the country and the people of India are cordially accepting the messages from the serial.
In conclusion, the programs should not be telecasted which is hazardous for our cultural values, traditions, beliefs, and norms in Bangladesh. In addition, our local drama serials have to be made more attractive  which represent our culture vividly, shows our unity, our mutual respect to each other, promoting our family strong bonding, discuss social problems and give its solution in a dramatic way. Though we have the magazine show “Ittadi” which is very famous in our country spreading the positive message. But one program is not enough at all; we need to make serials like “Kothao Keu Nei” or “Tarak Mehta ka Oolta Chasma” so that people become interested to it and society get a positive message. Today television has become an inseparable part of our life. If we can use it in a proper way by telecasting programs that truly represent our Bangladeshi culture and traditions, then our society will come in a good shape what we have been belonging for hundreds of years. n
M.Sc. at Marketing at Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey. Email:

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