The Jammu and Kashmir state commission for women, which recently got the feedback that women should stop watching television serials, has asked for people’s suggestions on the matter on its Facebook page.

It had received the feedback on the same page; people had alleged TV taught women “nothing except spying, infidelity and rebellion”.

The state commission for women has racked up a fresh controversy in Kashmir as it said on its page, “during one of our awareness programs some men suggested to stop women watching Star TV serials which teach them nothing except…”

Kashmiri women, in the three decades of trouble, have been living a life of stress without any outlet to bust it. Surprisingly, most women in the valley watch television serials, especially on Star Plus and Colors, which have saas-bahu soaps to offer. “Basically we have devised our own methods to escape from monotony and rut as these television soap operas transport us to a very happy world,” said Dr Aliya Ahmad, who is an associate professor at MERC in University of Kashmir. She said that it was shocking to see a Facebook page by state women’s commission asking for suggestions to ban television serials for women in Kashmir.

Out of every five stressed persons, at least four are women. Kashmiri psychiatrists get on a daily basis over 800 fresh patients.

Dr Naveed Shah, who works in Kashmir’s only psychiatric hospital, said that women are suffering from acute post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and are being treated for the past several years. He said that they get about 1 lakh patients a year for treatment in the OPD ward at the psychiatric health centre at Rainawari.

Doctors who treat these psychiatric patients said that Kashmiri women have only one stress buster and that is soap operas on the television channels.

“For them, in the gloomy evenings, big sets, glittering jewellery, extravagant parties, marriages and songs transport them to a happy world for a few hours. It works more than our treatment,” said Dr Arshid, who treats hundreds of patients daily who are suffering from stress related ailments. These are some of the reasons that there is so much outrage against the state commission of women in Kashmir seeking suggestions on whether TV serials should be banned for women. A Kashmiri woman commented on the state commission’s Facebook page, “Why should boys have all the fun…”

Many women who reacted aggressively on the page against men thought that the adverse comments had been written by men. They did not know that the question has come from the state women’s commission.

In the absence of any local serials on DD Kashir, most of the families switch to television channels and watch soap operas.

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