Monday, July 27, 2009


Hi guys,

Recently two petitions were filed against the show "Sach Ka Saamna" being aired on Star Plus saying that the show was destroying Indian moral and cultural values. I don't know about moral values but in my view the show should be banned due to some basic reasons.

1)First of all is the credibility of the polygraph machine on which the whole show is based upon. Here is a direct excerpt from wikipedia about it.

Despite claims of 90-95% reliability, critics charge that rather than a "test", the method amounts to an inherently unstandardizable interrogation technique whose accuracy cannot be established. A 1997 survey of 421 psychologists estimated the test's average accuracy at about 61%, a little better than chance. Critics also argue that even given high estimates of the polygraph's accuracy a significant number of subjects (e.g. 10% given a 90% accuracy) will appear to be lying, and would unfairly suffer the consequences of "failing" the polygraph. In the 1998 Supreme Court case, United States v. Scheffer, the majority stated that "There is simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable" and "Unlike other expert witnesses who testify about factual matters outside the jurors' knowledge, such as the analysis of fingerprints, ballistics, or DNA found at a crime scene, a polygraph expert can supply the jury only with another opinion..." Also, in 2005 the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals stated that “polygraphy did not enjoy general acceptance from the scientific community”. Charles Honts, a psychology professor at Boise State University, states that polygraph interrogations give a high rate of false positives on innocent people.

That explains why in India in only one case up till now it was used as evidence in the court.

The polygraph test is used in interrogation to obtain confession from the convicts not as evidence or even as proof like, we all know 26/11 attacks involved the hand of Pakistan but we have to spell it out from Kasab just to be 100% sure.
The disclaimer says that the statements revealed by participants are not to be used by a third party, but it is as useless as a "Smoking is injurious to your health" on cigarette packets. In a program that reaches millions of people across India one cannot control transformation of a statement to the truth in people's perception by just a disclaimer on the bottom. One should be more responsible.

2)The questions asked in the test are mostly ambiguous questions. Questions are asked such as "Did you ever think of murdering your wife?". What is the answer? Yes, he may have thought as such on one occasion when he was very angry with his wife. Or he may have thought of it as jokingly. But with heartbeat sounds in background and close-ups of the wife and husbands astounded faces the truth is exaggerated and miscarried to the audience. His relationship is about to fall for nothing. Questions like "Did you ever think this.." do not have a particular answer. He/she may have thought it in one pressure occasion or he/she may have not. Those types of questions are never asked in actual interrogation. The type of questions usually involve physical certainties like "Did you ever take drugs?". With the type of questions asked the credibility of the polygraph test boils down to 50%.

So let us say they bring a good minister on the show and ask him "Did you ever thought of swindling public's money?". What's the answer? He may have thought about it in some extremely pressurized situations previously or he may have thought about it in a light way, jokingly. For him the answer is certainly no. And if polygraph test disproves that answer the ministers current reputation in society is destroyed. He will be argued about in parliament and may be he will never get elected again. The thing is that you do not show any thing on television with putting just a disclaimer on it just as you would not show a girl stripping nude in public even if it happened.

3) And lastly the whole point of a game show is destroyed in the show. In this show the quiz master already knows for which questions the participant said the truth and for which he hesitates to tell the truth. So he can more or less control how much a participant can go further in the show by just choosing the appropriate questions from them. Once the quiz master knows what the participant would answer most probably for the question he asked, it is not a fair game any more.

Life is a complicated thing and for many questions, one can't answer in a simple yes or no. Forcing the participants to agree to those dichotomous views destroys their reputation and character in public.

So, the bottom line is one(Siddhaarth Basu in particular) should not go on copying every English show without thinking whether it is right or wrong.


  1. True enuf ra..but one thing is..ur not forced to sit in the 'hot-seat'. U noe beforehand that the show will hav such questions and more or less will get ur private life into lime light. So, why bother to go ovr there..if u do not want ur relation to spoil, juz dont go!

  2. well,sasi as i know you, you dont always see the other side of things. while its easy to critize a show, we must not forget it is solely for the purpose of havent written anything wrong but your perspective is limited

  3. Its not about criticizong a show. We Indians are really excited abt things such as sex, extra-marital affairs, all those things. So our every serial depicts it. We should change our mentality and start thinking logically