Cultural Penetration in Pakistan
Socialists agree that historical background and national character play a key in moulding the behaviour pattern of a country’s people, while customs and beliefs also influence the thoughts of individuals. But electronic media of the rival countries have accelerated the process in formulating the opinion of persons against each other.
In these terms, as part of psychological warfare, besides supporting subversive acts in our country, India has started cultural penetration in Pakistan through dramas and films which are making handful of loyal viewership because there is no any official resistance or prohibiting laws of in our country in this respect.
As a matter of fact, government issued licenses to different channels with a view to earning revenue, and in the process showed utter disregard to the core values of our culture.
So, the job of media invaders has been facilitated by some of us by encouraging projection of Indian films, and dramas. Shameless interest groups are promoting foreign movies and dramas just to protect their monetary benefits and welcome outer invasion with open arms.
Meanwhile, the civil society has resisted this practice through their meager voice, but those enjoying political, social and economic influence favoured storming attack of external media instruments which have power and the ability to kill without firing any bullet.
In such situation, any uncertain and cynic grain of mistrust injected through Indian media will never allow us to strengthen our real values and beliefs as Muslims. Therefore, the hostile elements, as Indian TV channels also target us with their cartoons and animated caricatures. The aim is to capture Pakistan’s loyal audience of the future and injecting them with dissenting thought to challenge the teachings and traditions of Islamic culture.
The hostile propaganda against our customs and beliefs advances at a gradual pace, starting with a positive thought and supporting a just event. But, it contains deeply entrenched acrimony to create sense of suspicion amongst our youth who are passing through a formative stage of development and are at the initial phase of understanding their religious beliefs, cultural norms and core values.
While, Indian films and dramas are now openly shown by Pakistan’s cable networks, Indian commercials are also being displayed on our channels, projecting Indian products and consumer goods. In such phenomenon, people, especially the youth and female audience are likely to prefer brand of Indian products and goods.
On the other side, New Delhi does not allow telecast of Pakistani dramas and movies in Indian soil. In this context, New Delhi has adopted very strict policy of restricting Pakistani channels, being broadcasted in India. In August 2009, Indian daily, “The Asian Age” disclosed that the Indian government banned Pakistani TV channels in its country and it was also planning to establish high-frequency transmitters and towers in the bordering areas to stop transmission of Pakistani programmes.
But Indian rulers’ decision was taken as a preventive move to keep the new generation ignorant about other side of the coin—from Pakistani media, while continuing Indian propaganda against Pakistan.
However, more shocking aspect is that there is not lack of supporters of Indian TV channels in Pakistan. These internal elements neglect the fact that the Indian media, news or entertainment tend to malign Pakistan and to dominate its culture rather than to entertain the audience. In fact, Indian film industry often makes movies against Pakistan which project our country as a villain. Pakistan-bashing, denigrating Pakistan and burning its flag are common in Hindi films. Such films are exempted from heavy taxes and win prestigious awards, even if they totally flop in the Indian cinemas.
It is noteworthy that with the rapid development of science, range of the TV channels has extended to many countries. Although Turkish dramas are also shown on our channels for revenue earning—these dramas have least cultural proximity to own culture and social values, yet, India has deliberately been sending high electronic waves so that its cultural propaganda could reach every part of Pakistan.
In this connection, particularly, Indian films, dramas and special-shows which display dances and songs including cartoons and caricatures are full of obscenity and vulgarity. These sorts of entertainment seen by our youngsters and teenagers are negatively influencing their minds, as being immature; they are becoming more prone to Indian media’s propaganda campaign.
It is regrettable that owing to the absence of a clear-cut media policy, some renowned private TV channels of Pakistan are also following suit, and present dance competition shows in imitation of Indian programmes by displaying, as if dance is a part of our culture. There is also a misconception among the supporters of Indian channels in our country that both the neighbouring countries share a common culture.
Pakistan’s viewers must know that in one of his speeches, while explaining separate culture of Muslims, Quaid-e-Azam said, “We are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of values and proportion, legal laws and moral code, customs and calendar, history and tradition, aptitudes and ambitions; in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life.”
There are number of countries which allow access of their citizens to the government-controlled Internet only. In order to protect the nation particularly the youth, the concerned authorities must take immediate note of Indian cultural penetration in Pakistan, against our traditions, and values. In this respect, first of all, the right option is that ban should be placed on obscene and vulgar films and dramas from across the neighbouring country. For this purpose, proper legislation or law could prohibit TV channels and cable networks which show Indian programmes.
And, there is need to promote our own culture by helping our TV channels and film industry making them lucrative so that Pakistani talent could divert their energies in serving their own audience. Once Pakistani artists and audience are satisfied with local means of entertainment, they will not depend on Indian channels.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations