'I think we have crawled in
that lizard hole and
another one too'!
I like watching
T.V as do so many of us. I used to think that it was harmless fun- maybe it is for me- a thirty year old mum of two. I watch
T.V to relax and unwind after a hard day of caring for two children. But at my age (ahem!) of relative maturity, I am more
aware of the pitfalls, the glamour and frankly, the anti- Islamic nature of so much of the programming. So many teenagers
and youngsters are na´ve to think that it is all true.
I liken it to when
my kids watch ‘Tom and Jerry’ and I have to remind them that it is all make believe- after having his head shut in the door, Tom will not simply
wince, shake it into the right shape and come back totally fine in the next scene! I do not want the same thing being played
in my house with the victim being my toddler, so I think it to be important to remind my eldest that it is all ‘pretend-pretend’. So, how about the
glitz and glamour of the programming broadcast into our homes everyday? Who will tell our youngsters that this is all make-believe,
the ‘pretend-pretend’ equivalent of ‘Tom and Jerry’?
The media mirrors
society but there is a paradox here- society also copies the media giving rise to fashions, trends and a gradual change in
thinking. This is not as apparent in the UK as it is in Pakistan.
Being the underdogs in Britain, Muslims
are trying to hold on to their faith and identity with both hands. It is a minority thinking that to avoid blending in with
the Christian majority and to maintain individuality, ones’ culture and faith must be preserved. Over the years that I have been growing
up, there has been a visible upsurge in hijabs, veils, beards, prayer rooms and
Pakistan is a different proposition.
I have lived here for ten years and over the past couple, I have noticed a worrying shift towards all things western and un-Islamic.
I am not just speaking of “McDonalds”. Infact, it is not so much the west- it is more a blend of the Indian culture with our own. Just turn on the TV! Where
once Pakistani dramas were good clean fun with the heroines covering their head at all times, nowadays jeans and sleeveless
kameez is normal with nobody thinking but certainly looking twice! Dance and song
are prevalent as are the themes of love triangles, romances and a general rebellion of parents all in the name of …love! What a complete
waste! I am not against love. After all Hazrat Khadija (ra) chose the Prophet
(saw) herself for marriage. Love is a part of life but projecting this to be the main theme in many dramas means that our
youngsters are being overdosed. Rebelling against ones’ parents, being rude and even eloping is glamorized. In reality, there are very serious consequences
to these actions which are rarely shown but to a young mind, this could be a solution to an undesirable romance.
Just glance to the
influence that the media has on thinking, take a look at weddings! In Britain, some common sense has prevailed with ‘mehndi’ functions being
ladies only and separate seating for ladies and gents at the wedding and Walima. Pakistan is a potential dating ground with professional choreographers being bought
in for the mixed dances at the ‘mehndi’ function and mixed everything else too! Does this ring a bell with ‘Hum Aap Ke Hain Koun’?
The current trend
of Indo-Pak friendship has given rise to many joint productions. It is interesting to note, however, that there is no discernible
differentiation between the actors from Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan. The same wardrobe, look, culture and language, is
this right? Dance is a growing part of the Indian Culture with filmy songs appearing in their dramas too. It is an hadith
the our Prophet Muhammad (sallalla lahu alayhi Wasallam) once stated that a day will come when if non-believers crawled through
a lizard hole, Muslims in their excitement and stupidity would follow suit. Well, Sir, that day has dawned! We have concerts,
films and shows broadcast to the masses as “Eid Specials” although the two are as different as chalk and cheese. ‘Kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi’ had an ode to Eid by showing
a lavish party in which all were dancing including the lady of the house, who by the way was wearing her dupatta on her head
whilst doing a solo dance in a room full of men. They might as well have had George Bush and Osama Bin Laden embracing and
sharing ludoos- that would have fitted right in! How long before Pakistan
follows suit? The answer is not long as dances are finding a legitimate home here with shows being broadcast with youngsters
(some not so young as 15 and 16) waving their hips on national TV. I was left flabbergasted at this Islamic State! The final
nail in the coffin was the advert of another “Eid Special” drama by the name of “Chaalbaaz” in which there were caricatures of Sajid Hassan was holding a champagne glass, Ali Azmat had a cigarette
in his mouth and the two heroines were clad in low cut, sleeveless, knee length dresses. I
think we have crawled in that lizard hole and another one too!
It could and should
be so different! Here again we can take a leaf from the Indians’ book. I have learnt so much about the Hindu culture, faith and traditions
from watching the media. In all their dramas, there is a ‘pooja’ going on very frequently and the grandmother of the house is teaching
her children and the young in general about its’ meaning and historical references. We know about the ‘Ram-banvas’, the undressing of ‘Draupadi’ and the ‘Agni Pariksha of Sita’. All the main characters are shown to visit their
God at least once every day and their God is remembered in every joy and sorrow. How many times have we seen our popular heroes
on the prayer mat or reading the Quran? How often are we reminded of fasting or how often are their family get-togethers at
Iftaris during our dramas? We have our own faith and culture which is being buried beneath the glitz and glamour of dance
and overly made-up women. Why aren’t we using our media to educate our youth of our culture rather than the Indian one or is the dividing
line so blurred that we can not differentiate any more?
Despite all I have
said, I must maintain that TV is not an evil but as with everything else, it needs supervision and guidance. We may not be
able to control what is being produced but we can censor what is being watched in our rooms. Youngsters have to be able to
differentiate between right and wrong- simply banning the TV from the household is not effective because they will go to their
houses and watch it there- without you being there to explain. Kids can not be dictated to throughout their lives- they have
to be taught what is right and wrong to enable them to lead pious lives. That is what good parenting is- guiding not dictating
and then trusting. We must trust out youngsters to not watch dirty songs or have romances- we can not dictate that they shouldn’t.
I have seen in many
households that the TV is used as a backdrop- it is switched on in the morning and runs until the evening even if no-one is
watching! Some even use it as a babysitter and I am not condemning either. It must be remembered, however, that this is a
medium of information and knowledge- both good and bad. It has to be used responsibly to derive the good from it. Knowledge
of other religions and cultures is good; the bad creeps in when we forget our own and start to emulate what is essentially
foreign. We must be proud of our heritage, faith and religion- much like what we see in the Indian media. In the mean time,
however, we must see to it that when our youth watches this entertainment, they are made aware that what they are viewing
is essentially a grown up
version of ‘Tom and Jerry’- it is all make