I must say,writing these kinds of sweeping generalised articles screams for 75257 disclaimers,but I guess that is where we lose the plot.We miss the trees for the woods.
This article is to be read only and only as a positive attempt to inform people of Pakistan,not sure how many would ever get to read this,but its an effort anyway, about how the real India looks like or thinks like,which is not what you “usually” see on television.Having said that,the other word that defines India is “paradox”. Everything that I write or say here, will have an extreme opposite example of success or failure of that thought.So it is best advised to read this as a single Indian man’s point of view who does not have any political or religious undertones,messages or bias or affiliations. (Phew!)
You know we grew up knowing Pakistan largely through the political columnists,Doordarshan or hearsay.For those of us not into politics, Cricket was the only other source of knowing Pakistan. We remember duels, victories and losses on the field quite vividly.A notable mention is for Pakistani TV serials like Dhoop Kinarey ,Ankahi and Tanhaiyan which were spread by word of mouth by our cousins abroad!But that was restricted to the elite few of the society.
So in essence intermittent cricket matches were the only source of knowing a bit more about Pakistan. Of course, this applies to those residing in India – such is not the case abroad,where I ve known of IndoPak folks sharing a rented accommodation to share costs ! (ironic isn’t it?But true nevertheless!) and they largely have great memories to share till date.
It was not until much later that youtube came along to give us a better insight.Consequently,I started watching more of the tele programmes aired in Pakistan.Talk shows,debates,news and programs on current affairs.If I were to sum up the experience in a word cloud, it would say : impressive,bold,frank,conservative,and ignorant. While Im pretty ok to coexist with the rest of the adjectives,the ‘ignorant’ bit bothers me somewhat.I will explain why.
When people discuss,debate about issues it needs to revolve around facts objectively instead of assumptions and perceptions.So when we are on the road to the 75256th (sic) recovery effort to establish peace,neutralize animosity,and encourage art and people to people interaction,it becomes imperative to clear some myths and do my own little bit to help the process inch a step further towards fruition.
DEar Pakistanis,just like me, I am sure you are viewing Indian content on either youtube or through satellite channels.And im sure there will be a lot of perceptions formed about how India really is. So let me share a few points that might slightly improve your view of my country.
#1 : India is not perfect. True. Just like the rest of the world.! Yes,shit happens.Dealing with 1.2billion people democratically,is a tough ask. So i would give a bit more credit to the Indian politicians who manage the show.They are criticized much too often (rightly so in many cases) but hey – its a tough job.There is a room for improvement and slowly but surely we re getting there.
#2 : Indians dress up all the time. False.The candy floss that you see on Indian tele serials – is just that – candy floss.Its not how every day India dresses at home. Tshirts, striped shirts,boring brown trousers and regular shoes are usually spotted once you enter most offices.Not every person trots around in a designer wear at home!
#3 : India makes cheap bad movies. False. It makes both good and bad movies. The flops far outnumber the hits.There are also many bad movies which go on to become blockbuster hits.That baffles us too.People do watch them,boo them and the forget about them.A bad movie Is not a reflection of the national sentiment you know.Cheap and vulgar movies an also be made under the pretext of freedom of expression.However, we have a choice to not watch it.
#4 : Indian serials are capturing Pakistani culture.False. Just like US culture captured the rest of the world! So youre saying MTV has not crept into your culture? Or Reality TV has not shocked you enough? These were not Indian exports.You can always stop watching TV if you dislike what you see.It is also true be it PTV or Doordarshan they never could deliver the rich content that private channels did.Maybe they didn’t have enough funding.Whatever be the reason,people grew tired of watching stereotypical images, they wanted change.Freedom of choice.
#5 : Indian movies are killing Pakistani movies. Well just like Indian movies are perpetually trying to be like Hollywood.In fact in my view the term Bollywood is itself a testimony of that fact. Why would you not call it the Indian film Industry? Likewise why Lollywood and why not the Pakistan Motion Picture Academy.? Making good movies in Pakistan not India’s national responsibility.Yes we can certainly work together, get Pakistani movies to showcase on Indian screens,and have our actors work there.But to get to that level of collaboration we must make compelling content backed with solid economics.
#6 : India will take over Pakistan one day. False. Yea right,just like China will take over India! I mean really? India does not ever want that.Peaceful coexistence is the best bet. Guys lets get real.Each of us is happy being where we are and want others to be happy where they are.Is life not tough already? Competition in school,fighting for our daily space,scarcity of hikes,politics,EMI plans,credit card balances and in law management is enough to keep the regular Joe,Janardhan or Jishaan engaged.Why cant we set an example like the European Union?
#7 : India is not taking care of Muslims. You know you’re right. Just one president, just one Cricket captain,just one superstar,or three if you indulge,just one is too less. Now let me ask you if Pakistan would ever make a Hindu the Cricket captain of the Pakistan national squad? Or does a regular Hindu have a chance to go on to become the president of Pakistan? Unlikely isn’t it?
Please understand guys, India is about Indians.Period. Not Hindus nor Muslims nor Christians or Sikhs.There are far greater number of Hindus who are under the poverty line,there are far greater number of Hindus who suffer just like their fellow countrymen Muslims. Like I said before, India is not perfect and that’s okay.We are working towards it. Thanks for the concern,but really no thanks.Let us not weigh someones pain. Small or big it still is a pain whether it is borne by a Hindu or a Muslim.
#8 : Indians hate Pakistan. True and untrue on both sides.Those who have been affected they have strong reservations,the rest are slowly drifting towards indifference.Its been close to 70 years now, in just another 30 odd years we will be 100 years apart. That’s a long time to forgive and forget. Move on.The last known romantics of an united India and Pakistan will no longer be there in a few years time.And if you ask me in the present generation, I see almost no one who wants to carry that baton of thought. People have settled down with their national identities.
#9 : You can’t trust India. True.Likewise, you don’t trust US,Russia,Afghanistan,China.So whats the point?.So what’s the alternative ? War? Go nuke them? Im quite certain,there still are a lot of smart people in Pakistan who see the futility of it.Just like India. Commerce will unite the world whether you like it or not. Wars cost money.And each of the economies risk catastrophic losses for years even if they did not have a full scale war. So lets not flex nuclear ego muscles and do the war rhetoric – it only sounds better in movies you know, not in real life. (Like Gerard Buttler in 300)
#10 : Indian are not as polite as Pakistanis. False. Go back to point number 1. If at every step of your life you are competing ,battling or dealing with a billion people it is tough to remain calm ,sweet and polite.Does it mean all Indians are impolite? Not suggesting its the right thing to do, but merely that it is really tough to keep calm in this age of instant gratification and lowering attention spans. Certainly not.You ve got to make your point quick,fast and decisive. Having said that, Hindi is as sweet as Urdu. It makes a difference when articulates better.
Well folks, I guess you get the drift. There are many more such stereotypes which need to be addressed using nothing else but the most uncommon, common sense.Make life simple for people on both sides.