“The general population doesn’t know what is happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know.”
According to theory of cognitive dissonance “The mind automatically and involuntary rejects the information which does not match the previously accepted ideas and believes. Larger a person watches a television, the more easily the brain steps into the alpha level, a stage in which the mind is in its most receptive mode. Images and suggestions are implanted directly into the mind without viewer’s participation.”
Media has strong influence in our lives. It is there to make us identify ourselves. We all have our media generated images of good and bad, beautiful and ugly, right and wrong.
Malcom X an American Muslim minister and human rights activists states that
“Media is the most powerful entity on earth, they have power to make innocent guilty and to make guilty innocent, and that’s the power. Because they control minds of the masses.”
A brown woman and a brown man are sitting encircled by lofty mountains. Two love birds are chirping the love songs in between a barren land. Talking about the love they share for each other.
Tm sirf hamray liye bna hy Rashma, ( you are only made for me)
Tm ko ye bat kisi ny khat main likha hay (Has anyone wrote this in a letter to you?)
Han Hmara dill ny likha hay, Yes! (My heart wrote it.)
During the conversation a girl start shouting and giving single to the lovers, to split because she has seen Rashma’s father. The boy got up and start running meanwhile the father watched the boy and shoots him on the leg.
This is a scene of latest Pakistani Drama. Locale of this drama is northern Pakistan.
So what do you think about the father? Barbaric? Intolerant? Hasty? With no for-sight, who can just shoot anyone for nothing serious but for the reason that he has seen his daughter sitting with that stranger. How does it define this man’s attitude towards woman? Does it sound just in 2018?
Is this portrayal even function anymore?
You will always see women clad in a cape burqa, subjected to very old patriarchal subjugation, having no voice of her own. And men, always is a controlling figure. In mainstream media Pashtoons are given roles such as watchman, gunman, a funny idiot who cannot understand obvious things.
In another so called entertainment drama, a boy opens a door finding a Pashtoon in front of him said,
Mahena khatm howa nai or tum peysay lenay agay (month is not even ended and you are here for salary) Hum to her maheenay chokidaar ko peysy dety hain (we pay our watchman every month), without asking him who is he and why is he here for. There by enforcing the idea that if you look like a Pastoon you could only be a watchman.
Then the boy brings him inside and his mother responded quite shockingly who is he? He looks like a balloon seller.
This is how mainly Pashtoons are represented in media.
All this representation has a social effect. There are also some stereotype clinches to the very idea of being pathan, which is the outcome of their portrayal on the mainstream media.
Homosexuality is one of them, associated with Pashtoon, which is also carried by media in films.
In “karachi sy Lahore”
One of the main character stopped in the way and while he was drinking he saw a Pashtoon standing beside him,
Pechay hokay kharay hona (why are you so close, keep the distance)
Kya? Tum ko dar lagtata hy (why, does it make you feel afraid?)
And then pathan said to him that he wanted to tell a story and he would like to tell that story in truck. Whole conversation gives idea of sexual intentions of the former.
This taboo of sexuality is not considered as sexual orientation but it is connected to an ethnicity.
Decades of research have lead most researchers to believe that. Once you are born there are no clear environmental factors that influence your sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is not a choice but rather a naturally varying occurrence among human beings like hight.
So, question is what kind of reality media is portraying and how much it relates to actual reality? Media is now considered 4th pillar of the state. This is not a value judgment but an issue which needs a debate on it.
All we know about Pasthtoon customs. One of the most portrayed is Sawari, in which “rishtydari” (a wedding between outraged tribes) happens between two blood thirsty tribes and seemingly a very young woman got married to an old man. Which, was also the story line of Pakistani film Dukhtar and the film becomes Pakistan’s second consecutive submission to Oscars. This is the one side media is showing.
Coming towards indigenous voices one of my friend who is from Sawabi told me.
“I have never seen Sawari happening around me at my village. Channels have shown Sawari many times. At least not in my life, we never indulge woman in man-to-man war. Staging Sawari in this era of time is ridiculous.
One of the biggest irony is, 97 percent of actors who are acting as Pashtoons are not even Pahstoons, they are faking the accent. Including hit drama serial like Sang-e-mar Mar, Deaden.
On contrary there is another story which has never been told, culture that has never been explored.
In every Pahstoon house there is a “hujra” which is built to welcome the guests. Those guests could be strangers, who want to spend night, they could be passengers. They are welcomed in hujra. Well, I have never seen this in any of drama. This is the sing of hospitality, sociability and generosity.
Moreover, literature of any region is voice of the native’s feelings, emotions and regional reality. There is an element of peace and calmness in the poetry of one the most popular Pashtoon poet Ghani Khan which obviously denies the tradition aggressive portrayal of a Pashtoon.
God if you gave me the kingdom of this whole world
I’ll throw it away like a trash
All I wish for is, some flowers and my beloved……..
Sometimes I beseech my lord
Sometimes I denunciate the mullah..
Another well known poet Hamza Shinwari wrote,
Let’s go to a forest and make a hut for ourselves
And let’s fly such a flight which relieve our minds from present
This is all different from what has been shown. The question is how reliable today’s media is?