Another contribution by Mrs. Delirium
Driving through the main roads of any Metropolis, Billboards displaying the latest collection of the en vogue fabric of the season one is invariably stuck with the impression of beholding familiar countenances from across the border.
Whilst those strongly objecting to the presence of Indian Icons on Pakistani billboards, and may have a point when they criticize the exuberant amounts spent on hiring them in endorsing their products, that have little or no appeal on the other side.
Regardless of the protests these multinationals or textile giants as they are now called, are spending colossal amounts owing to the mass appeal they enjoy on this side of the divide, not withholding the ideological segregation dominant on the socio-political and the ideological fronts. The fact that these models cost four times as much as the local ones is no deterrence to their advertising budget. That they are employed repeatedly is testimony to their popularity that they are reaping the desired dividends.
So where does that leave us ideologically speaking?
Despite our leaders’ stance on India and on foreign cultures in general, with India-bashing remaining as their favourite pastime, the obsession of Pakistanis with Indian icons is a reality which cannot be ignored. The cultural similarities between the two countries and the constant didactic exchange between them is also a reality.
In the face of dearth of local movies to cater to the demands of the local population, Indian movies and channels have taken the local market by storm and have worn as far as the cultural front is concerned. The huge fan-following of the Indian Channels with our local ones emulating them in language and attire is not something of the distant past.
Is this representative of the dichotomy that exists within us as Pakistanis? The ideological confusion amongst us since the inception of this country. A fragment of the society shunning India and everything associated with it and another incorporating it into their daily lives. Not only as means of entertainment, but also as their idols.
With their music loudly blaring from our vehicles, our homes & mobiles, our weddings incomplete without having their dances choreographed to the minutest detail, are we constantly living in denial?
From our National policy of fuelling hatred towards them to our unadulterated fascination with them, do we as a nation need to wake up to the fact that we cannot survive isolate in an era of information revolution and war is NOT an option for our economically challenged, terror-stricken and internationally isolated country?
So while we need to retain our individual identity as nation and adhere to the basic principles that this nation was founded upon, we need to understand that culture is and ever-changing concept. And we need to celebrate the similarities in our language and heritage to exist as a harmonious whole.