So today, I came across a hilarious news item
Scrolling through my newsfeed, I came across a hilarious news item. Amidst the chaos of problems the nation is facing right now, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has chosen the funniest one: ban Doraemon. It has actually become a popular trending hashtag #PTIvsDoraemon. The Japanese cartoon is currently being dubbed in Hindi and has been entertaining our children for around four years. The nation, already starved for entertainment, has found yet another thing to laugh about along with many amusing Twitter reactions to follow.
— Sheraz Khan Rajput (@SherazKRajput) August 3, 2016
Hahaha I can't believe it
— Saadi (@saadify) August 3, 2016
The first thing that came to my mind was; why have they chosen a movement which would attract harmless attention, rather than touching upon real topics in a province which is their opponent’s strong hold, like perhaps addressing the issue of terrorism or education or poverty or any of the million problems eating at our country’s moral fabric. The resolution has raised further questions about the quality and seriousness of the PTI think tank.
Secondly, why does our nation suffer from a collective paranoia of insecurity and the fear of cultural domination? How far can a nation already barricaded with fear progress during immense cultural exposure? Are we so insecure about our own culture and traditions? Is that why we are scared of cartoons as well?
Thirdly, before proposing a ban, have you considered what you will offer to our children in return? There is a huge entertainment gap for children between the age of three to 10 years. Currently, there are no programs being produced for the pre-teen children. I know because I am a mother. I, grew up watching Ainak Wala Jin and that was the last and, perhaps, the only original indigenously produced kids’ show that we ever had. No private or state channel made an effort to fill in the gap and produce shows for children. This vacuum has been filled in by foreign shows instead and we are responsible for this. We have not left any choice for our children but to watch these shows.
Fourthly, the show itself is not bad. Most of the objections revolve around its Hindi dubbing, not the content itself. The reason for this objection is that we do not care enough to take copyrights and bare the pain of dubbing foreign shows in our own language. Consequently, children are catching up on Hindi faster than Urdu, which is raising concern among parents. Language is a process of evolution. We keep learning words, unlearning them and sometimes they are just stored in our memory. So, with time, our own influence and our language would have a far greater effect on our children. Besides, if the dubbing sounds so bad to PTI, why doesn’t the party take the initiative to dub the original content into Urdu itself? Why ban it altogether?
In terms of content, the story is interesting. The hero, as we all know, Nobita, has the right tragic flaw of being lazy and hating school. We can all relate to that. His robot friend fulfills his wishes, but at the same time keeps teaching him lessons and keeps trying to make him into a better person. The show goes on to teach children some very important lessons as well, including always being kind to others, standing up against bullying and it explains that despite having fancy gadgets, there are no shortcuts in life. The show also has the right amount of magic and fantasy for our young viewers. So then what is the problem? Is PTI releasing its own version of Doraemon and wants the competition cut, or is the party think-tank just wasting its resources watching children’s cartoons hoping to find some form of inspiration themselves?
If you really think that the Hindi language the show is dubbed in is a danger to our culture, then instead of banning it, dub it in Urdu and if you want to inform children about our culture, start producing shows of equal quality for them.
Going against something is easy but creating solutions is difficult.
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