By Shahana Syed (NUML, Lahore campus)
I was tasked with a project to be submitted to NUML (Lahore campus) for the fulfillment of my master’s degree requirement. My project was on the influence of Indian dramas and Indian satellite channels on Chitrali society, especially women. It is a case everywhere in the Upper Chitral that Indian channels are popular amongst the masses and there is no denial of it. You overhear women talking about characters of certain plays and giving their own perspective of it. This only happens when someone or something have/has had pure love for it or has been drastically influenced by it. During the project work, some interviews were conducted. The interviewees included housewives, health professionals, students, children and their parents and teachers.
After going through these interviews it was observed and learnt that the influence of Indian satellite channels is far greater than it is generally perceived. Not only the illiterate housewives but also the educated ones live under the influence of these dramas. Whenever they sit together, these Indian drama serials are the main point of discussion. These Indian serials overwhelmingly portray women as “The negative and an extremely political minded human being” who plays tricks and plays politics in the household. This portrayal has adversely affected female minds in Chitral as they think extremely negative of their female counterparts in the household. This has created trust issues among women in families.
The glamourous lifestyle shown in these Indian shows has not only changed the sense of style in young women in Chitral but also encourages them to follow and adopt the Indian culture. With this the vicious circle of “wish” list starts which leaves most of the people, especially the young one, in the grip of depression and anxiety. Elopement rate has increased drastically during these recent years,and the general public is associating this with watching Indian serials. The young girls wish for the world which is portrayed in these serials and fantasize the way of life which is shown to them; this encourages them to take bad decisions such as to elope from their parent’s house. In extreme cases they commit suicide. They wish for the same glamourous and luxurious lifestyle which they see in these plays. The reality comes out to be different which leaves these young girls to take extreme decisions.
Chitral has remained an exemplary district for a decade regarding dowry system. There used to be simple exchange of gifts on marriage in Chitrali tradition. However, because of Indian dramas and their portrayal of jewelries and luxury items as a source of respect and honor for the daughter, parents are now adopting this new tradition.
Under the impact of these daily soups and dramas; people are not only drawn towards this unwanted tradition but are also adopting it slowly and gradually. Because of the huge portrayal of glamorous girls/ladies wearing modern dresses and jewelries in Indian dramas women find them very attractive and are trying to copy that style in their real life.
Hindi cartoons have changed the way our children used to communicate, as now our children are using Hindi words in their daily language. The youth is also embracing this alien culture in terms of their behavior, dresses and their way of living. Such has been the influence of Indian culture on the Chitrali society. This alien culture is invading centuries old Chitrali culture and traditions and has negative impact on it. The increase in elopements, suicide, increase in love marriages, changes in dressing style;has been due to the heavy influence of the Hindustani dramas.The Hindu religion is overly portrayed in Indian dramas and movies deliberately to influence the people who are watching these serials and movies. These have continuously been inflicted in the minds of children and youth. Now it is slowly and gradually eroding the core values of the Chitrali society. We should take this cultural invasion seriously and try to minimize the use of Television in our homes.
Published in ChitalToday on Jan 21, 2019.