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TOI EDIT-Sanskari Neighbour Pakistan cracks down on bold themes on TV, more proof of our deep cultural rishta

January 11, 2019 06:01 AM


Sanskari Neighbour
Pakistan cracks down on bold themes on TV, more proof of our deep cultural rishta
A couple of years ago India thumped Pakistan well and good, by returning its Fawad Khan, even if that sent countless women fans deep into melancholia here. In harmonious jugalbandi, our neighbour responded by imposing a complete ban on Indian content on local TV and FM radio. Beyond a fondness for similar food, music, movies and sports both of us have a profound faith in censorship. We are very good at acting as if the ban can solve all our problems, even while frenetically finding underground ways to subvert it. The schizophrenia is shared.

And there are no full stops for the ban brigade. Appeals to restore Indian content continue to be resisted, with even the chief justice chiming in that this will be “damaging” to Pakistani culture. Now the electronic media regulator is going after bafflingly varied “bold themes”. It damns feminist portrayals for “hackneyed image of women” and also for ignoring children, teenagers and men; these experimental liberationist dramas await identification. It rails against rape scenes and intimate moments between couples in the same breath, as if both consensual and non-consensual relations offend national values equally. Which makes mysterious Pakistan’s eye-popping population growth.

The schizophrenic sex taboo too is very much shared on this side of the border. A character in a Upamanyu Chatterjee novel finds it embarrassing to say his wife is pregnant because it’s as good as admitting, they have had sex. On Tinder over in Pakistan there are reportedly men who show up with photos of poori family including biwi and bacchey, as also with signifiers of deeply conservative religiosity. We are rum South Asian bedfellows. Proper confused about the pleasure principle. A little less hypocrisy would make us a lot more happy

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