Saturday, September 11, 2010


Dear Punjab government and censorship authorities,
While we all know that the prosperous, peaceful times we live in must leave you all with plenty of free time on your hands, your latest act of stupidity belies that you might be a tad overpaid for sitting around debating nothing. Of all the inane things to do, you have decided to ban the one Hindu cartoon that airs in Pakistan. The one program in the plethora of absolute crap which we are forced to bear on our television screens, which was the easiest possible target for you. After all, with only a million or two Hindus around, you can easily avoid the tire burning brigade that you would ordinarily come up against.

I was a bit confused when I first heard that one program on TV is supposedly going to corrupt our children's pure Muslim morals, go against our Pakistani culture and encourage citizens to fraternize with the enemy. I suppose if I'm fair, you might have a point though. Watching an animated Ganesh or Hanuman dance across a screen for 30 minutes a week can in fact brainwash our impressionable youth into believing they should renounce Islam, cross the border, double-cross the ISI, sell their souls, etcetera. After all, we have already observed how Dora the Explorer has duped our kids into believing that they are Hispanic, and Sesame Street into forcing us all to think we are hairy muppets and should refer to ourselves in the third person. I suppose if you give a decent amount of thought to the topic, it can be inferred that Hindu cartoons will cause mass conversion to Hinduism. The fact that your faith in Islam or what you call your Pakistani culture is quite so delicate that it requires censorship to maintain is irrelevant, I suppose. To each his own, but at the rate you are going, oh holy ones, I'm afraid your souls might need more saving than the children who misguidedly watch animated shows about mythology.

I might have to put the (lack of) logic in the actual desire to censor aside for a minute though, since God knows censorship is awfully arbitrary these days and I have no control over what you choose to make your issue of the day. However, I am compelled to point out a slight problem with your definition of "Pakistani cultural heritage". I dislike mistakes; I think if you are going to make a point and defend it against all odds, you should at least do us the service of getting your facts right. You might have skipped eighth grade (chances are, with your fake degrees you probably did), but um-we didn't actually inherit our culture from an alien land. The lines that were drawn across the subcontinent in 1947 did not unfortunately erase about a millenia of heritage that we got from being-don't shoot me-Indian. I hate to break it to you, but some people across the border (the Hindu kind) actually speak the same language as us, not to mention other equally unfortunate similarities. A little deduction will lead you to the conclusion that we might share a little culture in common with Hindus. I hate to break it to you, but denying that Hinduism and its mythology plays a part in your pure Pakistani culture would require that you stop eating biryani. Immediately. It's not our cultural heritage. From now on, you might want to consider a ban on all food that doesn't originate from the holy land, because it doesn't fit too well into our culture and all.

I know that was hard for you to hear. I know you probably stopped mid-bite to consider the misery of giving up your God-given right to enjoy the best parts of your culture. I know you are reconsidering your obsession with being Arab (and therefore a better Muslim by your own definition). But please, don't let me distract you. You have to get back to business. I suggest that you start by banning a certain fake cleric whose show advises your children to kill Ahmaddis in the name of Islam but spare chipkalis in case they are really jinns in disguise. Then you might want to move to ban news shows which barge into the tents of flood survivors who observe purdah and terrify them into sharing their stories because misery sells. Maybe when you're done with all that, you can spare a glance for a Hindu cartoon. You know, the one that a few thousand Hindu kids who can afford TV like to watch so they feel like their cultural heritage isn't being ignored. While you're at it, feel free to eliminate TV shows with yourselves airing your moronic opinions, because I am afraid that being exposed to such content makes me think in expletives that are not becoming to a Pakistani Muslim at all.

Yours sincerely,

A still-Musalman who watches TV.


Amna Chaudhry said...


Anonymous said...

thanks Sara for saying so much that is on everyone's mind and helping us make sense of things around