By Bushra Hassan.
Technology has increased globalisation throughout the world. We in Pakistan, intentionally or unintentionally, have experienced and practiced the mixing of trends too. Girls wearing jeans with kameez, black suits for conferences, man buns are all what we have adopted and customized according to our society. But this is not limited to our physical appearance only. All of us do not walk with the line “Be Pakistani Buy Pakistani” and dislike what is made and sold in Pakistan. Disowning our national language Urdu, English has always been a symbol of status as well for Pakistanis.
Similarly, we like to watch Hindi and Turkish dramas on our electronic media denying the fact that our Pakistani industry is doing pretty much a great job, be it film industry or drama industry. But an alarming situation occurred when my 6 years old cousin mixed Hindi words in Urdu to describe her feeling that she was really happy to visit my place. 6 years old children are least interested in dramas or films, but how did she learn Hindi? Being the youngest member of my family and since no one watched cartoon in my family, I was unaware of the fact that Cartoon Network and Disney shows Hindi dubbed cartoons and the cartoons made on their religious believes and cultures. Children learn what they are taught and cartoons are supposed to be educational, message-oriented, if not, they are atleast entertainment based.
I remember at our time when we were young and school going, there was only one channel and contained one hour segment of cartoons in the morning show. My mother used to dress us up and we used to go to school after watching that segment. 24-hour access of cartoons and that too in Hindi language should be banned. Being students of Mass Communication, we usually had discussions on entertainment related issues and I was shocked to hear when my class mate told us that his 5 years old niece bashed her head on the wall pretending to be “Chhotta Bheem”. Indian cartoons are based on their religious believes and our young minds would obviously adopt what is shown to them as they are unable to differentiate. Usually we all have objections when Indian dramas and ads are being broadcasted on Pakistani channels, even if they change the name from “Priya” to “Jia”, but why don’t we object when Hindi dubbed cartoons are being shown to our children?
Our Drama and Film Industries have survived through many odds and are now producing blockbusters, then why don’t our entertainment industry focuses on dubbing these cartoons in Urdu? In fact according to me, we should produce our own animated series as we do have a potential to produce good cartoon series for our young kids. We have seen that the trend of producing cartoon series was generated by Safeguard, appreciated not only by our children but by their parents as well. This proved to be a splendid marketing strategy to increase the selling of their brand and it also gave a hope that our industry is capable of doing anything if provided the right time and resources. This trend was later followed by many brands like Tetra Packs and Dettol Warriors.
Produced by Unicorn Black, Burqa Avengers, is Pakistan’s first animated superhero TV Series. Burqa Avengers is an animated series that supports women empowerment and has portrayed a young female teacher as a superhero. Breaking all the prototypes, this series is message oriented and is fun to watch as well. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s animated movie “3 Bahadur” has also practically shown what Pakistan is capable of doing.
PEMRA on the other hand, should play its role and needs to take necessary steps to stop the broadcasting of such Hindi Dubbed Cartoons. Serious actions should be taken against these channels’ rights in Pakistan, whenever they on-air such kind of animated series. They should on-air cartoons in English language, like old times, if not, then these cartoons should be dubbed in Urdu language.
Pakistani media has lots of news, dramas, cooking and channels for entertainment but where our media lacks is the entertainment for children. We have no cartoon channel of our own. The question is if any news channel can be launched every next month, then why are we yet dependant on hindi-dubbed cartoons. Having our own resources and technology, we should dub English cartoons in Urdu but why should we even dub it? Burqa Avengers, 3 Bahadur, Safeguard and animated series like Dettol Warriors have proved that we have the strength and minds to produce good cartoon series of our own that will represent Pakistani norms, flourish our national language and keep our young minds away from religious myths and history of other countries.
Children having young brains cannot differentiate between right and wrong, good or bad. It is the duty of their guardians to ensure that their young ones do not watch such Hindi dubbed animated series and if they use a Hindi word, guardians should tell them the correct Urdu word for it.
The writer is a Research Analyst and holds a strong command over Entertainment Industry. She can be reached at;