The Acculturation of Pakistan

 

Every afternoon during the office lunch hours I drive towards different restaurants in the vicinity to try new places and break the monotony I usually develop from eating in the same ones. However I witnessed a different set-up today, the shops I crossed appeared entirely different from regular, and they were beautifully decorated with big red heart shaped balloons, cupids and buntings of Valentine ’s Day and visibly flooded with young girls and boys shopping for their dear ones. The kids on the street who are usually found cleaning the wind screen of the cars were now vendors of bouquets of roses to the commuters.

Cars with tinted glasses were cruising towards sea view, few girls covering their face with the Naqab sitting with their dream prince on the motorbikes leaving for the unknown destiny, perhaps a safer place where they could not be noticeable to their relatives was a common sight.

Even the mall i.e. next to my work place was giving an impression of safe haven for love birds that could freely roam around holding their partner’s hands, sitting close to them in the food court or parks and buy lots of gifts from their parent’s money just to ‘prove’ their love. In short the market created an ambiance pretty favourable for the young love birds who despite little bit of apprehension were managing to spend a good time with their partners, which I found was quite charming.

On the other hand among the somber circles Valentine’s Day remained talk of the town harping on the issue; ‘whether our society really need to celebrate the event or is it even Islamic?’

I although belong to the school of thought which has no concern with the ones who celebrate it passionately or find this day as an opportunity to express love. Nevertheless this year I observed an extraordinary boom in the trend of celebrating Valentine ’s Day, even to an extent of wearing red or pink outfits at work places. The heavy media coverage and peculiar scrolls of personal dedications to the loved ones with desi expressions like Jaan,  Jaanu, Muaaah, Jaaneman on every Tv channel and radio made me think about a different genre of culture we are developing.

Although I tried to ditch this thought with the feeling that at least they were not shooting each other or firing on the mosques that claim hundreds of innocent lives on almost daily basis yet I could not convince myself with the scenario I witnessed today. This was not the Pakistan where I have grown up; the much simpler times of the 90’s. Love was indeed present but with the delightful appearance like the one in the songs of vital signs, strings, etc. Contrary to it now there was a phony public display of the feelings dependent on material stuff. This was never a part of Pakistani culture, let alone Islamic.

I am indifferent to the discussion whether celebrating Valentine’s Day is Islamically forbidden but what I disagree of is the very culture of Pakistan which deteriorating to the lowest ebb.

How can we adopt a particular festivity which we dare not celebrate openly? A celebration where we have hunt for places that are not easily accessible to our relatives and parents?  On what grounds can we justify rejoicing something which we are actually afraid of, which involves deceiving the morality of our family and culture.

I can certainly not consider this as modernization of the Pakistani society. In plain terms this is  westernization of the society (read not modernization). Our way to celebrate love is not defined within the parameters of a particular Day nor is it dependent on it. I reckon that love demands expression but every culture has its own values and demands that must not be diluted in the name of acculturation.

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16 comments

  1. I am not being judgmental, I said what I have been witnessing on Tv and around me, even in malls few brands have set up a small stage and asking young guys and girls to propose each other and get this and this gift . Do you think they are genuine ? You may be right about the fact that valentine’s day is not the ONLY day but again the way its being celebrated doesn’t reflect Pakistani culture, my point is how could you exercise something which is not acceptable in our culture, couples literally have to hide themselves from their parents or relatives to meet eachother. The boy friend girl friend concept exists in western culture, here in Pakistan or South Asia we prefer marriages to romanticize our lives rather than being just partners exercising love through dating and what not.

  2. lol, One such idiotic festival with much hoopla. I dunt appreciate the idea of making your love ‘public’, i.e gifts, coaxing flattery, wearing red clothes , flowers and all.

    I dunt think you need this crummy event to show how much you love your spouse/GF/BF , Esp, the couples, who dunt give a flying crap to the rest of 364 days of year and suddenly they make an excessive or ostentatious display of affection on V-day , Dafa karo. Chill raho 8)

  3. /////and we never heard about this day when we were growing up, did we?
    thanks to the movie Dil tow Pagal hai…. which created all this non sense …////

    Yeh sab filmun main hi acha lagta hai cuz eventually you get a “happys endings” kinda thing, real life main aisa kuch bhi nahi hota.

  4. //How can we adopt a particular festivity which we dare not celebrate openly? A celebration where we have hunt for places that are not easily accessible to our relatives and parents? On what grounds can we justify rejoicing something which we are actually afraid of, which involves deceiving the morality of our family and culture.

    True.

    //Cars with tinted glasses were cruising towards sea view, few girls covering their face with the Naqab sitting with their dream prince on the motorbikes leaving for the unknown destiny, perhaps a safer place where they could not be noticeable to their relatives was a common sight.

    A Pakistani version of Valentine Day …

  5. Culture has become an excuse to hide ourselves. Its an inferiority complex. There are some who go out of the way to defend culture, What and whose culture? Do they know better about culture

    You may be using this forum to say, but there is a little difference in what you say and what the Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal or the Ram Sena says, but in a violent way. After all You’ll are the greatest defender of our culture, or is it the inferiority complexes.

    Wake up once and for all. The World is shrinking. The differences are getting blurred. If there is any culture it is only one – The human culture (removed from race, religion or color)

    1. The world is shrinking and now turned into a global village but that doesn’t mean we start adopting westernization in the name of moderization, if I go by your logic why West is not adopting South Asian culture ? If some values collide with the this region culture they should be highlighted. I never want to forcefully stop anyone valentine’s day as I have no authority to do so but being a civilized citizen I have choice to make my opinon count through by peaceful means unlike Bajrang Dal et al.

    2. We can have our own views and opinions about culture.

      But if we feel threatened by the western culture, so that means our culture is so weak it cant even stand against their onslaught.

      If we are proud of your so-called-culture then stick to it and stop berating about the westerners coming and invading our culture.

      Having said that, I would also like to say that we are not our cultures, we are human beings first, our world view is so narrowed by the environment we are brought up in and we can see the world only from that angle. Rest all is bad, because they do not confirm to our angle..

  6. AllllllllllllllllllllllllWow! You all made me laugh so much!
    I would just add that live and let live!
    Thanks for sharing your comments and opinions back and forth!

  7. Prologue to Tanzeel’s Article
    =====================
    It was the 14th of a very cold January of 1780, and as usual on Shady street, business was dull. The traders of this street who were mainly florists and choclatiers assembled at the street corner for the monthly meeting of the trader’s union. The business of the house was being carried out in a joyless mechanical fashion when suddenly, Mr. Valentine the florist raised his hand beaming…….

    Sujay Sukumar

  8. Interesting ……u know I also always found hilarious the scroll of personal dedications on T.V channels,,,by the way what is your opinion about dedication on radio channels which is being done on daily basis??? Isn’t that funny ;p

  9. Saira its indeed funny but again this world is filled with different people who don’t think on the lines we do. I wonder how this dedication thing affect behaviors especially on radio listened by everyone. Perhaps those who are ‘totally farigh’ indulge in giving dedications and calling Rjs…

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