NationalVOLUME 17 ISSUE # 18

A society fast losing its values

Do you know, your society is fast losing its cultural and religious values, only because of you, the good, virtuous people? The assertion might offend many, but it is true to a large extent.

Some Pakistani dramas, and a number of advertisements, seem to be on the mission of silently destroying our upcoming generations morally. They are using very effective psychological weapons, attacking and conquering the minds of the young generations. Here’s a scene from a Pakistani drama as a case study, which aptly shows that whatever is being offered to the young generation is not only violative of the religious teachings but also against the moral values of society. (One could find dozens of more such scenes in our dramas, especially private productions).

In the drama scene, a young man enters a room with sweets in his hands. His bhabhi (sister-in-law), also a young woman, asks him what the sweets were for? The man tells her he got a job. She expresses her pleasure and both embrace each other to celebrate the news. The man feeds his bhabhi with his own hands. The young man’s father is also present in the room, who is ironing his clothes. The visual of his son embracing his bhabhi upsets the man, and he objects to the gesture, telling his son that the woman was his bhabhi, and he would not tolerate any such silliness in his house. It angers the young man, and he tells his father that he was doing nothing wrong and, in fact, his viewpoint and thinking was wrong.

The bhabhi gives an expression as if she was shocked to hear her father-in-law’s words, and with tearful eyes, she leaves the room. The young man also leaves the room in anger. Meanwhile, sad background music is played, and the girl is shown sitting in her room, tears rolling down her cheeks. Such a gloomy environment is created through all the happenings and the music as if a great injustice had been done to the young man and his bhabhi, and that the father was a very narrow-minded person and whatever he said was wrong.

Qaiser Ahmed Raja, a psychiatrist and the chief executive officer at The Skills Enhancement Academy, UK, however, believes the opposite. He says that what is being promoted through such dramas and advertisements is not only against Islamic teachings but also values of other religions, including Hinduism, Sikhism and Christianity. Pakistan’s traditions also don’t approve of the ‘culture’ being shown and promoted through these dramas.

Qaiser Raja says it is generally believed that the art of any region not only depicts society and societal norms in its true form, but also grooms the younger generation. But regrettably, he adds, some of our dramas are dehumanising our elders and those believing in religious and cultural norms.

Michelle Maiese, a faculty at Emmanuel College, Department of Philosophy, and a philosophical psychologist, defines dehumanisation as “the psychological process of demonising the enemy, making them seem less than human and hence not worthy of humane treatment.” The dehumanisation process renders a person powerless because their dignity is stripped away and fighting back seems hopeless for them because they lose their self-worth and pride.

Through such dramas and advertisements, the same treatment is being meted out to our older generations. Qaiser Raja says the clip under focus is a classic example of how evil is mixed with a virtue, so that the evil doesn’t appear to be an evil, and the virtue loses its dignity and value. The character of father (Behroz Sabzwari) has been developed as a strict and harsh person to dehumanise him before the drama viewers. Through all this environment and dialogue process, the audience is made to believe that whatever the father said was wrong and the young man and his bhabhi had been mistreated by him.

However, Qaiser Raja believes whatever was presented in the scene was wrong, not only in accordance with Islamic teachings but also Pakistan’s cultural values. Islam has clearly defined how to live in a joint family, and what kind of relations should be maintained among all family members. Embracing of a bhabhi by a young man is totally forbidden in Islam. But through such dramas and advertisements, a culture totally opposite to Islamic and the country’s cultural values is being promoted among the young generation through drip-feeding, bit by bit but consistently. And people are unaware of what is happening to them and how their thought process is being changed.

This is a matter related to the future of our next generation. And this must not be only pointed out, but also set right through corrective measures at all levels. If not done right now, when our next generation grows up, after 20, 25 years, they would have lost the concept of haram and halal, evil and virtue, and how parents should be given respect. Whenever any person would tell them anything good according to religious and cultural values, they would liken that person to this old man, and would not listen to what good he was telling them. These dramas, and such content, would brainwash the next generations in such a way that they would see evil as a virtue, and the virtue as an evil.

Even if at the end of the drama, it is shown that the father was right and the young people were wrong, damage would have already been done, which could be irreversible. Qaiser Raja believes that not resisting this moral degradation would be a sheer injustice to our future generations. He suggests boycotting such dramas and pointing out ads which are against social and religious norms and values. Evil doesn’t succeed against virtue for the reason that it is more powerful, but for the reason that people believing in virtue stop challenging evil and taking a stand against it, he adds.