Pratyush Manoj Writes: Recently, the director of the Bollywood movie ‘Bajarangi Bhaijan’, Kabir Khan was heckled at Karachi Airport and was chased by angry shoe wielding protesters shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and anti- India slogans. He also faced a similar situation with the release of ‘Phantom’. Both his movies had shown Pakistan in a negative light. This is not the first instance where an Indian movie is accused of portraying Pakistan in such a way. Over the years, many Bollywood movies and TV shows have been part of this. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in response, Pakistani movies also portray India in a negative way. This method of showing each other in a negative way is known as ‘Culture War’.
The origin of the term ‘Culture War’ can be traced back to 1871 Germany, and refers to the clash between cultural and religious groups in Europe. This term came back into prominence during the Cold War era, where Hollywood movies were used for propagating dislike towards Russians and till date, Hollywood movie have continued to portray Russia in a negative way.
Keeping that aside, we now come to the repercussions of such activities and what affects it can have on the relations between Delhi and Islamabad.
Although movies cannot be considered as a correct source of history, but it can influence the masses into believing that events happened the way it is depicted in the movie. The movies can also influence the psychological condition of the people. And as Leif Furhammar has put it, “ultimately propaganda is aided by man’s underlying psychological need for moral value judgements”. Such movies can unknowingly instil hatred amongst the people of other nations.
Now looking at this problem through a diplomatic point of view, we have seen that politicians and diplomats have openly said things against Pakistan on live television shows. This in turn has created a negative impact on Pakistan. This has resulted in creating a negative perception of India, which will, in due course of time influence their policies. This is just a thought and if this is true, there will be catastrophic consequences.
What is the solution? Well, it is very simple. When it comes to Movies and TV shows, the censorship must be made stricter. Asking the Censor Board to censor such movies, is a long shot, as they are busy censoring movies that people couldn’t care less about. Another solution is that the creators of such movies and TV shows should be sensitised to actually think about the nation and not their TRP. Portrayal of such things against Pakistan does appeal to the crowd and as a result of which people will tune into such TV shows and movies because it gives them a sense of pride and a patriotic feeling. This all just means more money, the higher the TRP goes, more money they make.
When it comes to politicians and diplomats, the problem is that they talk overtly against Pakistan; the only solution is that they put an end to such activities. All they have to do is to keep their views to themselves or choose a different and a less obvious way to let out their thoughts and views.
The least we can do is to keep a check on our own activities and refrain from creating any issues because in the case of Pakistan, most of the media outlets are controlled by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and are used as a propagation medium. Curbing of such activities by ISI is not possible in the foreseeable future. The ISI orchestrates a lot of anti-India activities within Pakistan and in India. For example, the angry mob at the Karachi airport that hackled Kabir Khan could have been hired by the ISI for the job. Hence the bottom-line is that, India has to be careful when it comes to this because it is a very sensitive issue and which can damage our relation with Pakistan.