Letter to Ansar Abbasi on vulgarity
By: Farooq Sulehria
Dear Mr. Ansar Abbasi,
When I recently heard about your latest crusade against vulgarity and obscenity, planned in connivance with our puritan Chief Qazi, I could not help laughing aloud.
By moving the Supreme Court against obscenity and vulgarity on television channels, you have indeed exposed the bankruptcy of the Moral Brigade’s policing of women’s bodies.
Not that I don’t find Pakistani TV channels vulgar and obscene. I become uneasy when girls are paraded half naked by multinationals to sell toothpaste, shampoo, mobile sets, underwear etc. However, I do not consider it my business to suggest or try to mandate what women should or should not wear. I oppose dress codes imposed under any pretext. But this is not the place or occasion to engage in this debate.
I also find the talk shows that you regularly appear on, where everybody is shouting at each other, extremely vulgar.
I find the news segments on Pakistani TV channels very vulgar. These segments are crude, banal and trifling. They completely trivialize the public narratives.
I find soap operas, the unreal “reality” shows, and the cooking shows to be very vulgar attempts to promote consumerism in a society where 40 percent of the population live below the poverty line.
Alims online, ex pop singers posing as televangelists and born-again cricketing Muslims are among the most vulgar things on mini screens. Incidentally, they are generously accommodated on Geo TV.
For years you have been working with the Jang Group, the country’s largest media house. Jang-owned Geo TV is the largest channel in the country. According to a Viewpoint study on ad expenditures, Geo garners the lion’s share (According to a Viewpoint source even the present PPP government has made Jang Group the largest beneficiary of government advertisements.)
My dear Ansar Abbasi, we both know very well that your wages are paid out of Jang Group’s income, income derived from these vulgar and obscene ads in which half-naked girls engage in objectionable dialogues and flaunt such objectionable gestures that you cannot watch them with your family.
Isn’t it strange that you consider vulgarity on Geo TV to be Haram [unIslamic] and immoral. However, the income you pocket every month from this vulgarity is Halal and moral. You remind me of a pimp who considers prostitutes to be sinners and immoral but unscrupulously pockets the income from pimping.
In all honesty it is not your contradictions that I find ridiculous. It is your hypocrisy that I find disgusting.
You claim that you find it difficult to watch vulgar Pakistani TV channels with your family. I wonder who you were with when you watched the Swat video. Were you alone or were others alongside you?
I watched it alone. When I saw a helpless girl pinned to ground and mercilessly flogged by a bearded brute, I felt ashamed for being man. I found that Swat video more vulgar than any pornography.
Unfortunately, even when in the wave of public outrage, the Taliban began to disown the video [while your comrade in arms Orya Maqbool Jan declared it a fake ) you had the gall to appear on Geo to declare that condemning the Swat video was an insult to Sharia. In your view, flogging the Swat girl was in line with divine teachings and the flogging Taliban only did their Quranic duty.
What I find even more hypocritical about Media Mujahideen like you is your betrayal of your class. It is not a coincidence that all the Media Mujahideen enjoy great rapport with media owners. They draw good salaries and benefit from many perks. On the other hand I have never seen Media Mujahideen struggling for the Wage Board Award.
In recent years media workers have lost their hard won rights. Is it not extremely vulgar that a desperate Khabrain worker, a couple of years ago, committed suicide because his wages had not been paid for months? Days before Eid, a woman journalist in Lahore committed suicide for the same reason.
Hundreds of workers have been laid off by all the major and minor media houses in recent months. Is it not extremely vulgar that while these media barons continue to lay off workers in the name of lost profits they manage to come up with enough capital to start new media ventures?
While all this vulgarity has been happening right before your eyes, you have been looking the other way.
In my view, poverty is the worst form of vulgarity. In the words of Sahir Luhianvi, Muflisi his e litafat mita daity hay [poverty ends decency.]
In my humble view child labour, feudalism, capitalist exploitation, child abuse [so widespread at madrassas], honour killings, forced conversions, discrimination against religious minorities, domestic violence, hefty military budgets, foreign debt, puritan violence, Hazara killings, Lashkar e Toiba’s jihad, environmental pollution, nuclear waste from your Islamic bomb, in fact the entire system you so vigorously defend, is extremely vulgar.
The most vulgar aspect of all of this is Chief Qazi himself. Instead of playing the moral cop flaunting his rosary in front of press cameras, he should have resigned the day his son Arsalan Iftikhar was caught committing vulgarity.
Courtesy: View Point
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