Dismay and outrage over Hindu cartoons controversy

Published: September 8, 2010
The move to ban Hindu cartoons has not resonated well within Pakistan.

The move to ban Hindu cartoons has not resonated well within Pakistan.

KARACHI: “It is a renowned fable that a king once directed the subjects in his kingdom to prevent beautiful birds from flying in the sky. People tried to chase them but it was impossible. So is the case in our country, we fight against nature when it is highly impossible to do so,” says Hari Motwani, a current member of the Advisory Council and ex-general secretary of the Pakistan Hindu Council, when asked about the ban on the mythological cartoon characters that is being considered in Punjab.

As reported in The Express Tribune on September 7, the Punjab government has formed a committee which will issue a report asking for a ban to be imposed on cartoons depicting Hindu mythology.

This ban would be an additional measure adopted to curb Indian programming in the country, given that channels without landing rights have already been taken off air.

According to Shadman, a cable operator at Cable Home Vision Communications, “The ban on these cartoon characters has been place for the past 20 days in Sindh and we are following that ban by not showing it at all.”

However, a Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority representative told The Express Tribune that no special directives have been issued for cartoons in particular, except that the Indian transmission of Cartoon Network has been taken offair.

The committee formed by the Punjab government also wants to ensure that CDs with the cartoons are not sold in Pakistan.

However, the move has not resonated well within Pakistan. Commentators on Twitter and The Express Tribune website wrote that the government seemed to be wasting its time with ‘irrelevant matters’ and that the move was ‘ridiculous’.

TV personality Shanaz Ramzi told The Express Tribune, “This is silly. These characters are part of the Hindu culture and viewing them does not change one’s belief or faith. So it certainly is not going to affect anybody’s mindset. We are no longer the pluralistic and tolerant society that we used to be. We breed intolerance.”

While Punjab Member of Provincial Assembly Farah Deeba told The Express Tribune that the move was because the cartoons “had a bad impact on the minds of young children,” parents disagree.

Shahid Ashraf, a father of two girls, told The Express Tribune that he does not think “there is anything wrong with watching cartoons of characters such as Hanuman, who is a character on screen like Dora or Barbie.”

Ashraf said, “I want to be the kind of father who keeps my children well-informed and they themselves should be best judges about things governing our lives. I believe my values are stronger than this and nobody can change that.”

According to Motwani, “For example, ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ is an epic that relates well in Indian culture, it is not a myth but a reality. Whatever decision that the Punjab government has taken is certainly without taking things into their rightful and meaningful context.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • Ghausia
    Sep 8, 2010 - 1:13AM

    Oh for the love of God people mulk barbaad horaha hai pay attention to that instead of creating ridiculous controversies!Recommend

  • Sep 8, 2010 - 1:17AM

    My opinion to the committee is that look as 1.6% of the total population is Hindu so we should also take care of them. A licence system should be introduced by PEMRA and only those who really wants to see these channels should be given the licence and PEMRA in return should put a monthly fee for the licence, this can resolve the issue in such a way that no one would get hurt as it would be discouraging for the parents to purchase the licence and these channels would also be available for those who thinks its good for their children.Recommend

  • Juko
    Sep 8, 2010 - 1:18AM

    i have no clue which planet are these stupid people on!!!
    yes!!! close your eyes and try to shut out the rest of the world and be bigoted…is what they are teaching our kids!Recommend

  • Hasan
    Sep 8, 2010 - 1:26AM

    the Punjab government has formed a committee which will issue a report asking for a ban to be imposed on cartoons depicting Hindu mythology.

    This ban would be an additional measure adopted to curb Indian programming in the country

    So Punjab Government would decide what will be banned in the whole of the county? When will Punjab stop acting like the big brother, no really?Recommend

  • Umer
    Sep 8, 2010 - 1:28AM

    In my opinion the cartoons depicting Hindu mythologies are not as damaging as obscene websites and cds our youth is watching today. The government should crack down on those websites and cd. dvd which are against religious beliefs of all religions. Full shops are filled with such blue print movies and are easily available on request. I sincerely request government to ban all the website and crack down on such people selling cds and dvds which is ruining our youth. The Hindu mythologies cartoons are not doing as much damage as blue print movies are doing. Please I also request all residents of PAKISTAN to crack down on such material. Recommend

  • quratul ain
    Sep 8, 2010 - 1:40AM

    god we are bring so stupid its not funny anymore. so what shoudl we do, put our blinders on and run in a straight line like race horses. what kind of mindset are we promoting for our younger generation. how are we equipping them to face the world. by raising them as a generation of ignorant,self loving intolerant speciesRecommend

  • saher
    Sep 8, 2010 - 2:02AM

    banning doesnt serve any purpose… it is better to be aware and then decide, instead of taking away the power of decision from people. Recommend

  • Adnan Tariq
    Sep 8, 2010 - 3:19AM

    I support the decision……………. the children who watch this stuff are too young to differentiate between right and wrong.. and so, we have to make the choices for them…….. if tomorrow ur child watches porn, would u stop him or lecture yourself about the freedom of mediaRecommend

  • Hassaan Islam
    Sep 8, 2010 - 3:25AM

    I don’t think it is a wrong step at all rather it’s a step taken quite late but as they say it’s never too late! Why would we ever want our upcoming generation to be fed and infused with Hindu ideologies through these cartoons?

    It is just that it may seem quite irrelevant considering our nation is in need of other necessity however this does not mean we do not put such ban! Recommend

  • mehdi army
    Sep 8, 2010 - 4:09AM

    Ban the damn media once for all. Let the kids have more time for healthy activities instead of becoming tv screen goons. Have more outdoor games and book reading. TV of today gives no knowledge, only stupid stuff all the time.Recommend

  • Amir
    Sep 8, 2010 - 10:21AM

    What I do not like is the subbing of English programs into Hindi. This needs to be immediately banned by PEMRA. My children likes to watch the cartoon channels and the info entertainment, such as Animal Planet, Discovery and National Geography. Hearing them in Hindi is ruining their Urdu covnerdation skills, where they have picked up Hindi words that we do not use in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Umayr Masud
    Sep 8, 2010 - 10:36AM

    What else can you expect from the Taliban supporters .. Recommend

  • hashrogers
    Sep 8, 2010 - 11:20AM

    I cannot believe how much time and energy we waste on banning these things. How will hindus feel living in their own country where they were supposed to practice their religion and beliefs freely. What if India bans similar programs for muslims. Where is our tolerance? Oops what am i saying….we have none! I honestly feel that the people of pakistan have more tolerance then the government.

    It is these leaders that instigate differences and divide! I pray to God to get rid of such idiotic, uneducated and barbaric leaders that we have and please give Pakistan a chance with some solid leadership which breeds honesty and integrity.Recommend

  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Sep 8, 2010 - 11:47AM

    Dear Ms. MPA, if you’re children or anyone else’s children are getting their mind polluted by these cartoons, then that’s your & their parents fault. They should teach their children better. End of Story. Banning or even considering banning these cartoons just shows our mentality towards other religion & then we go complaining in the whole world that we are being prosecuted. What are we doing here in Pakistan?

    This thinking has been cultivated during the times of a true dictator, Zia ul Haq. He has single handedly destroyed the fabric of our society, he has managed to bring Islam & politics in every discussion in every nook & Conner of Pakistan. He sowed the seeds of intolerance in our society & please do remember that the Sharif Brothers’ are his gift to Pakistan as well.

    Please do not support this idiotic action of the Punjab Govt. We all know that Punjab is being governed by fundamentalist idiots.

    Now, where is the so called civil society, the torch bearers of liberal view? Have they lost their voices suddenly, they were quiet vocal in support of the judicial (drama) movement, or was it people with vested interest against Musharraf?

    All Hail Democracy!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Sep 8, 2010 - 11:55AM

    I think it is a good decision, because these Hindu cartoons do have a negative impact on children in our society. These sorts of cartoons routinely depict these Hindu mythological figures as heroes and there are cases where I have seen Muslim figures being shown as evil.
    So is the message that we are sending our children to cherish Hindu heroes and not Muslim figures?Recommend

  • Fareed Ali
    Sep 8, 2010 - 12:14PM

    I think before taking these measures, one must conduct a broad survey and research on how children will behave after 12 or 20 years when they grow up watching these mythologies. If the results are alarming to the society, religion and country then not only they should go for the ban, but they must start campaign nationwide regarding the expected outcome. After all, soft-power usage by nation-states is not a myth, it’s reality.Recommend

  • vikas ranjan
    Sep 8, 2010 - 12:51PM

    @Ayan Mirza

    and PEMRA in return should put a monthly fee for the licence,

    How about ‘JiziaTax’ as well. And how about imposing a similar tax on people watching Q TV,Peace TV in non-Islamic countries.Recommend

  • parvez
    Sep 8, 2010 - 12:53PM

    Stupid idea.Recommend

  • Rashid Saleem
    Sep 8, 2010 - 1:27PM

    Rather than banning cartoons and channels for stupid reasons, I believe we have better issues to focus on. People are killed daily because of the violence in our society and we want to rescue our society by banning cartoons.Recommend

  • Lubna
    Sep 8, 2010 - 2:07PM

    @Amir: Watching too much TV hampers children’s speech development which may impede their ‘conversation skills in any language – picking up a few Hindi words while watchig tv is hardly an issue. Urdu itself is a product of Sanskrit combined with Arabic and persian. Also, dubbing the Cartoons in Hindi at least helps those children follow the story who wouldn’t be able to follow it otherwise.
    By the way, my six year old has been teaching his (English)best friend arabic/urdu alphabet and his friend recently boasted in class that he knows Arabic – his parents didn’t complain! in the same way, my kids learn words and customs from other cultures which only enriches their minds and teaches them respect for others who are different to themselves.Recommend

  • noorulamin
    Sep 8, 2010 - 3:13PM

    despite all the man made and natural calamaties in Pakistan the Punjab Govt has comeup with a vague idea.Inplace of going for such task the govt should focus on increasing the revenue of the country according to the federal prime minister we are expending twice the revenue generated now a days and the govt will not be able to pay the its employees with in next few month.it will be more appreciated if the govt will focus upon helping the flood affectees, according to UN 10 million people are without shelters.more important thing are on the list then why to go for least important things.Recommend

  • Anoop
    Sep 8, 2010 - 3:44PM

    Indian Muslims also watch these channels and TV shows in a greater degree. But, they practice the purest version of Islam in the world(By that I mean most tolerant version). No Indian Muslim has been linked to Al-Qaeda, for example.

    There is a saying,”“Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.”

    Also, everyone should read Amar Chitra Katha its really nice.. Its all moral stories. Pakistanis need it more than any.Recommend

  • Sep 8, 2010 - 5:30PM

    @ Vikas Ranjan….

    How about ‘JiziaTax’ as well. And how about imposing a similar tax on people watching Q TV,Peace TV in non-Islamic countries.

    Well if they are on air in Non-Muslim countries and government thinks in this way there should be tax on these channels too… its every country’s right to protect the religion….

    And about Jizya tax… it is to be imposed on Non Muslims living in a Muslim country so that the money can be used for their and their religion’s safety… unfortunately law doesn’t exist in Pakistan. And yeah it depends upon the economical condition of non Muslims if they are not willing to pay, it still remains the duty of the Muslim government to protect their rights….

    I dont oppose tax on Islamic channels as well if they are aired in Non-Muslim countries… in-fact in countries like Canada and others channels are to bought and entertainment is much more expensive than in PAK-INDIA, and no cable system exists in those countries=, if you want to have a channel on your TV you need to buy the whole package of it… that also discourages the users to buy unnecessary channels like those mentioned in the article…..Recommend

  • Asma
    Sep 8, 2010 - 9:09PM

    For Heaven’s sake. They are procastinating the meeting to allow the Korean Company to provide free Cholera Vaccines and they are meeting over this. This is immensely frustrating!Recommend

  • Zaheer Haveliwala
    Sep 9, 2010 - 12:14AM

    We have no regards for the Hindu population let alone the minorities in this country.
    We often complain the atrocities against the Muslim population in India with very little proof, but its a total shame when we do this to even the 1.6 – .1 % of the religions practiced here.
    Atleast their Muslim minority is not linked to Taliban or Al Qaeda.
    We have truely failed our promise to maintain the integrity of the minorites.Recommend

  • Tilsim
    Sep 9, 2010 - 3:40AM

    Heavens forbid,allow a morality tale to be aired to children? Surely not in the ‘Islamic’ republic of Pakistan where hypocrisy and bigotry are the appropriate attitudes to inculcate into the public. Anything with a Hindu label must surely be bad as determined by our ‘protectors’. Let’s be good Pakistanis: ignorant of ancient wisdom, our fellow citizens’ and neighbour’s culture and narrow minded.Recommend

  • jai
    Sep 9, 2010 - 8:04AM

    wow with all the problems Pakistan is facing like floods and militancy their govt actually has time to worry about some harmless cartoons lol. i mean who is the real cartoon here?Recommend

  • Junaid
    Sep 9, 2010 - 12:40PM

    I wonder kids of how many of the supporters of these cartoons actually watch it.by the way how many Pakistani channels are allowed in India.Recommend

  • Suresh
    Sep 9, 2010 - 7:09PM

    Words such as Sangeeth, Sagar, Shakh, etc etc are pure Sanskrit words. I can go on and on.., no Sanskrit words, no Urdu. You take it or leave it.Recommend

  • SKChadha
    Sep 10, 2010 - 9:25AM

    My dear brothers, in Hinduism, not only monkey but many animals and birds are the depiction of Hindu Gods and Goddesses? Will you kill all of them in nature or ban all of them on TV …??? The relevance of Hari Motwani’s comment may please be seen in that context?

    I will suggest our readers to read stories of “Panchtantra” which is based only on animals as also understand “Chanakya Neeti” for political games in any given situation. Of course, if such peace of world acclaimed literature is not banned in Pakistan …. ??? Recommend

  • Hari Motwani
    Sep 13, 2010 - 11:13PM

    I need to correct Miss. Shanaz Ramzi who wanted my comments on phone. I informed her that AMAR CHITRA KATHA is a series of publication probably owned by India Book House who has printed more than 500 pictorial stories in nutshell of Hindu Gods & Godess, saints, Heros and Heroines of India including Guru Nanak, Kabir, all Sikh Gurus and many other may be some muslim saints without any discretion of cast & creed The picture appeared that day was of Shivaji Maharaj. These are part of Histrory every one must know and there was no harm if the children see them on TV. If we allow Indian chanells in the country naturally these things cannot be stopped. I also informed her that Amar means immortan=permanent, Chitra means in pictures and Katha means stories but religious..Some muslim stories, I quote here while going through the list viz.Chand Bibi:SherShah:Sultana Razia:Babur:Humayun:Noor Jehan:Tipu Sultan:Akba:Shah Jahan:(a few of 210 list Given on the book which I purchased in 1980)

    In Lahore I remember & read four volumes of TAREKH-E-GUJAR, printed till 1975, when I lived there. Punjab Govt cannot ban them. History cannot be denied. Facts are truths of time.Bias thinking is harming the sovereignity of the country. We must change our approach, should not pull leg of one another. Recommend

  • adyniz
    Sep 25, 2010 - 9:05PM

    Huh… They’ve realised this thing now? Cable operators took of CN Pakistan and started to provide CN India. Does that thing make any sense? I mean we DO have our own CN then why to air someone else’s? For GOD SAKE, PEMRA if you’re banning star plus, sony and all those channels then atleast advise cable operators to provide CN Pakistan instead of the Indian one.

    No offense guys but cable operators are JERKS. They have even stopped providing Disney Channel India.How on earth DCI have bad impact on our children?Disney Channel don’t even air mythological shows then why to pull it off?Recommend

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