The latest remarks of social rights activist, Jibran Nasir on Dirilis Ertugrul flared up an interesting debate of identity crisis and cultural invasion on Pakistani Twitter. The debate intensified as Pakistan’s state-owned media, PTV continued to broadcast the first season of blockbuster serial, Dirilis Ertugrul.
Pakistani Twitter users discussed the repercussions of broadcasting a foreign Turkish serial, Dirilis Ertugrul in Pakistan- a sizeable part favored its broadcast in the country. Jibran Nasir believes Dirilis Ertugurl- serial glorifying Muslim rulers but more so the Turkish warriors will stoke identity crisis among people.
What did Jibran Nasir said?
The Social activist referred to the pride Muslims in the sub-continent take in foreign Muslim rulers like Muhammad bin Qasim. It is noteworthy to mention that a few days back a trend lauded Arab warrior Muhammad bin Qasim for conquering Sindh, defeating Raja Dahir, and bringing in Islam in the region on Pakistani Twitter.
Uff! The whole debate on whether we're being influenced by Turks or Arabs or Brits or Indians is so USELESS!
One should learn from whatever good any culture has to offer, to improve oneself.
— Maleeha Hashmey (@MaleehaHashmey) May 11, 2020
Taking to Twitter, Nasir wrote, “We’ve many beautiful cultures in Pak but many still face an identity crisis which is also seen in our diaspora.” He went on to add, “Being ourselves often causes “Goras” to confuse us as Indians due to our similarities, so we mimicked Arabs tracing our roots to Bin Qasim. Now we’re trying being Turks.”
Social media cancelled Jibran Nasir
But, Nasir soon confronted a tirade of criticism from social media for his unpopular opinion. Social media users weighed in on the debate and challenged his opinions with varying comments. Yet all the counter-arguments supported the broadcast of Dirilis Ertugrul in Pakistan.
Some believed that since the region had been under the rule of various Muslim rulers- frequently invaded by Muslim warriors. Hence, they all brought with themselves their distinct culture in the region. That’s why Muslims settled in sub-continent particularly Pakistan traces their roots back to these Muslim rulers.
Even if it’s “cultural invasion” as qouted by Jibran Nasir still It’s better to idealise a Muslim leader like Ertugrul Ghazi rather than idealising petty actors of Bollywood and Hollywood.
— Cynosure (@Eimaann1) May 11, 2020
Another group of charged up social media users responded to the ‘liberal’ Jibran Nasir opposing the broadcast of Turkish serial Dirilis Ertugrul with an interesting debate. They asked why ‘liberals’ feel threatened with the broadcast of Turkish serial but not with the American fantasy drama television series ‘Game of Thrones’ or content from Hollywood and Bollywood content that does not even resonate with our cultural or religious values.
I don’t understand why you are regurgitating Hindutva talking points about Pakistanis mimicking Arabs.
Muslims in South Asia trace their religious roots to Bin Qasim less and Sufi saints more.
Liking Turkish dramas and culture, doesn’t mean u r rejecting your own. https://t.co/Yx8Y3LLo5v
— Richard Harris (@HarrisRichard77) May 10, 2020
Pakistan is a glorious smorgasbord of cultures. One of them is Turkish. Others are Arab, Persian, Indian and Khorasani.
The most recent addition: Anglophone Western.
None are particularly better (or worse) than another.
Your problem with Ertugul is yours, not Pakistan’s.
— Mosharraf Zaidi (@mosharrafzaidi) May 10, 2020
They believe it is better to idealize Muslim rulers and legendary character than Bollywood and Hollywood actors. While a score of social media users discounted the dissenting views from the dissenting group, they asserted that Dirilis Ertugrul is a fictional series that should be celebrated for its artwork. Actor Bilal Ashraf also tweeted appreciating the flawless performance of actors in Dirilis Ertugrul.
ERTUGRUL is brilliant. Great story and awesome production. Happy to see it was introduced to the local audiences. Film/ Drama is a form of art and needs to be appreciated regardless of where it was made 😊 #Ertugrulgazi 👍 What do you guys think?
— Bilal Ashraf (@IamBilalAshraf) May 9, 2020
Watching Hollywood movies(read American movies)singing Indian songs, speaking European language (read English), tweeting in their language while having Arab sounding name (read Jibran Nasir) BUT raising objection over watching a harmless Turkish drama! That's real identity crisis
— بسمل! (@anshabaCool) May 10, 2020
While others drew a comparison between Dirilis Ertugrul and Pakistan serials. They opined that Turkish serial is a distinct piece of entertainment over the typical and lifeless storyline of domestic issues in Pakistani serials.
The popularity of Dirilis Ertugrul in Pakistan and the Muslim world stems from the outrageous and negative depiction of Muslims in Hollywood and Bollywood. This negative depiction over the years triggered Islamophobia. Perhaps, Muslims craved for a powerful and positive depiction in media globally. And Dirils Ertugrul seems to have satiated that desperation to see a glorifying depiction of Muslims.
— Mawish Moulvi (@mawish_m) May 10, 2020
The airing of Dirilis Ertugrul- a romantic fictional series on Muslim Turks has stirred a complex debate on Islamization and de-Islamization of Pakistan, identity crisis, and invasion of foreign content in the country.
However, Jibran Nasir is not the only to object to the broadcast of Dirilis Ertugrul. Actor Shaan Shahid has also opposed the broadcast of the serial
Imran Khan wants Pakistanis to see Dirilis Ertugrul
Though the series within Turkey is part of AKP’s nation-building project and is perhaps the most popular tv production in recent years. Even PM Imran Khan wanted the broadcast of Dirilis Ertugrul in Pakistan to make the youth learn forgotten Islamic values.
“We’ve always had content from Hollywood and Bollywood which was then being showcased here. A third end culture was being promoted. That’s why I want our youth to know the difference between our values and theirs through the serial Dirilis Ertugrul. He went on to add, “We have a culture with romance and history as well, however, it is also filled with Islamic values. Sadly, the content from Bollywood is full of vulgarity, which wasn’t the case three or four decades ago.”
The premiere continued, “Drug culture, sex crimes are on a high. I want a different culture to be aired so our youth can know that there is a way of life apart from questionable shows that have been airing.”