Raheel Hassan |
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a buzz-word in the region today. China finds it as a conduit to expand its tentacles, while Pakistan thinks that it can help propel its fledgling economy forward. Amid the expectations and euphoria, have we ever thought as to how CPEC will affect Pakistan? Yes, it is a game changer; it would change the rules of play. It would change our identity. It wouldn’t only change our socio-economic condition, but its impact would be socio-cultural as well.
Pakistani media houses are running on a policy to copy the foreign content for gaining more viewership. The electronic media is an industry of a business of billion rupees.
Culture is a way of life of a society, its ideas, beliefs, language, values, knowledge, customs and the things it practices. The social institutions like family, religion, and school are considered as a practical field of a social life, and media is responsible for the preservation of this culture, but Pakistani media has failed to fulfill its role. Resultantly, its culture is prone to vandalism. Pakistani media houses are running on a policy to copy the foreign content for gaining more viewership. The electronic media is an industry of a business of billion rupees. They have nothing to do with the distraction of the society; their focus is always on making more and more money.
Pakistan is already a colonized society
Pakistan is a multilingual and multi-cultural society of the unique ethics, values, norms, and beliefs which form a very charming and attractive national culture. But it has been imperialized by the Western, Indian and Arabic culture, which means that it is a practice of promoting the culture or language of one nation in another. The foreign media are also pursuing their own agendas. Unfortunately, Pakistani media houses also promote foreign culture more than that of Pakistan. Youth is more influenced by it and is adopting their ways which are actually unethical and against our religious values and morals. The culture of joint family system is slowly being replaced by nuclear family systems. Parents are being sent to old age homes. Due to media, the foreign cultures are slowly engulfing our society.
Imperialism is aided when a strong culture overshadows the weaker one. In cultural imperialism, language, a way of life and most importantly values of a strong culture are adopted by the weaker culture. But Pakistan does not have a weak culture, its media made it weaker by failing to promote it. So foreign media has gained an advantage and injected their unethical cultural values. The Pakistani society, especially elite class picked the American, European, and even Indian culture very quickly and even became a part of it. Our culture is being threatened. The new born generation even doesn’t know what actually our culture is.
The adaptation depends upon another factor, the level of interaction, which in the case of CPEC is going to increase. With the influx of Chinese in Pakistan, We would enter into a competition with our Chinese friends. We would start adopting their cultural pattern and way of life.
The spread of Chinese culture and language
The future cooperation between Chinese and Pakistani media will help to disseminate Chinese culture in Pakistan, for enhancing mutual understanding between the two traditions and two countries. But it will affect otherwise, it would have a socio-cultural spillover in Pakistan.
China and Pakistan have totally different cultural notions and practices. China describes itself as a socialist country with Confucian norms and its cultural life based on Buddhism and atheism, while Pakistani culture is based on Islamic values. There will be many worse effects of Chinese culture on the Pakistani society.
Last week, the official CPEC master plan was revealed in the newspapers, in which Pakistan would allow to Chinese TV channels airing in the country. The future cooperation between Chinese and Pakistani media will help to disseminate Chinese culture in Pakistan, for enhancing mutual understanding between the two traditions and two countries. But it will affect otherwise, it would have a socio-cultural spillover in Pakistan. In the cooperation between Chinese and Pakistani media, they would make content on the Chinese culture, like the first Chinese artist has already made his appearance in a Pakistani movie “Chaley they Sath.”
The Chinese language is already getting attention and Confucius Institutes in universities are busy to teach language and cultural courses. You would need to learn Chinese, if not by heart then at least for communication and to get jobs. We are already in a puzzling situation in between English and Urdu and would have to learn another language. According to a recent report our national language; Urdu, is now included in those 75 languages which will lose its status in the next 2-3 decades.
Cultural interaction between nations is not itself unhealthy. But it became infectious when a nation leaves and forgets its own norms.
In my opinion, there should strict check on media imports in Pakistan. PEMRA will have to do its work properly. We should try to develop quality content programs for the entertainment and concentrate on promoting our cultural values instead of copying others. This will eventually help to improve the image of Pakistan at the international level. This will enable us to compete with the world.
Read more: CPEC gold rush reaches K-P
It is not wrong to say that nations rise with their own languages; communities always have won all their battles through weapons of their social and cultural values. We should respect our true cultural and religious values. Thus we can bring back our lost identity with the support of our media and government.
Raheel Hassan studies journalism at National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.