We are once again blessed with the Holy month of Ramadan. It is the month of blessings and redemption. We’ve all been taught to try to do good as much as possible during the span of these blessed days, as each virtuous act is rewarded 7 times more during this lunar month. All of your Islamiat teachers probably told you that this is the month you get to harvest for your afterlife. However, it is pretty hard to work for the afterlife when you hear of all the rewards that are being rewarded to people in this life on your TV screens, right?
As I am sitting in my room, writing this article, I can hear Shahid Afridi (retired cricketer), the new host of ARY’s Ramadan transmission after the sad demise of Junaid Jamshaid, awarding bikes to some “lucky winners”. Till a few years back, this was the time I would hear Tilawat of Quran in my ears, but now, it’s “Firdos ki lawn apki hui” and “Dubai ka ticket apka hua”.
The Ramadan TV shows that entailed various learned religious scholars illuminating different aspects of Islam to the audience while answering different queries regarding religion are long gone, replaced with shows in which we find the audience begging the host for “gifts”. Can one even call these gifts? From personal experience, I’ve never received a gift after being ridiculed or insulted and these shows do just that.
The hosts of these shows do a great job at disrespecting and degrading their audience. They have been doing so since quite some time now. Is this the reason the audience seems to have become immune to all the insult they go through in order to attain a “gift”? The “motay motay uncle and auntiyan” that Fahad Mustafa calls on his stage for dancing can’t seem to shake the grins off of their faces when the entire crowd (and the rest of Pakistan) laughs at them for their obesity. These shows impart a very negative view of our nation and country. In pursuit of these gifts, people are willing to go to any length , and in doing so, exhibit to the world just how greedy and immature we can be.
Islam teaches unity and brotherhood; these shows encourage their audience to step over one another, make fun of each other- just to ‘earn’ a pair of service’ shoes! The chaos that take place to attain that the pair of shoes leaves one wondering whether the feet that are supposed to wear them are left in such a state to be able to do so.
Religion is used as a marketing tool in these transmissions as the actors and singers that we see singing and dancing all year, promoting the most vulgar fashions, completely change their persona during this month. Not only does their wardrobe take a 180-degree U-turn- the ripped jeans and short T-shirts being replaced by shalwar kameez- but they even begin preaching Islam! The level of hypocrisy one witnesses from their side is on another level. Every year these actors use these fake, pious personas to cash in on Ramadan.
It’s hard to pin-point when exactly it all went wrong. When did the Islamic quiz shoes get replaced by shows that offered a chance to win bikes, cars and now even airplanes? When did the TV transmissions that included informative discussion about Islam get replaced by transmissions that have people being forced to eat ‘aam’ for a bike?
One can argue that quizzes do take place during these transmissions. I am sorry to inform, but insane questions like “which coloured shirt was I wearing in my last show” don’t count as an informative question of a quiz show!
Have we lost the spirit of Ramadan to the race of ratings?
Our TV industry has clearly lost all sense of responsibility that it ever had towards the Pakistani nation in the blindfold of ratings that covers their eyes. However, this does not mean that we should negate our responsibility as individuals too. We should hold our morals, dignity, and integrity high and not give into the vile of shows that offer Mercedes Benz, and other materialistic things that force people to forget the true essence of Ramadan.
During the month of Ramadan, one should try to make effort to get closer to Allah rather than get tempted to win an airplane, and in the process, wasting the entire day to get in the hall where the show takes place. This month offers us ample amount of time for prayers and charity. It is high time for us, as a nation, to improve our state. We need to work for our own betterment and start rejecting these Ramadan transmissions that are nothing but a means to ridicule not only us but our beloved country Pakistan.
Today is 28th of May, the day Pakistan performed its first nuclear test. Let ‘youm-e-Takbir’ remind us what self-integrity and dignity is!
A very Ramadan Mubarak to all of you.