I always received questions on social media from people who lived in other provinces of Pakistan asking me weird stuff about the province I live in. Like “Oh so you are from Balochistan, so do you guys have Wi-Fi there?” Dude, how am I online then!
I ignored such questions because I thought it is just the people who live in the fantasy world of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and knows nothing about the real world out there. Nevertheless, people’s ignorance really came to the fore when I joined university in the capital of Pakistan.
The journey started when on the first day of my university, I went to the administration office to receive my university student card. The women in the administration office who was distributing cards asked me “where I was from?” because I looked different. I told her “I’m from Balochistan”. She looked at me “Oh so is Balochistan a part of Pakistan?” I was utterly shocked at what kind of question is this. I stammered “Yes”.
All she said was “okay don’t mind I was just checking.” I did not get her point of what does that word “Checking” meant there. I found that later when I properly joined university and face more pathetic questions like
“Oh so does people kill each other there?”
well then I might be a ghost here!
“Why do you guys want to be separated from Pakistan?”
like seriously, who says!
“OMG how did they let you come to another city all the way from that backward province?”
“Wait so you are not Baloch? Then why are you from Balochistan?”
why you no watch TV girl!
“So you guys hear bomb blast and stuff. How do you live there?”
well you might have mistaken Afghanistan for Balochistan!
“I have heard all the terrorist organizations live there, why you keep them?”
Well what can I say we have plenty of space, you know, being the largest province area wise!
“So you came here because there are no universities?”
Someone please kill me!
At first, I felt irritated and answered the questions anyway. I felt alien living alone in the new city, which these questions made more difficult. Sometimes they asked me the same questions and sometimes there was a new version to their weirdness.
Nevertheless, the irritation turned in to pity soon when one day I met a friend who had a presentation on cultural show, where her group had to perform the Sindhi culture. She asked me for help I told her I would help her. She showed me the material she had collected; I got confused and asked her again if which culture she has to perform and she again told me it is Sindhi. I was devastated when I saw the material she had collected seemed to depict Punjabi Culture.
Her knowledge about culture made me feel terrible, and that was where I knew that Balochistan is not the only place they know nothing about but they do not know their own roots. Who is on the fault? Parents, Society and Media. The three pillars of the modern age on whom kids these days rely on and get their information. How would kids know about their roots when their parents themselves do not know about what culture they belong to and how enrich our culture is?
Pakistan is one of the countries who have the deepest, enriched and colorful culture and needs no words to describe. In this busy day life where people barely find free time and in that free time their source of entertainment are all type of media, whether its TV, Radio or connection to social media. These mediums are not fulfilling their duties, as they are the only source of information for new generation. The duty of reviving our long-lost culture falls on the shoulders of media.
I miss the time when PTV national used to have specific slots for people of all cultures and provided the relevant information. Everyone knew what our regional languages are and what thing belongs to what culture. Our News channels brings in the news, which benefit them in terms of ratings and social media engagement metrics. Our TV channels only play dramas, which bring in the ratings and advertisements’.
TV is only source of passing time for consumers and source of money for marketers. It is a pity that our new generation knows nothing about its culture and we are letting our culture die. People, who live in the same country, share the same sentiments for their country but knows nothing about what is happening in the neighboring province.
How can we say we will make this country proud and give it the place it worth is when we do not have proper knowledge about the surroundings of our country?
Also published on Daily Pakistan.