By Ali Shahid Zohaib, TS2A
Can kissing on the mass media between two young (and unmarried) people be justified in our Pakistani society? Of course no, definitely no; the simple and obvious reason is that we are an Islamic nation with religious ideals that forbid acts of affection in public. One more reason is the feudal nature of our society in which women are counted as assets and are usually dealt with an unwritten code of ghairat.
Kissing which considered as a very pure, innocent and sweet expression of love in the west is a taboo to be done in public in Pakistan. In our friends circle we talk with excitement about the sexual liberties in the West. It thrills our souls with adrenaline rushes when we think of western youth having the freedom of expressing love in public. It spices up our gossipy stories of You-Know-Who being caught kissing You-Know-Whom under the library tables. Besides kissing is not always a form of carnal expression of love. We have casual flying muahs by the socialite begums, the Arab style of cheek kissing at diplomatic parties. Some find entertainment in images of celebrities passionately embracing each other in acts of expressions of innocent love. Some also find enjoyment in these items in 3 hour Indian movies with numerous kissing scenes and what not. And who doesn’t feel for the characters at the end of a movie when the hero passionately kisses the heroine?
If we consider kissing so pure and innocent then why do we exhibit such hypocrisy? Why is it that the whole media of Pakistan starts a campaign when one of our film actresses kisses an Indian actor in an Indian movie? Why is it that our ghairat was jolted awake when a Pakistani daughter was being kissed by an Indian son whereas the same ghairat remained in deep slumber when Mai Mukhtaran was raped in the grounds of Meerwala by Pakistani sons?
The 21st century is the age of materialism and lust has got real existence in today’s society. The fast moving world has given birth to the rule of lust. The suffocation in our society which is the result of confusion between the materialism of west and the moralism of mullahs has given delivery to a confused generation. We need to define who we are and also map out the direction we want to go in. If we want a Talibanized version of an Islamic republic then we need to ban every form of show business and head start towards a harsh puritanical society, the eventual result of which predicts widespread homosexuality, depression among women and increase in social evils like marriage with Quran and karo-kari (Practiced in some tribal districts of Pakistan, it is a law made by tribal landlords according to which women who are seen interacting with unknown men are killed by gang rape).
On a similar node, since the buzzword these days is a softer image for Pakistan we have all sorts of flashy functions going on to project ourselves as a colorful, loving and expressive nation. But this is all going to prove futile. Our culture and heritage is indeed grand but what we are offering to the international community is actually daal as compared to the biryanis offered by India, Thailand and Malaysia. Taking the example of Malaysia and Indonesia which are also Muslim countries, they package lust and sex in their tourist brochures and CNN commercials. It is true that our culture has no such charm and appeal. But our culture is boring and dead to international people not because it has no substance or color but because we don’t offer anything tempting like lust and sex and erotica.
In short I don’t mean to suggest that we should open up strip clubs and nude beaches in Pakistan. My idea of a culturally liberal Pakistan is where there is freedom of expression not only in media but also other forms of art like dance, music and literature. We need to soften and liberalize the censor policy of the Pakistani film and television industry. It is sad but true that the western concept of liberty equates with that of sexual liberty so unless we allow some personal freedom in Pakistan, we cannot project an image of a liberal Pakistan.