Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Identity Crisis anyone?

What percentage of people in Pakistan look like THIS? 5%? 7%? Does this picture represent ANYTHING relating to this land? White people, celebrating white people holiday ... Piyar ka din hai ji...

Sassi punnooN aur Heer raaNjha meeN kiRay paRay haiN kia?

Mongrel nation with illusions of grandeur and a severe identity crisis celebrating a commercial holiday from faraway racist lands.

This is Pakistan.


karachi khatmal said...

what would you rather have us celebrate? milads and dars and rallies for gaza? there's nothing to fucking do here man. at least this way we can see some skin on display... :P

Hassan Naveed said...

Karachi khatmal is one of them (with identity issues)...
I support you Ghost of TK...

Taban Khamosh said...

Well even the dars/milad etc are rather culturally foreign and wouldn't be appropriate for celebration of carnal love.

This is why I mentioned sassi/punnu, heer/ranjha. I must say I find it ironic that you didn't recognize the reference in this particular context ;-p

What pisses me off is that our ideals of 'beauty' are foreign, our myths are foreign, our 'special days' are foreign. We hate ourselves and our dark skins so much that when we talk of ourselves, we pretend to be 'oters'.

A typical Pakistani couple doesn't look like this (and I'm not necessarily referring to that ghey dopatta the guy is wearing).

Most pakistani men are scrawny, dark brown, with cheezy hairstyles and a 'stache (I'm not going to comment on beards) .. Most pakistani women are less 'hispanic' looking than this specimen.

My problem is that we as a nation, aesthetically, metaphorically, look in the mirror and hate what we see.

Adeel said...

Dressing up in westernized clothes is about as bad (or as good) as dressing up in long flowing robes. But that has nothing to do with the root of your gripe? Does it?

Why we look outside our country for inspiration has a lot to do with lack of awareness/education and even more so due to the economic infrastructure.

BTW how someone chooses to dress is their personal affair (to a large extent)... pick something else to get angry about! :-p

Taban Khamosh said...

@Adeel: I don't think it takes much of an 'infrastructure' to think of "pagRi, Kurta & dhoti" as an acceptable and perfectly honourable dress.

Our models have no qualms in looking like the "shehzadas" depicted in bachoon-ki-dunya or Alf-Laila knock-off litrature, but they don't think of kurta-dhoti as an acceptable mode of cultural expression.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that our "identity" is mere phantasy/fiction. We think we know who we are, but we deny every single thing that makes us from the land.

We make connection with a fantasy and disconnect ourselves from the land (because it is soobai-taassub)... We have failed to build an identity out of the multiple identities that we started with. We suppressed local identities which we could use to build a national identity in favor of a fantasay come out of the narrow mindsets of a few bureaucrats.

Instead of cooperating to give rise to a "pakistani" identity, the local national identities have been engaged in a self-destructive war with each other and with the "pakistani identity from the top" ...

The stalemate was reached when a 3rd party identity was brought in.

For the middle classes it is the Abaya and the Hijab and for the thin sliver of the "ruling/upper" classes it is the western clothes.

But everyone agrees on one thing: Fair color is better than dark color. Conveniently, here the two outside cultures co-inside. The westerners are about as white as the "khus shakal" Arabs.

All the while we have been ignoring the elephant in the room, the 80% of the population which consists of scrawny, dark-brown, dhoti, kurta shalwar kameez wearing lower classes. We are afraid to look in the proverbial mirror without slathering our faces with the proverbial "Ponds Beauty Cream" (and looking like Hanuman Impersonators in the process)

karachi khatmal said...

i completely agree with you on the issue of a lack of an organic, and truthful identity in pakistan - but then again unrealistic conceptions of beauty are abound through out the modern world.

what does bother me is that for most people the fact that valentine's day is being celebrated pisses them off. i don't personally love it, but the only reason its catching on is because pakistanis lack any sort of entertainment. and if we mention that, people immediately declare an identity crisis. typically, spring, which comes around february was marked by basant. but everyone now thinks basant is unholy and debaucherous as well.

its true that hijabs and jeans alike are not ours, but we'll need to creat alternatives before we decide to wipe them out.

in russia they created a new festival for lovers to resist valentine's day. perhaps we can start something immortalizing sassi-pannu, heer-ranjha etc. although i am sure the moral police would have a cow about that as well.

you'll notice again that most people will commend you for protesting valentine's day, but would be equally pissed if you suggested a desi replacement.