Language Apartheid

26 Oct

Fateh Flotilla - Fateh Flood

Do people who can read only Urdu deserve to be fed a different diet of analysis and facts than the average consumer of the English language media? Such seems to be the case in Pakistan. Renowned English and Urdu columnist in English and Urdu, famous TV anchor and the Fateh of the Gaza Flotilla who singlehandedly faced the jewish, Israeli murderous onslaught while not backing away from the reporting frontlines; Talat Hussain seems to have multiple personality disorder – and that is the kind explanation for the sexist, racist and lurid analysis he produced in a popular Urdu daily. A great translation and reading between the lines to extract the true meaning of the text has already been done by Kala Kawa (here) but to summarize, Fateh Flotilla has put Angelina Jolie’s recent remarks on the lavishness of Pakistani rulers in times of national crisis and tragedy into context by describing in painful detail the faults and flaws of Ms. Jolie. He concludes that even a completely morally corrupt, debased, psychopathic, lesbian found the behavior of Pakistani politicians terrible so it must indeed be terrible if even so terrible a being found it terrible.

Solid Analysis. Well done Fateh Flood!

While Cafe Pyala has written extensively and eloquently about the hypocrisy and bigotry of Mr. Hussain (here), I want us to focus on his multiple personality disorder. I did a search for the articles that he had written for the english language publication of Express and found them to be rather balance pieces on issues of governance and national security. None of them pontificated on the relative morality of celebrities. None of them reeked of bigotry. And were rather balanced pieces instead. So it made me wonder why Mr. Hussain had to stoop to such absurdities while writing in Urdu?

a) He has multiple personality disorder.

b) He’s a bigot and a hypocrite

c) Or maybe we all have total disconnect disorder.

The response to Mr. Hussain’s article is a combination of situations b and c.  He is a bigot and a hypocrite and deserves the outrage being heaped on him. But the collective surprise and disgust of the Pakistani blogosphere at the writings of Mr. Hussain is also testimony to the fact of how little our blogging world connects with the world of Urdu journalism. Writings like his piece on Jolie are a regular feature in the hallowed columns of the Urdu Press. Over the top language used to construct elaborate conspiracy theories on social and political issues is the norm. Facts are not in high demand. Drama dominates in the Urdu press. And its a much more complicated world than our wold of laptops, blogs and enlightened debate. What Talat Hussain wrote is not new to the Urdu Press.

This is troubling because the majority of the Pakistani public relies on the Urdu columnists for their daily dose of analysis and opinion. They are the leading opinion makers amongst the masses – not you and me with our little laptops and our little blogs and our little read articles in English papers. Therefore, when Talat Hussain writes those balanced pieces in English and then such lurid trash in Urdu, he exposes not just his own hypocrisy but that of our media as a whole. We feed different segments of our society different qualities of analysis and facts and we further broaden the class divide that exists in our society.

We must read more of the Urdu media – it will either desensitize us to such trash or the Urdu media gauging a change in readership will be forced to produce something more balanced.

But till then and for the near future – Urdu media shapes public opinion and determines the national discourse on important social and policy matters.  Therefore, the media – which is regularly shouting for greater accountability and responsibility from all those in power, needs to exhibit some of the same its self. The media needs to be less business and a little more pillar of the state. And if this is to be the case, then Urdu columnists like Talat and Co. must be held accountable for their language schizophrenia.

So the next time someone tells you, the fly sitting on your food is a hindu-zionist-american conspiracy, take pity on the poor soul. They have been fed on a constant diet of tripe in the Urdu press. The likes of Talat and Co. have debilitated their capacity to think, analyze and prioritize. Don’t hate them. Hate Talat Hussain.


4 Responses to “Language Apartheid”

  1. Sakib Ahmad October 28, 2010 at 2:50 am #

    I seem to have ended up here more by accident than design. I am saddened to read this piteous piece of writing by a Pakistani blogger whose mind has been conditioned through long exposure to an alien culture and its language. The curse of celebrity worship is destroying western societies through a general process of dumbing down and trivialisation of values which are essential for maintaining stable societies.

    Talat Hussain has simply held up a mirror to the brainwashed Pakistanis – a veritable army of yes-men and women to whatever becomes fashionable in the West – in which they have seen their hideously distorted features and have recoiled in horror. Talat is quite right: so many members of our westernised elite today rank , in moral terms, lower than the Hollywood actress who visited Pakistan recently.

    Thank God for Talat Hussain who has found a way to live successfully in the weird Pakistani society without sacrificing his language and his culture.

  2. Ayesha October 30, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    I very much agree with you sakib. Talat Hussain happens to be a very decent and rational person unlike many brainwashed secular minded leftist trash who are spreading their garbage views by distorting what other people say or write. His views regarding Angelina Jolie are absolutly correct. What is the big deal about it, i fail to understand. The message he is trying to convey is the fact that the immorality of our politicians knows no bounds when worthless people with no background stand up and point out their inadeqacies. So what if he spoke low of Angelina. Why every Tom Dick and Harry has to be a’ thaikaaydaar’ of Angelina’s honor. Do they have nothing better to write about. Such people had many issues when Facebook was banned in Pakistan because it dishonored our prophet . Their hearts cried tears of blood for the loss FB had to bear. I didnt read any article by such people that glorified the best of Human beings Muhammad (saw). But they are now raising a great hue and cry in defending a woman who is living with a man not married to her, producing babies out of wedlock..You know what they are called right B*******.

    Its people who worship the west and everything associated with it who are bigots and hypocrites. Every atocity the west commits is justified but if any muslim even dares to express his/her judgements or opinions , they ought to be shunned by the society and labelled as terrorists, hypocrites, fundamentalist and so on.

    I am definitely not going to take pity on the ‘poor soul’ who tells me that the fly sitting on my food is a hindu zionist american conspiracy but will certainly take pity on people who are in denial about all such stuff. Infact they themselves have been fed by the western media so long that they fail to call spade a spade. They are biased individuals who will do anything to belittle Islam, Muslims and Conservatives. And will go to any extent to praise the efforts of Prem Chand and Angeline Jolie..Tsk Tsk,Their ignorance knows no bounds. I believe if such people enrich themselves with diverse knowledge and see the two sides rather than hold a myopic view and rant about it, it would be much better.

    Btw there many sites made by American themselves that expose the reality of things that many people disregard as conspiracy theories. And there is a logical explaination as well as evidence. But people who see with one eye will never understand. Inner eye works when Iman sets in which is something we muslims as well as muslims in namesake terribly lack:)

    I pray that Allahg guides all such people who have succumbed to the lies and deceptions of this world.

    • Sakib Ahmad October 31, 2010 at 12:40 am #

      Thanks, Ayesha, for a realistic appraisal of Pakistani ‘high’ society. I agree entirely. I have today written a blog post of my own on the subject of Jolie’s visit to Pakistan and the insane reaction to Talat Hussain’s article. I believe you will be directed there if you click on my name. If that doesn’t work I’ll leave a link here.


  1. Tweets that mention Language Apartheid « Sehar Says…. -- - October 27, 2010

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