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. Ridiculous questions like “Oh so you are from Balochistan, so is there Wi-Fi?” Dude, how am I online then!
I ignored such questions because I thought they were just coming from people who live in the fantasy world of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and who know nothing about the real world out there. But people’s ignorance really came to the fore when I started university in the capital of Pakistan.
On the first day of my university, I went to the administration office to receive my university student card. The woman 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?” The stupidity and ignorance behind the question took me aback, and I only managed to stammer “Yes”. All she said was “okay don’t mind I was just checking.” I didn’t 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?”
All she said was “Okay. Don’t mind, I was just checking.” I didn’t understand what was there to “check”. I found that later when I started classes and began to face more pathetic questions like “Oh so do people kill each other there?”
Well, then am I a ghost here?
“Why do you guys want to be separated from Pakistan?”
Like seriously, who told you that?
“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 blasts and stuff. How do you live there?”well, you might have mistaken Afghanistan for Balochistan!
Well, you might have mistaken Afghanistan for Balochistan!
“I have heard all the terrorist 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 cause there are no universities?”
Someone please kill me!
At first, I felt irritated and answered the questions anyway. It is very difficult adjusting to a new city as it is, and dealing with these questions made it even worse.
Sometimes I was asked the same questions and sometimes there was a new version to their weirdness. But the irritation turned into pity soon when one day I offered to help a friend who was present Sindhi culture for a cultural show.
After I took a look at the material she collected for her presentation, I was confused for a bit. She had repeatedly told me she had to showcase Sindhi culture, but everything she had seemed to depict Punjabi culture.
Her knowledge about culture made me feel terrible, and that was when I realized that it was only natural for them to be ignorant about Balochistan when they knew so little about their own roots. Who is at fault? Parents, Society and Media. These are the three pillars of the modern age on whom kids rely for their information. How would kids know about their roots when their parents themselves don’t know what culture they belong to and how rich it is?
Pakistan is one of those few countries in the world with the deepest, richest and most colourful culture that can hardly be described in words. In this busy life where people barely find free time and in that free time their source of entertainment is all types of media, a large portion of the blame for this ignorance does fall on the shoulders of the media.
It is important that they step up and help to revive what we have lost. 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 only talk about news which would benefit them in terms of ratings and social media engagement metrics, and our TV channels only play dramas which would bring in the advertisers. TV was once considered the source of information but now it is only a source of entertainment for consumers and a source of earnings for marketers. It is a great pity that our new generation knows nothing about its culture and we are letting our culture die. There is now a large number of people who live in the same country, share the same sentiments for their country but know nothing about what is happening in the neighbouring province. How can we say we’ll make this country proud and give it its due when we don’t have proper knowledge about the surroundings of our country?Share: