On Tuesday, May 17, members of Afghan senate or upper house of parliament censured government, in general, and Ministry of culture and information, in particular, for the so-called failing to protect Afghans' culture against foreign cultural invasion. Seemingly, our respective representatives are angry about Indian series, movies and songs which are instantly feeding several Private TV channels that remain desperate to fill their schedules. They are in view that such dramas were against Islamic teachings.
Two different subjects are mixed in their criticism of Ministry of culture and information. On one hand, they were talking about foreign cultural invasion, and, on the other, Islamic teachings. However, religion and culture are combined in such manner that differentiation between the two has become severely difficult. Meanwhile, there are differences, which cannot be ignored.
Taking from Middle East countries to Far-East Asian countries where Islam as a religion is followed by people, meanwhile their cultures are as different from one another as that of differences between Islam and Christianity. There are several Islamic countries in the world with secular culture as well. There are many things severely banned by religious teachings, but are widely practiced in the society, which people hardly take notice of.
Ostensibly, members of Upper House of parliament are mostly concerned about the consequences of Indian movies, and prevalence of English language. As one of them criticized why billboards of shops and other business centers were written in English instead of Pashto and Dari, the two national languages of Afghanistan.
As far as the first issue is concerned, this is not the first time that such concerns are voiced out in the country about the so-called foreign cultural invasion. Indian dramas have been the center of such criticism that conservatives called for their complete stoppage. But their demands were not fulfilled; however, there is some ridiculous criticism of Bollywood dramas where actresses appear with naked belly. But, generally, those movies and series are largely welcomed by Afghan people and Bollywood actresses and actors are quite popular in the country.
This general inclination has both social and psychological reasons. During Taliban regime, TV channels were prohibited. And no one was able to watch movies and series due to definite persecution. Similarly, years of bloodsheds and violence in the country terribly affected emotional feelings and sentiments of people. As most of these Indian dramas are based on fantasy and romantic love stories, they can actually respond to suppressed humanitarian feelings of people.