Our culture started to merge with Western values when satellite dishes started their mushrooming growth in the 1990s. Until the mid 1990s Pakistan had a public television channel as well as a private one . Both programs broadcast with content aligned with our society. We remember the simple but empowering dramas of the 1980s and 1990s that the whole family watched diligently.
However, the emergence of satellite dishes and later the arrival of cable television diluted our culture as outside factors began to enter our minds. These factors have made their way in the form of fashion, language and music. In the early 2000s, young people were seen sporting a “spike” hairstyle adapted from Western media or perhaps Indian media. Wearing baggy shirts and baggy jeans was another fashion statement young people made during this time.
Our culture, however, got lost in the transition. After independence, our elders promoted our culture which included wearing sherwani, shalwar kameez, waistcoat, safari chappal, Jinnah hat, shawl, etc. This tendency to promote national costume and culture was evident well into the 1980s and even into the 1990s.
People’s thought process changed due to their exposure to media and when their relatives and friends started moving abroad, mainly to the United States, Europe or the United Arab Emirates. The experiences they shared about these foreign societies during their visits to Pakistan helped create a new cultural framework in the minds of those who have never been abroad.
Our culture was also defined by the fine sense of elegance that was reflected in the way we converted. Urdu poetry and prose have made us aware of our heritage and cultural heritage. Imagine a conversation where greetings, greetings and gestures remain of paramount importance.
People used words from Urdu language and those derived from Persian language. Gone are the days of greeting each other by saying “Adaab” or using phrases such as “Kya guftagu chal rahi hai?” (What are you talking about?), ‘Aap ki kheriat maloom karni thi’ (I wanted to know more about your well-being), ‘Humaray saath khana nosh famrain’ (Please have lunch/dinner with us).
The culture also began to change when our attitudes and behaviors began to shift. People started using Urdu slang words casually. Schools did not pay attention to promoting Urdu as a language. The teachers only teach the course for the pleasure of teaching.
Moreover, the mode of education in English has also diluted the presence of Urdu in our society and eventually our culture. Speaking Urdu in a school where everyone speaks English is considered a mistake. Urdu is not just a language; it’s a lifestyle. Part of this way of life is lost over the years.
This classical culture was introduced to Pakistan at the time of partition when migrants from Lucknow, Delhi, Aligarh and other parts of India settled in Pakistan. This cultured, graceful and refined language is still spoken but only in restricted circles.
Some families in the Pakistani metropolis still converse with such beautiful words. Our new generation and millennials are unaware of our glorious past and the melodious language we call Urdu.