This beautiful month (RAMAZAN) calls for sharing and feeling for others, not answering nonsensical questions and winning material products.
Tune in to one of our many local Ramazan transmissions on television and learn everything you need to know about the new face of the holy month.
We fast from sunrise to sunset, making sure our greed and desire to want stays under control, only to unleash it with a vengeance on one of Amir Liaquat or Fahad Mustafa’s Ramazan special shows, to name but two of the prominent ones.
On these shows, you are taught that nothing matters more than winning a JunaidJamshed suit, a pair of Servis shoes and perhaps a ‘Voice kigari’.
Previously, such transmissions comprised of learned religious scholars who would discuss Islamic issues and answer audience questions pertaining to religious teaching. This would be followed by a recitation of a naat or a dua, and the transmission would be over by iftar time.
No shenanigans, no games, no quizzes – a simple programme on religion.
Now, some might argue that these shows were too plain, boring and lacked excitement but I believe the content back then was much classier and more fit for our religion than the ‘game shows’ we have started to indulge in today.
Ramazan shows today provide very little knowledge of anything, let alone religion, and there is no inspiration that can be drawn to douse our curiosity regarding religion. In fact, the effect is quite the opposite. These transmissions inspire crudeness, an extreme level of greed and lack of empathy.
Show hosts are seen making fun of people, exhibiting uncultured humour and making personal comments – all in such bad taste – and all in the name of Ramazan! Why? I feel like I am watching some backwards, cheesy theatre show or movie rather than a religious programme.
A typical Ramazan transmission today begins with a discussion between a deranged host and a bunch of maulvis, who are clad in colourfully embroidered kurtas. Discussions on these shows amount, to little or, no religious knowledge being dispersed to the audience and before you know it, the host eagerly moves towards the ‘fun and games’ segment.
These transmissions start before iftar, continue during and go on way past iftar time! But it is after iftar that the quiz-show begins (a modern day version of NeelamGharbut is not nearly as good). Here I must say that at this point along with the hosts, even the audience exhibits extremely uncouth behaviour. To win a mobile phone or a designer lawn dress, the men and women both try to up the other in acting in the most ridiculous manner possible; self-respect, dignity, modesty, humbleness, and all other Islamic teachings, go out the window when it comes to winning a mere bottle of RoohAfza.
Where has the spirit of Ramazan gone?
These insane quizzes are not what Ramazan stands for. This beautiful month calls for sharing and feeling for others, not answering nonsensical questions and winning material products. Why can’t sponsors and channels donate their gifts and money to orphanages and hospitals or NGOs and have live shows with them?
The companies that sponsor these shows are at fault as well. I understand that advertising and marketing is important for any business but why can’t they think of other creative and more socially responsible ways to make their brands standout?
I agree that there are very limited entertainment avenues for us, and middle-income groups in particular, but there can be other ways to make TV shows more appealing and tasteful. Or in the very least, the producers of these shows could make sure that the content is less repulsive.
It is the responsibility of TV channels and multinational companies to put their efforts and money together and come up with creative, quality content – content that educates the masses, not stuns them back into ignorance.
In a society like ours, our media enjoys great power and shape our society’s moral fabric. Instead of producing mediocre, run-off-the-mill TV shows, our media industry must assume the role of a mature and responsible medium and work for, both, the entertainment and education of our society. We, the audience, do not want to be shamed any more.