Saturday, March 5, 2011

'The Desert Out There'

Many of us have often had a laugh about Americans' woeful knowledge about the rest of the world.

Well, what would you say to this? A BBC Urdu correspondent roamed the streets of Punjab's largest and most cosmopolitan city, Lahore, to ask random people on the street how much they knew of Balochistan. His report is compiled under the heading "Punjab Balochistan Ko Kitna Jaanta Hai?" (How well does Punjab know Balochistan?). Keep in mind that Lahore is not a rural backwater where media is not easily accessible, that Punjab's population comprises some 60 percent of the Pakistan's population and that in the last three years, the issue of Balochistan has probably been one of the most talked about issues in domestic politics. Think for a moment what it says about our educational system, our media, our democracy, our policy-making,  our national integration and yes, our majoritarian chauvinism.

If this does not actually shock you, you're made of sterner stuff than I am. (Thanks to Akhtar Rind for pointing us to the link.)




29 comments:

Akhtar Rind said...

Thanks for taking notice and a post on such a short time. This is really alarming for barking quami media.

TLW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TLW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TLW said...

Thanks for putting this up. The ignorance was more saddening than surprising.

Hopefully you can get around to covering actual news about the Baloch media. There are a lot of pressured reporters over there.

And yes, I know secular-ish forces in Punjab, K-P and Balochistan are all under attack by religious extremists, and you end up focusing where its easiest, but maybe to cast an eye in another direction would be cool.

Again thanks for putting up the video XYZ.

TightDhoti said...

This is just more evidence for why greater interaction between people should be encouraged. The views of people who had actually went there were quite pragmatic.

Then again, it does seem keeping people purposely ambivalent on the happenings of Balochistan allows the state to do whatever they like and get away with it.

What I would have liked him to have asked the people was where do they think Sui Gas comes from?

Saba said...

I wonder why no one has commented about the determination of this report to target a community that the Baloch have learned to hate over time. Though the views expressed by people are shocking to say the least, it would have been more appropriate if the report was titled "Pakistan Balochistan ko kitna jaanta hai", comprising of views taken from all the big cities of Pakistan. I am positive the result would have been the same.

If 'Punjab', in this report, was used to suggest the knowledge of the 'centre' about Balochistan then I see no point in checking the public's general knowledge of Balochistan.

It is indeed fashionable these days to engage in Punjab bashing and alienating an entire population that has nothing to do with the sorry state of affairs in Baluchistan.

takhalus said...

Would be interesting to see other cities understanding of other provinces.

I was not surprised by the show, there is a serious disconnect. Bomb blast in Mardan gets no where near as much coverage from a human angle as other events.

Even target killings in Karachia re criminally under reported..

Shop Towel said...

It's always nice when you can not only be informed, but also get knowledge, from these type of blog, nice entry. Thanks

Anonymous said...

change your newspaper subscriptions to express tribune or daily times if an english paper comes to your house or office & to ” Aaj kal” if an urdu paper comes to your house & office & encourage your friends & relatives to do the same.These papers are the only ones brave enough to take on the relgious fanatics ruining our country.

Para Likha Punjab said...

Punjab, espeially lahore is the pits. For last many years all the Punjabies are ever interested in is Islam and India. That's all they talk about.

Really, Punjabies should travel more to places like Sindh and Karachi.

Sheraz said...

Sadly rather shamefully, a deplorable and bleak picture. But as a matter of fact, we just cant blame media for all the unawareness. Probably people them selves dont have a knack to know about their surroundings or dont consider a problem until they are affected by it themselves. Ironically, history of East Pakistan is being repeated wih utmost dedication and belief that no one learns any lesson from the history.

CoderInMaking said...

I am not sure whether it is as big a problem as it might seem to be. The situation is very much similar to what we see in india. For all the north indians people from south india are madrasis, Infact if you speak any of the languages other then punjabi, haryanvi, hindi and its various dialects, you are branded as a madrasi in north india. And its more or less the same in southern india. I am pretty much sure that the situation is smiliar in other bigger nations as well.

AA said...

Instead of lamenting this, i feel like using a choice abusive word and ask the Punjab government what are they teaching in their schools in Punjab. Any suggestions?

I have been increasingly feeling we need to start using gaali galoch to hold the responsible people accountable instead of feeling depressed. I am SICK of being depressed and disappointed all the time.

observer said...

Positives first-The elderly gentleman was spot on about lack of educational and employment oppotunities.

On the flipside, Domestic tourism seems to be non-existent.People seem to believe that if you are not visiting a place there is no need to know about it.
Icing on the cake was the young lady consigning Balochistan to history.

Iqbal Baloch said...

How many of honestly can answer that there is larger Balochistan which is part of Iran? And there is major Baloch population in the gulf or Afghanistan? Or almost all the of southern Punjab is Baloch,and so is Sindh, ask any of them from Zardari to Legari's, Chandio's, Mazari's, Magsi's Khosha's and Buledi's and what ever in between. The truth of the matter is that Baloch's make at leat 35% of indigenous Pakistani population. They are systemically abused in Iran in the name of religion as most of them are sunni muslims but here in Pakistani Zardari is the most famous Shia and at the same time a Baloch.
And as far Shargil Baloch is considered, does he speak any Balochi? I doubt it, as he lived in Balochi town and all he could ever speak was Urdu.

beyond said...

yeah i was really shocked.i mean,does nobody read books whatsoever.i know a norwegian guy who is from oslo.when he met me for the first time,he said are you a panjabi.i was really surprised that he asked me this question as many people dont even know about pakistan,let alone punjab.but he said that his neighbors in oslo are from balochistan and they have told him that panjabis are really not nice as they have taken control of all over pakistan and balochis are not given their rights and they called themselves balochi instead of pakistanis.

the point is after watching this video,i can understand their frustration(and i am a panjabi my self)

Muhammad Hamza said...

This is too shocking!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Cafe Pyala, kindly mention somewhere in your post that such reports are generally very biased and do not give an accurate description of the respondents. There is an obvious selection bias that cannot be overcome in such reports but even worse the reporter can deliberately alter the message by conveniently dropping the respondents who give the right answers.

-Amjad

Ozymandias said...

Honestly speaking, these are just a collection of Vox Pops, and anyone who's worked in TV can tell you what those are usually like. It would have been more revealing had the reporter chosen a more representative sample. At the moment, it's just like Leno's jaywalking. Sadly, most people the world over are simply willingly uninformed...it's not just a Pakistani burden.

Hamza Bin Ladin said...

Though I agree with Anonymous Amjad.



http://hamza-the-philosophaster.blogspot.com/

Sakib Ahmad said...

Don't see the point of this 'survey' given the abysmal level of literacy in Pakistan. The "educated" people who are having a laugh or showing fake amazement should pause and reflect on the following two articles:

http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=34403&Cat=9

http://sakibahmad.blogspot.com/2010/01/punjab-governments-own-goal.html
[please treat the comments thereon as an integral part of the article - you may leave your own comments]

Anonymous said...

When I saw this video, a few thoughts came to mind...

Why only align it as a 'How Punjabis are ignorant about the plight of Balochistan'..?

If this isn't a method of spreading propaganda, then I don't know what is.. Just imagine, if I had been a balochi, having had some bad scuffle with a punjaib.. I'd been wanting (more) to wring a punjabi's neck after seeing this report..

Again, why vent an argument? I am 100% sure that if you asked a Balochi about Sindh, or a Sindhi about KP, you'd get the same response.

Reason: Our education system is shite... I remember very clearly there being barely a page about Balochistan in the social studies text books during my primary years.Plus, our media ensures that all the juicy spicy bits reach the headlines, other boring stuff can either be crammed in to a telip or not be bothered about at all.

Personally, even though the general ignorance of the people (and myself) saddens me, yet the title of the video, its timing, the presenter's attitude, .. is all giving it such a bad air, that its only making me worried about how a punjabi would be now viewed by a balochi...

ALI said...

I agree with the anonymus writer just abovr my comments.
I am feeling sorry about the situation and our enemies taking all advantage of it very systemetically.
If you ask the same questions about Punjab/Sindh?KP from a baloch in Qalat/Quetta, you will definitely find the same level of knowledge and ignorance. I know our educational system is decaying but this survey could be explained in hundreds of ways. It does not show at all that all Punjabi's are against Balochis.
It is not the Punjabi who is culprit, it is our greedy leadership from all tribes (with big proportion from massive population of Punjab) who are the culprits.
After thoudands of years of bloody wars, Europe is uniting under EU and we all recognise the power of unity in the form of United states of America. Had it not been united; it would not be the only Super power.
Our enemies want to divide us in small 'match box like' states, as in arabian peninsula, so that they could enjoy our resorces with much ease. And we are going in the same way they want us to go.
Mat God bless our country and give us the strength to get our rights from our ellite class.

Anonymous said...

Y'all, please spare the usual knee-jerk conspiracy/ western media prejudice comments. the bbc reporter makes the point before the vox pops that *given* the way the conflict is seen in balochistan, and the anti-punjabi animosity of the baloch nationalists, it would be instructive to see how the punjabi populace perceived the conflict. the report points out what is in effect the disconnect between government (represented to the balochis by army, isi etc) and the people on whose ostensible behalf they take action. what are the reasons for that, that one can argue at length. but at the least it's clear that there is a shocking degree of apathy and lack of interest in even knowing about a troubled part of *our own country*. please do remember this is the road that took us to 1971 too.

lala said...

congratulations on such successful negative use of media. Use your brain. its better, if you made similar duration video and give useful information and issues with balouchistan, that we all should be aware of.
it seems this video is to promote "provintialism" or "sobaiyat" or "localism".
its rediculas / pathetic. go n make vice versa video of any province and you'll get similar response. maximum, ppl are aware of main metropolitian cities, thats it. its not their fault. it should not be blamed.
i am not sure, may be you brainwashed yourself and doing this with awareness or in ignorance(by some bbc type biased organization, intended all this for pakistan ). May Allah show you right path and give you strength and wisdom to use your weapons in right direction.
i wish ppl stop using these words "province names" and use "pakistan"
logically you should hate me even more, because i don't know even this much about any place in pakistan.

Malik said...

Very very sad after watching the video.

Anonymous said...

The BBC anchor person, a Baloch himself, starts with testing general knowledge of apparently ignorant street people. Their replies are hardly surprising. As the anchor approaches a more learned audience he gets decent answers. Must say a lopsided capturing of public opinion.

Tahir said...

Dear Anonymous above (1:35), your idea of "learned" and "decent" is obviously far removed from anything the rest of us understand. If these were "decent answers" from a "learned audience", God help Pakistan!

Anonymous said...

Balochistan is suffering badly because of pakistan army .

Recently a professor was killed by pakistan agency.

We are not pakistani any more and we want compelte independence from pakistan.