All activities come to halt in Afghanistan to watch Indian soap operas

March 7th, 2008 - 5:45 pm ICT by admin  

Kabul, Mar 7 (ANI): The Afghans are so engrossed with the Dari versions of Ekta Kapoors never ending Hindi family dramas, that all activities come to a grinding halt at 8.30 p.m. in Afghanistan.
In Mazar-e-Sharif one day, thieves removed tyres of a Toyota Land Crusier parked outside a house and put a signboard saying “Thanks Tulsi”.
Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi is the most popular of all these Indian soap operas and Tulsi is regarded as the most popular bahu (daughter-in-law) in Afghanistan.
People do not take telephone calls and most of the mobiles are off, even the marriage ceremonies are programmed in a way that the guests are able to watch the soap. Two separate TV sets, one each for the male and female guests are installed at the marriage venues and all activity is stopped for half an hour.
Sharing the same family and cultural traditions and values, the Afghans relate themselves greatly with the Indian family serials. The most patronising the housewives and children who don have much outside activities and entertainment available to them.
What has miffed the mullahs the most is that the number of people attending the evening namaz has come down drastically.
Afghanistans self appointed spiritual and cultural guardians feel threatened by the most popular soap operas being telecast on local Afghan channels.
The Islamic Council of Scholars, referred to as Ulema sought a ban on these serials singling out scenes that depict romance and Hindu gods in the homes of soap opera characters as “spreading immorality and un-Islamic culture.”
Council clerics accuse the dramas of encouraging idol worship, even though Hindu images are pixelated and scenes of Hindu worship are cut.
The hardliners have also targeted Tolo TV’s flagship pop programs - “Hop,” a local MTV-style show, and “Afghan Star,” the nation’s version of “American Idol” in which demure female participants sing while wrapped in traditional head scarves.
New TV stations have proliferated in the last three years, offering a mix of hard-hitting news that is often critical of the government and light entertainment that draws the wrath of religious hard-liners.
Indian soaps are said to be popular even in the conservative province of Helmand and in remote areas where residents are willing to exhaust precious fuel to crank up their generators to watch evening soaps.
Tolo TV, Afghanistan’s first commercial channel, shows three Indian dramas: “Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani (The Story of Every Home),” “Kasauti Zindghi Ki (The Trials of Life)” and ” Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (Because a Mother-in-Law Was Too Once a Daughter-in-Law).” Some other channels air as many as six Indian soap operas daily. (ANI)

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