Being exposed to jingoistic movies, continuous political coverage and polarised debates on TV shows, children in Pakistan are becoming politically aware at a very young age, Pakistani film-maker Fauzia Minallah observed.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 18 International Children’s Film Festival, she pointed out that this sort of exposure would have an adverse impact on their impressionable minds, particularly with regard to India.
There are certain movies made in India that blame Pakistan for all its problems, and in response,
Pakistani film-makers are coming out with movies that put the complete blame on India. This stereotyping vitiates the atmosphere and affects children’s understanding, she maintained.
The current trend does not bode well for India-Pakistan relationship, as children will grow up to become policy makers who are hostile to the concept of friendly relationship, she cautioned.
“Majority of children are exposed to TV shows that their parents watch and hence have strong opinions about political matters like blaming the American bombing of Afghanistan and supporting the 9/11 bombing. This is directly linked with the debates they are exposed to,” Ms. Minallah, who makes children’s films and writes books, said.
“The current problems being faced by Pakistani society is because of the education given to children two decades ago. The radicalisation of education curriculum and promotion of war-like culture have given rise to an entire generation of adults who considers violence as the only resort,” she explained.
Children in Pakistan live in a complicated environment, and one has to be careful in sending messages to this segment. “For this reason, there is a need for reforms in school curriculum to undo the effects of radicalisation,” she observed.
Children’s film segment is still in a nascent stage in Pakistan, but it can perform an important role in bringing these issues to the fore, she said.
On her expectations from Indian cinema, Ms. Minallah said Pakistani audience wanted to see original Indian content.
“Movies can build bridges and can also spread poison. I would like Indian movies - both children’s and general - to give a peek into Indian society and not indulge in jingoism,” she said.
People in India should not allow the evils of radicalisation to spread in the country, she added.