In 1936 the Indian National Congress launched the Muslim Mass Contact Movement, a propaganda campaign meant to target the common muslim masses. The purpose of this movement was to gain favour of the muslim masses against the Muslim League, and convince them that the Congress was the only true representative party of the people of India. The movement, however, had other motives, having its roots in the extremist Hindutva ideology. It’s main aim was to bring the muslims under the influence of Hindu Culture, to convince them of the superiority of the Hindus, and to instill doubts and a sense of inferiority regarding their culture, so they would be ready to abandon their support for the Muslim League and endorse and support the Congress. In fact, Allama Iqbal deemed these actions of the Congress to be a form of Shuddhi, which means forceful conversion of the muslims to Hinduism.
This extremist Hindutva ideology received full expression the following year, after the 1937 elections, when the Congress formed its goverment under Goverment of India Act 1935. Though the Congress claimed to be a representative party of both Hindus and Muslims, the bias of its leaders in favour of Hindus made it obvious that it was a purely Hindu party. The two and a half years of Congress rule proved to be a worst nightmare for the Indian Muslims. Every measure was taken to efface Muslim culture and identity and to promote Hindu culture. Hindi was declared to be the national language, Band e Mataram, an anti Muslim song was made the national anthem, and Muslim children were forced to worship the portrait of Gandhi. Cow slaughtering and construction of mosques was prohibited. A new educational policy was introduced to promote the superiority of Hindu Culture and to inculcate within muslim youth a sense of inferiority with regards to their culture and faith.
When, after two and a half years, the congress ministers resigned and the nightmare finally ended for the Muslim Nation of India, Quaid e Azam ordered a Day of Deliverance to be celebrated. However, were we, the muslims, actually delivered from the extremist, fascist views of the Hindutva movement aiming to weaken Muslim ideology by imposing Hindu culture upon our minds? Well – NO!
Some time after the formation of Pakistan, this Muslim Mass Contact Movement emerged with a different name, in a different guise. In the form of our very own, our beloved Bollywood. This storm of entertainment arriving from next door caused us to forego and disown our own cinema, where actors like Waheed Murad, directors like Pervez Malik, and composers like Suhail Rana were struggling to protect, promote and portray the ideology of our founding fathers, on which the foundations of Pakistan were laid. Thus Waheed Murad’s statement:
“If we do not put a stop to Indian movies, it will not be possible for us to realise the dream of making Pakistan an ideological state.”
What we unknowingly accepted and welcomed into our homes as light and harmless entertainment was actually a not-so-light and not-so-harmless “cultural weapon” that India managed to launch within our households decades ago with hardly any difficulty or inconvenience. By softening our hearts towards them and making us see the “similarities” we had with Indian/Hindu cultured, it managed to weaken our defenses and caused us to let down our guard against an ideological war, which led Congress leaders to proudly claim that India had won its “cultural war” against Pakistan! According to former ambassador to the UN, Mr. Munir Akram:
“… At the opposite end of India’s kinetic actions, is the wide and successful use of its ‘soft power’, epitomised by Bollywood. This song and dance culture has been warmly embraced by large segments of Pakistan’s young and moneyed elite. Over time, this can lead to greater acceptance in Pakistan of India’s political and strategic goals.”
While most of these movies contain covert, subliminal messages and symbolism which affects our minds on the unconscious level, some are clearly and overtly anti-Pakistan, and depict the extremist Hindu mindset, obsessed and consumed by hatred for Pakistan and muslim ideology. For example, Border, Roja – in which Kashmiri freedom fighters were depicted as terrorists, and the recent movie Phantom. YET, even these movies are watched by our masses, the excuse being that such anti-Pakistan sentiments cannot influence us, the songs of the movie are really good, art and entertainment has no borders, etc, etc.
Thus, we are watching indecent, nonsensical, and to a great extent unrealistic content which we claim to be entertainment, each time wasting at least 3 valuable hours of our life, at the cost of our national ideology, our basic decency, and even our intelligence and wisdom. For who can grow wiser after watching such melodramatic nonsense!
There is one thing we need to understand, however. During the 1936-37 Muslim Mass Contact movement, muslims were able to thwart and resist the pressure and influence, and preserve their exclusive national identity, which ultimately led to the formation of Pakistan. It is time we did the same. That is, throw Bollywood and Indian culture out of our houses and thwart this Mass Contact Propaganda once and for all!