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Sunday, 11 December 2011

sarak سڑ کtil تل -Sesame Street Pakistan

Rani one of the chief characters in the Pakistani Sesame Street.  A girl who is the captain of the girls cricket team and loves traditional Qawali music!

Sesame Street a popular American children's series will soon be aired in Pakistan.  The redesigned programme will include sets that mirror Pakistani building styles and will be produced in Urdu, Punjabi, Baluchi, Pashtu and Sindhi.  Set design shows a diverse set of construction facades to prevent being too similar to any one particular province of Pakistan.

The US Government have provided $10,000,000 towards 78 episodes in Urdu the national language and a further 13 episodes each in other listed languages.

Much like the US version each episode will focus on learning 1 number and 1 letter from the respective languages.  In addition the shows will tackle issues such as gender discrimination, friendship and tolerance.  In a press conference when questioned on the theme of valuing diversity the producers said:

"There are many situations where we coexist peacefully, and that's what we want to focus on," said Imraan Peerzada, the show's head writer.

"The program will feature holidays celebrated by Muslims, Christians and Hindus in an attempt to get children to respect the traditions of different religious groups in Pakistan", said Peerzada.

This set of programmes will target the illiteracy, cultural division and gender discrimination in an innovative way.  Sesame Street has been a very popular series in the west since 1969 and has no doubt contributed to modern day equality here too.  Versions of Sesame Street have already been aired in Bangladesh and Indonesia and have been very popular.

The effect of these programmes in Pakistan will have no effect if in isolation, they must be supported with interfaith sessions in schools with real-life faith practitioners.  If not, eventually as majority Muslim children grow older, they will lose the mushy emotions induced by the series and assume other faiths are simply puppetry.  I say this in no detriment to the series, but in recognition that the mandatory Islamic Studies course and thematic history lessons that eradicate Minority contribution to society  and demonize people of non-Muslim faiths.  

Unless a more universal application of equality and diversity protocols is adopted such as; the potential introduction of a broader religious studies course that would enrich Pakistani culture and insertion of positive images of minorities in Pakistani text books on history and other subjects, including their valuable augmentation of society - this project will simply be doomed to failure.

Let's hope it not Christians that become the muppets!

See BBC Link:

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