Hindi channels for kids become dilemma for parents
By Fawad Ali Shah
KARACHI: “Yeh hamari parampara kai khilaaf hai!” the parents of Ali Shah, 6, were stunned when they first heard the sentence in Hindi from their son.
At first, they were amused and laughed, however, soon they started worrying when they found out that the usage of Hindi by their son was not a mere coincidence.
Muhammad Nawaz, 34, a corporate manager by profession said that one day he took his son to a wedding and on the way back home, he asked him, “Dad how come we’re going back even though the wedding hasn’t taken place?”
Surprised, he told his son that the wedding has already taken place in the mosque.
But Nawaz was even more astonished to find out that his son’s idea of a wedding was seeing a couple take circles round the fire.
“I was shocked to see my son’s behaviour and therefore started investigating. I found out that Ali had been watching a cartoon channel that was in Hindi language and was picking up things from there,” said Nawaz, who then instructed his wife to keep the children away from watching channels for children that weren’t just in Hindi language but also carried programmes that presented a culture far more different than here.
Nawaz is not the only child whose young mind is absorbing the cultural impact from across the border, but a large number of families across the city are facing a similar problem.
They claim that the Hindi version of kid’s TV channels are having a negative impact on their children that includes learning Hindi as well as becoming accustomed to the Hindu mythology.
Soha Ali, a resident of Clifton found herself in a similar situation. “Children are addicted to these Hindi channels for kids while I would like them to enhance their English language skills,” said Soha.
She says that the English version of these TV channels is much better in terms of programme quality as they allow children a chance to improve their English.
With hardly any choice, she has barred her children from viewing the Hindi channels and has appealed to the authorities to keep a check on cable operators and make sure they show the English version.
Daily Times has learnt from that almost all the major cable network operators across the city are running the Hindi version of children’s TV channels.
When contacted, cable operators had a different tale to tell. “We run cartoon channels in Hindi because children find it easier to understand,” said Fateh Muhammad, owner of the Star Cable Network in Shireen Jinnah Colony. He feels that since Hindi and Urdu are pretty similar, that’s why he runs the Hindi language channel.
“Neither had we received any instructions from government not to run these channels nor any complaints have been received from the customers in this regard,” he added.
Khurram, who works for Home Vision Communication, a company which provide cable TV services to a number of cable operators, said that kids’ channels in Hindi are popular with the children and there were no restrictions by the government that barred them from showing them.
Inam ur Rehman, a media expert and a teacher of mass communication, did not agree with the arguments of the cable operators. “Hindi as a language is of no use to our children. Its better that they learn English which would help them in the future,” said Rehman. He said that the culture shown in these cartoons creates doubts in the minds of the children and later on, they find it difficult to come to terms with their own traditions. Ashfaque Jumani, General Manager of the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Sindh chapter, told Daily Times that PEMRA has instructed all cable network operators to run the English version of the said channel. “We monitor the operations of cable network operators and take serious action in case they do not abide by the instructions,” he maintained.