Pakistan And The West: The New Order

Pakistan And The West: The New Order


In the event you lived within the UK twenty years in the past as a Pakistani Muslim, it wasn’t uncommon when you confronted this query at casual gatherings, events, ‘Are you a fundamentalist?’ You needed to then show together with your phrases and actions that you simply weren’t. With time, you bought used to this query and higher at dealing with it. These have been the put up 9/11 days. I met some hostile people who held my Muslim-Pakistani id in opposition to me, and on the similar time I had the pleasure of my European neighbors inviting me for Iftar throughout Ramzan. They at all times made positive that halal meat was cooked wherever I used to be invited. It was respect given, and returned.

I shared a flat with 4 different guys on the Kelvinhaugh Road Flats in Glasgow. Two of them have been Scottish, one Greek and one Japanese. As soon as, a Pakistani grocer took the freedom of asking me, ‘Do you eat in the identical plates as these goras – the white individuals?’ Two years later, it was in Edinburgh. Betty was an previous Scottish woman, and I used to have a chat along with her in my idle time. She used to observe some soaps on her 16-inch TV field, and sometimes I used to assist her with little issues throughout that point. Someday, Betty spoke with tears in her eyes. ‘I’ve a Pakistani household residing subsequent to my place, they usually have stopped their kids from saying hello to me.’

These situations revealed to me the issue of assimilation of Pakistanis in predominantly white, Christian societies of the West. I requested a Scottish buddy why didn’t I’ve to face the identical downside with white individuals as different Pakistanis. In accordance with him, I didn’t distance myself from the individuals within the neighborhood, and that made the distinction. I skilled this extra intensely ten years later, once I lived within the suburbs of Glasgow – Barrhead – with my household. Once we have been returning to Pakistan, the native church, the place my son had visited as soon as for a neighborhood play, organized a leaving get together. The neighborhood contributed in the direction of a small parting reward for him. I don’t know if different Pakistanis residing in Britain can relate to this story, those that maintain themselves at a distance from the goras.

British diaspora movies produced within the 1980-90s assist us perceive this cultural distinction from a British perspective. These movies largely premiered on Movie on 4, Channel 4, which had allotted particular airtime for the Indo-Pakistani and Afro-Caribbean diaspora in Britain, with an purpose to enchantment ‘to the tastes and pursuits of a culturally numerous society.’ Movies like My Lovely Launderette (1981), Rita Sue and Bob Too (1987), My Son the Fanatic (1997), East is East (1999), et alia, featured the issues confronted notably by Pakistani diaspora in British society. First-generation Pakistani emigrants discovered it more and more arduous to mix within the society of their new chosen homeland. Satirically, they have been blissful to reap the fabric advantages of residing there, however they outrightly rejected the social values of British tradition. These Pakistani males who married British ladies, à la, East is East, or had British girlfriends, as we see in Rita, Sue and Bob Too, insisted that these ladies undertake Pakistani tradition in the event that they wished to remain in a relationship with them. It’s not simply Pakistani males. We will see this perspective amongst Pakistani ladies too; in a 2004 Scottish movie, Ae Fond Kiss – it’s the sister of a Pakistani man, Tahira, who takes a stand in opposition to his relationship with a Scottish lady. A typical feeling, which Pakistanis residing within the UK, harbor of their hearts is that the British handled us badly through the Raj, plundered our wealth and now it’s time for them to pay again – ‘we’re right here since you have been there.’ This phrase additionally serves because the title of Ian Patel’s e book, shortlisted for the BBC Historical past Journal award in 2021 that examines the issue of assimilation of Pakistani emigrants within the UK.

The colonization of India and Africa by Europeans had disadvantaged the Muslims of their empires – Moghul and Ottoman – leaving the Muslims with a sense of animosity in the direction of the West, the white individuals. These sentiments additionally mirrored within the pejoratively used phrases – goras, firangi – for the white individuals. The Hindus by no means had the identical downside with British rulers through the Raj in India because the Muslims. And due to this fact, the Hindus residing within the West discovered didn’t discover it arduous to assimilate in these societies. This additionally explains the distinct nature of the connection with the West that India and Pakistan have maintained respectively.

In the direction of the tip of the earlier century, the New World Order insisted on a homogenous world tradition, world language, world market and so forth. On this all-encompassing world village, assertion of particular person cultural identities that posed any problem to the notion of multiculturalism, internationalism, or suggest a parallel socio-economic system, turned problematic. Nevertheless, because the steadiness of energy shifts with the emergence of Asian nations as financial powers within the 21st century, Pakistan must rethink its strategy completely on the way to adapt to the rising order. The hangover of an excellent previous and previous emotions of animosity in the direction of others, nonetheless, should be discarded.

‘The fault, pricey Brutus, will not be in our stars, however ourselves, …’ – Shakespeare, Julius Caesar


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