Weekday Squib: Meera Meera on the wall

Who is the fairest nation of them all?

And now, less than ten days after reports emerged of her intention to migrate to a more liberal Bombay, Meera of Lollywood has executed a u-turn. And how.

Vehemently opposing bringing Indian films to Pakistani cinemas, she said it should “never” happen.

“India has a different culture, Indians have a different mind-set and Indian movies should not be screened in Pakistan. We should produce our own movies. We are Muslims and we have to make films that depict our own culture,” the Daily Times quoted the film actress as saying.

The film actress added: “Yes, I used to say that I am an ambassador of peace between India and Pakistan. But I won’t say that now.”

Asked why she had suddenly turned against screening of Indian films in Pakistan after having herself acted in Bollywood films, Meera said that she couldn’t articulate her viewpoint, “but what she had observed while working in India was that the Indian films should not be screened in Pakistan.” [WebIndia via Varnam]

That Meera has connected her observations while working in India to a rather unrelated issue of allowing the screening of Indian films in Pakistan suggests that the Musharraf regime has been at work on her. The ban on the screening of Indian films in cinemas is part of the establishment dogma in Pakistan. Clearly, Meera’s decision to ditch Lahore for Bombay would hardly have been a ringing endorsement of their desired image of Pakistan at home and abroad. The establishment could simply not allow this to come to pass. Hence Meera’s latest act, a celebrity endorsement of the establishment’s version of what Pakistan is, and what India is not, which are two ways of saying the same thing. (The chance that Meera’s change of heart was brought about by Gen Musharraf’s recent statements of his deep commitment to the emancipation of women can easily be dismissed.)

It was the lofty-softy crowd that held up Meera as an example of how people-to-people contacts could help people in the two countries to understand each other better. They are not wrong. But it is wholly wrong to believe that this will somehow translate into the Pakistani government stopping its support for terrorism or even mildly changing its anti-India mindset for that matter. As long as Pakistan remains under the influence of the military establishment — which remains the guardian of Pakistan’s ideological frontiers — there is little hope that the Pakistani people can influence their rulers to go it easy on India.

If Meera is speaking freely, however unlikely that may be, then she is negating the Pakistanis are ‘people like us’ theory. And if she is speaking under coercion, then it only proves until Pakistan becomes a ‘normal’ democracy, there is very little by way of concrete benefits that people-to-people contacts can achieve for India.

From the archive: The problem with people-to-people contacts; Sorry Miss – No Tanha Tanha allowed across the border; Wrong Message, Wrong Audience; Bollywood’s apologists must go the whole nine yards.

9 thoughts on “Weekday Squib: Meera Meera on the wall”

  1. Pingback: films news
  2. Well, well this calls for thinking ….
    (putting my intellectual cap on)
    lets light candle at Wagah.
    lets hold mushairas.
    lets have people to people contact
    and please lets give peace a chance.

    For what is nation before when it is a matter of dogma


    Nitin may be you thought it too polite to say, but I will say it.
    “Pakistanis have no desire for peace”.

  3. Wait, so either way you’re not happy about people-to-people contacts? Seriously, Nitin, a lot of us don’t work for the ISI. We just want corny snaps by the Taj. Oh and I’d like to visit Jaipur.

    gaurav, my friend: you’re mistaken.

  4. What must Shabana Azmi be thinking? Not long ago ,on CNN she and others were going hysterical over P2P contacts.I bet most Hindus in India have no reason to support P2P shit.BTW how many of you watch and love Pakistani Television?

  5. dear avidnewsreader,
    you ask the same question framed differently..
    how many indians watch n love bhojpuri/bihari/chhattisgarahi television..
    answer will be same..
    the point is though we may not watch pakistani television(content, relevence,competition )we respect and put great hopes on commons of both side..

  6. Raven,

    I am not against the idea of people-to-people contacts per se, but I doubt the efficacy of these to bring about a change in official Pakistani policy.

    I won’t be surprised if the diversity of opinion captured in the comments above are not mirrored in some way (perhaps in different proportions) in Pakistan too. I believe Pakistanis should be welcome to visit India and enjoy themselves. But the reality is, thanks to Pakistan (well, its rulers) I am unable to visit parts of my own country for fear of terrorists. I’d like to change that, and enjoy a peaceful holiday on a houseboat in Srinagar.

    And yes, I’d like to take pictures by the ruins of Indus Valley sites, shop at the famous Anarkali Bazaar or trek through the rugged terrain of the NWFP. But I will find it difficult to enjoy myself in a country the government of which I know is engaged in killing my countrymen.

  7. While you make a good point, I tend to side with Sid Meier. I have a feeling you’re a fan of Civilization III (and probably IV when it comes out). I believe if you put the Indian City next to the Pakistani (and build lots of temples and wonders in the Indian city) the Indian city’s culture border will expand, and convert the Pakistani one :-p (sorry, am in a very silly mood today).

  8. TTG,

    How can you talk of Civilization III when God of gift AOE is there, you heretic 😉

    Let silliness ensue.


    If Pakistan wants peace, I think supporting terrorism is a very strange way to achieve peace.


  9. Oh, I am…no I was a hardcore AOE fan. Look, you can nuke people in Civ II. AoE stops with trebutchets! Civ III is so much more complex (and so am I :-p) so I’ve shifted loyalties. It’s interesting though. I think you’re applying an AoE approch to this(which might be the right way to go about it), whereas I’m applying a Civ III approach.

    Sorry for being OT – well I’m not completely off-topic!

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