To those who immediately shut out their minds at the very mention of Burka – a Saudi Arabian custom of women wearing full-body black clothing – this is not for you.
Media conglomerate Zee is doing something no other channel (and dare I say, even TOI’s utopian ‘Aman ki Aasha’) could – bringing Pakistani culture right into the nerve centre of Indian households.
After its success with Zindagi, a channel airing Pakistani shows in India, Zee has started airing one of Pakistan’s most popular cartoon shows: ‘Burka Avenger’.
‘Burka Avenger’ is a fictional cartoon character who fights for women empowerment – basically girls’ education, vaccination and patriarchal mindset – in the fictional town of Halwapur in northern Pakistan.
She is a school teacher in her alter ego of Jiya, and dons the burka to fight nefarious villains bent on suppressing girls and women. Her weapons of choice are pens and books.
The concept of empowering girls through a cartoon character in a garb widely seen as a sign of oppression has been praised worldwide. The cartoon has been nominated for the Emmy Kids Award and has won the prestigious Peabody Award besides many others.
‘Burka Avenger‘ was created by popular Pakistani rock star Aaron Haroon Rashid in 2013, a few months after the Malala Yousafzai incident.
Indian cartoons have become not only mindless but shoddy, too. Cartoons have stopped teaching anything to kids of our times. Thankfully, kids in India will be able to learn a great deal of good from a heroine from “regressive” Pakistan, who has successfully trumped the villains in her fictional world as well as “progressive-thinking” creative producers of India.