By Umer Hussain
September 16, 2020
Is White colour beautiful? Is Turkish history the Indian Sub-Continent history? Answers to both of these questions have a historical perspective, which needs a sociological and socio-psychological ocular to understand the embodiment of Europeans, Arabs, and Turks’ inter-generational hegemony on the people of the Indian sub-continent. Pierre Bourdieu, a famous French sociologist, while studying the impact of the French colonization on Algerian’s in the 1950s’ underscored that social inequality became part of the Algerian’s self. This led to Algerian’s believe that they are culturally inferior to the French. Due to being in a complex of deprived identity, Algerian’s adopted the practices (cultural capita) of French people. Bourdieu defined this state as habitus.
According, to Bourdieu, habitus is so robust that individuals lose their subjective self within the habitus. The habitus is embodied and culturally transmitted across generations. To keep the habitus alive, individuals can share folklores and stories with their upcoming generations about the dominated race. This develops a cyclical pattern of inferiority formed across generations. For instance, love for the Whiteness could be seen in our wedding ceremonies (e.g., Haldi and Ubtan) to the broader cultural discourse (e.g., songs and movies).
This unique identity is in-line with the broader concept of ‘We’. Thus, within the hegemony of the external culture, the people of Pakistan are trying to exhibit their subjectivity, but this identity is in per the broader hegemony of external forces
Similarly, the colonizers, either White or Non-White (Arabs and Turks), have left a deep dent in the minds of people of the subcontinent, which have transmitted across generations. This default complex of being culturally inferior is now perceived as natural rather than a socio-historical reality in Pakistan. We have become nostalgic for the stories of victories, which was never ours. The deep inclination towards external cultures of the past has destroyed our arts, language, and societal beliefs. For example, the current wave of Turkish drama serials, such as Ertugrul Ghazi, depicts how the people of Pakistan are trying to reminiscence the past victories of Turks to be their achievement. This romance for the Turkish culture needs a socio-psychological perspective to decipher the past cultural hegemony of Turkey over the Indian sub-continent.
Two famoussocio-psychologists, Henri Tajfel and John Turner in the 1980s’ presented the theory of social identity. According to these scholars, individuals give meanings to their identity per the societal norms and personal factors. This leads to the concept of developing the idea of ‘We’ against ‘Others.’ The concept of ‘We’ is developed per social categorization and reflects one of the basic needs of animals that is social affiliation with a group. Similarly, the ‘We’ can become a regressive part of a society, and if the external culture becomes infringed, individuals can develop an outer ‘We’ concept. Turkish culture, because of its historical roots, are now shaping people of Pakistan ‘We’ notion of affiliation. Hence, Ertugrul Ghazi is not only a TV serial but a broader cultural association, which people of Pakistan are trying to resonate with Turkish people.
Likewise, love for Whiteness in Pakistani cinema reproduces White reminiscence. Thereby, the people of Pakistan are trapped within the outer cultural hegemony. However, Tajfel and Turner underscored that within the societal norms, individuals find means for portraying their unique identity. This unique identity is in-line with the broader concept of ‘We’. Thus, within the hegemony of the external culture, the people of Pakistan are trying to exhibit their subjectivity, but this identity is in per the broader hegemony of external forces.
In the past, infringement of external culture had dangerous outcomes for our own inherent cultural values. European colonial masters destroyed our arts and culture. For example, sports, such as Kabaddi and Kho-Kho, became obsolete, and cricket and hockey became the prominent sporting games in the Indian sub-continent. Similarly, Arab and Turk invaders brought their own cultural values, which has become an inherent part of Pakistani culture. For instance, ‘Urdu’ was primarily gifted by the Turks and Arab invaders to the Indian sub-continent. The cultural values of external masters have shaped people of the Indian sub-continent social identity, which is transmitted across generations. Hence, the reminiscence for the external culture is more a complex inter-generational process in the case Indian sub-continent, which is shaping the social identity of the people of Pakistan.
Umer Hussain is a Ph.D. scholar at Texas A&M University, USA
Original Headline: Reminiscence for slavery: Ertugrul Ghazi and whitening creams
Source: The Daily Times, Pakistan
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