In the absence of a local Islamic ‘hero’ and a long-standing identity crisis, Pakistanis have been searching for their roots in Turkey now. The TV series, ‘Ertugrul’ has received an overwhelming response in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In a conservative society ridden with illiteracy, orthodoxy and skewed understanding of ‘modesty’, Pakistanis have time and again failed to distinguish between ‘real’ and ‘reel life’.
A glimpse of the regressive mindset that dominates the patriarchal society of Pakistan was on full display, in the comment section of the Turkish actress Esra Bilgiç. Her mistake was that she played the role of Halime Hatun in Ertugrul. It came as a ‘culture shock’ to Pakistanis when they discovered that the actress was distinct in her personal life from the role that she played in the TV series.
Halime Hatun is a historical character from 13th century, and accordingly, Esra Bilgiç was seen in traditional Turkish attire in the TV series.
Pakistanis teach a lesson in ‘Islam’
When Esra uploaded a picture of her in a black tight-fitting dress on Instagram, Pakistanis were triggered in the comment section. Referring to her dress, a user (@hamzi1119) enquired, “I don’t understand why do people love to share their half-nude pictures on internet!!! What is the logic behind it?”
Another enlightened Pakistani named Umar Shah concluded that her dress was ‘bad’ and that she should get rid of it. A user (@_.abdullah._xx) asks her as to why her dupatta is missing in the picture.
Another Pakistani man wrote, “What are you doing? My Halima cannot be like this. I want to see you as a modest woman. Please revert back to the same Halima that you were in the TV series. That way, I can accept you for marriage.”
Another patronising Pakistani, Haris Afridi, stated that she had become a ‘princess’ now and pleaded her to refrain from wearing tight-fitting clothes. “I am your big fan. Please marry me,” he proposed.
Two days prior to posting her picture in the black dress, the Ertugrul actress had uploaded a picture of her in bikini, standing on a surfboard. Anticipating the backlash, she had turned off her comments in advance. However, Pakistanis slut-shamed her for her beachwear in another post.
An Instagrammer (@zuljank) complained, “Your clothes are getting smaller day by day. I saw your beach photos. He further requested the Turkish actress to delete ‘that’ kind of photos from the app. Another user (@sayyeda_nh) further wrote, “You don’t know how much I hate you after seeing your nudge (nude) picture… You have crossed all limits.” The person enquired whether she belonged to a Muslim family at all. With a stern message, the account cautioned, “It is good that you turned off your comment section on that nude picture otherwise (you know what would have happened).”
Ertugrul breaks all record in Pakistan
The Muslim world had been drooling over Resurrection: Ertugrul, a Turkish television series based on the father of the founder of the Ottoman dynasty. In fact, Ertugrul has broken all records in Pakistan. Engin Altan Düzyatan, who played the lead in the series, even thanked the Pakistanis for their splendid effort, and reportedly the cast of the series is planning a visit to Pakistan this year. The popularity of the television series had been such that local Pakistani entertainers were feeling threatened by the airing of Ertugrul in Pakistan. The response from Pakistanis was not surprising given that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was cheer-leading for it. He claimed that the series would make Pakistanis learn about Islamic history and ethics.