A horrible and devastating incident took place in Swat a few days ago, an incident that indicated a core shaking threat to the fabric of our society, an incident that would leave a disastrous image of our Society on any foreigner watching it. The video of this terrible incident was circulated over social media and the criminals could be seen committing the crime red-handedly. Thankfully an FIR has been lodged on all those filthy criminals and the people who helped them commit this crime. And their crime as mentioned in the FIR was that a large number of boys and girls, dressed in the most Un-Pakistani way, were seen to be, DANCING.
Yes, dancing. Dancing has proven to be an existential threat to our society. Dancing is the thing that could cause mayhem in our society. Guess what could be the biggest problem of a country where hundreds of people are murdered, every day, people commit suicides due to mental and financial issues, the economy is in a state of crisis, minorities being persecuted and harassed and women being raped in front of their children could be? The answer is, dancing.
SHO Javed Iqbal who registered the FIR said that the action was taken for spreading vulgarity in the area. He is right, what could be more vulgar than a bunch of people having fun without hurting or harming anyone. It’s not like they were armed protesters who were trying to siege the capital of the country, in which case they would have been handled with care and negotiated with.
Every Crime has a victim, for example, if I steal something from someone then the person who was robbed is the victim of that crime, but if Dancing is a Crime then who is the victim of this crime, who did their dancing hurt? , whose basic human right did shaking their leg cause. I can’t think of anyone who is a victim here. Could our culture, our great Pakistani culture be a victim of this crime?
What is Pakistani culture? So basically if you like doing something, Pakistani culture is the thing that’s against it. Jokes apart, Pakistani is an amalgamation of different cultures, namely Sindhi, Balochi, Pashtun, Punjabi, Saraiki, and many more, and Dancing is deeply enrooted in numerous of these cultures. The Sindhi culture has Dhamaal, Punjabis have the Bhangra, the Pashtuns have a unique dance form called Attan, and Balochis have their distinct dance too. Even the sculptures recovered from Mohan Jo Daro are of a lady Dancing, and that is as far back as we can go with regards to our culture, so if dancing is a crime and is vulgar and a threat to our culture, then which culture is that? , because all the major cultures that reside within Pakistan have dancing in them. Is the culture of the State of Pakistan opposite to the culture of the units it’s composed of?
Now some people might come up with the mind-numbing argument of “They were not doing these dances, they were doing western dance and western dance is against our culture”.
Culture is not a revelation; culture is not divine, culture is not something that was made once and cannot be changed or altered. The most long lasting and prosperous cultures are those that are open to change, that is ready to welcome new traditions and new ideas. A stagnant culture stinks, just like a stagnant lake. The flow of a culture is what keeps it alive and makes it progress.
So the question should be, why can’t we do western dance? we have established earlier that we have dance in our culture and culture should be accepting and ever-changing, so why not try dancing like the westerners?, why should it be a crime?, we don’t have FIR’s lodged against us when we use products made by them, we don’t get arrested when we use western medicine and machinery to save lives and cure people, then what is the problem with shaking a leg like them?
We as the people of Pakistani need to accept that we are people of the Indus valley civilization, and our culture is the culture of the Indus valley civilization. We have a history of dancing, singing, art and making colorful embroidery, and other such things. We need to embrace our roots and stand up to any element that tries to separate us from our cultural roots.