Did we at BRF miss out on Ertugrul? and its popularity in Pakistan?https://scroll.in/article/964026/pakist ... ic-historyPakistan is obsessed with a Turkish drama that glorifies the sword and distorts Islamic history
‘Dirilis: Ertugrul’ reinforces a dangerous delusion celebrating conquest and imperialism.
Pervez Hoodbhoy, Dawn.com, Jun 08, 2020
A Turkish drama series brimming with tribal intrigues, blood, murder, and conquest – all wrapped in pious religious idiom – has taken Pakistan by storm. Filmed in Anatolia, Dirilis: Ertugrul is a 150-episode fictional account of Ertugrul Ghazi, father of the Ottoman Empire’s founder. As of June 5, the YouTube count for the 30th Urdu-dubbed episode had already clocked up 5.5 million views on Pakistan Television.
Even those who made Dirilis are astonished – and hugely pleased – at its tumultuous welcome. Tribal Turkmen fighting for a homeland can’t be expected to capture the imagination of millions in some far-off country. But Pakistan is different. Transfixed, entire families are spending evenings watching it together. They think it is wholesome entertainment and genuine Islamic history.
What history? This is a free-wheeling caricature of 13th-century Anatolia of which we know next to nothing. Facts are not important, says Mehmet Bozdag, the man who wrote and produced the series. To quote: “There is very little information about the period we are presenting – not exceeding four [to] five pages. Even the names are different in every source. The first works written about the establishment of the Ottoman State were about 100-150 years later. There is no certainty in this historical data...we are shaping a story by dreaming.”
That this serial is frankly propagandistic and ideologically motivated is beyond doubt. It has been manufactured for a purpose. But what purpose?
If it seeks to project Islam as a religion of peace and to counter Islamophobia, then the very opposite is achieved. The first scene of the first episode begins with sword-making and sword-sharpening in the background of nomadic tents. The tribe’s adversaries are Christians and Byzantines whose bloodied bodies lie scattered here and there after every fight. The hero, Ertugrul Ghazi, not only beheads several Knight Templars but also former associates from his tribe, such as Kurdoglu Bey, who he suspects of disloyalty.
Should we be surprised if IS-like organisations find this inspirational? Is glorifying the sword glorifying Islam? Islam can surely be represented in ways more positive than putting a spotlight on power struggles within a tribal society. Far better, for example, would be to build upon Turkish scholars like Ali Qushgi, Taqi-al-Din, or Al-Jazari. Without Islam’s early scholars the colorful tapestry of Muslim culture – and Turkish culture as well – would have been far poorer, its claim to being a great world civilisation weak and unconvincing.
PS anything PH writes is tinged with Pak colors.