Afghanistan’s New Media Craze

"They used the gas from my motorbike to power the generator," complained Shah Hussain, father of three, describibng his family's craze for the Indian TV Serial, "Tulsi". Shah lives in Kabul; his family, like many families in the Afghan cpaital, is obsessed with the Dari version of the serial run on one of the local TV stations.

The serial portrays the lives of three-or-so generations of mothers-and daughters-in-law, living together in a large family. Tulsi, the protagonist of the play, has achieved such a wiodespread fame among the Afghans that the serial is now known after her name; few people recognize the serial by its original name, Because Mother-in-law Has Also Once Been a Daughter-in-law

Despite the severe power shortages, people stay glued to their TV screens every night at half past eight. Such is the frustration of a power failure in the middle of the show that curse words are uttered without any fear of consequences even in the "strictest" and "noblest" of families.

Many families–even some of the poorest ones–have gone as far as purchasing generators in order not to miss an episode. Because of the "reality" and "closeness" of its theme to the peoples' lives, they think its worth the purchase and the subsequent fuel cost.

Girls mimic the lines at schools, men both young and old watch it and women are big fans. "Tulsi" is the subject of conversations even at some government offices. Women spend hours commenting on the outcomes of events.

Posters and postcards of Tulsi and some other characters of the play are now being produced. Despite the higher prices, Tulsi aficionados don't mind buying them.

After Delhi and Islamabad, "Tulsi" has taken Kabul by fire. Considering the length of the serial, it can be foretold that this new media craze is likely to continue for many more years to come.

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1 Response to “Afghanistan’s New Media Craze”

  1. 1 Hamesha April 29, 2006 at 3:40 am

    You write very well. Enjoyed your last entry on the Tulsi craze. I heard that recently there was a conference on the effects of globalization on Afghanistan’s national culture held in Kabul. If they think that globalization is ‘going to’ affect Afghanistan’s national culture in the future, they must have had their head in sand: Bollywood is omnipresent in Afghanistan, and Tulsi is the latest symptom of it spreading even to the bureaucracy. I think it’s hilarious that women in offices chat about it.
    Keep up the good work of giving ‘the Afghan perspective’ on hot topics. I think I am going to become a regular here…

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I no longer update this weblog due to academic and other preoccupations. However, feel free to browse through its older entries. Thanks.
This is a weblog where a journalism enthusiast Afghan student writes about hot contemporary issues from an Afghan perspective. Enjoy your visit! Contact: mail . myscribbles @ gmail . com

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