Hindus outraged over live conversion on TV
By: Ammar Shahbazi
Karachi: The Hindu community leaders in Karachi are incensed at the insensitivity displayed towards their faith by a television channel that converted a Hindu boy to Islam on their Thursday’s live Iftar transmission.
“Embracing a new faith is a personal matter of an individual, but here this is being promoted as a piece of entertainment by the so-called independent electronic media,” said Pundit Vijay Maharaj, a Hindu priest. “Such irresponsible shows create differences between communities and nothing else.”
“I don’t know if Sunil (the converted boy) was paid to become a part of the drama as his employer Ansar Burney claims, but even if he had accepted Islam wholeheartedly, which may be the case, he helped the channel earn a lot of money with the stunt,” said Sunny Vakwani, a Karachi-based social media activist.
For Vakwani, the worst part of the show was the way the audience was brought into the foray to suggest names for the new convert. “Interestingly, the anchor’s name, Maya, is a Sanskrit word, so she should have first asked for a ‘Muslim name’ before beginning the auction for the new convert’s name,” he added.
Social activist Sanjesh Dhaneja urged the media to act more responsibly, especially after the recent issue of forced conversions. “The people in the media should act more responsibly, especially after the Hindu community in the country went through the recent controversy of forced conversion,” said Sanjesh Dhanja, a social activist, who runs I think responsible self-censorship is due in such matters, when as a media outlet, you claim to cater the whole country not a particular religion or ethnicity.”
The show was hosted by Maya Khan, a B-grade television anchor, whose claim to fame was a morning show she hosted earlier this year in which she conducted a “live raid” in a public park hounding dating couples and asking them for their ‘Nikanama’.
The notorious episode drew immense criticism in the social media, which eventually got her fired from her previous TV channel after she refused to apologise for hurting the feelings of many of her viewers.
But later, in a hyped-up television interview, she revealed in her defense, that the whole public park show was a set-up and the couples she seemingly stalked in the public park were paid actors, which raised an ever bigger question on the modus operandi of country’s electronic media vis-à-vis ethics and moral codes. But like every other issue in this country, Maya Khan’s controversy fizzled out after some time.
She was later hired by the TV channel she is working currently for. A member of the Hindu community, who refused to be named, said that despite her repulsive taste for television shows, that are proven to be devoid of any sort of ethical consideration, her current TV channel apparently gave her a carte blanche to select themes for her programs, and yet again she came up with this sickening idea of reducing a spiritual sojourn of faith into a cheap commodity for entertainment.