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Landscapes of Writing

Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa

Series:

Bapsi Sidhwa

Edited By Teresa Russo

This book is a collection of essays by international writer Bapsi Sidhwa gathered for the first time in one edition by Teresa Russo, with a foreword written by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta. Landscapes of Writing: Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa provides a writer’s perspective on issues of South Asian literature, linguistics, poetry, and views of political events and globalization. In the first part of the book, Bapsi Sidhwa discusses her childhood, family life, and how she became a writer. There is also a revised essay detailing how her book Cracking India became a film by Deepa Mehta. The second part of the book focuses on her thoughts concerning war, terrorism, and how to achieve peace. This collection includes two letters, demonstrating her local and nationalistic perspectives to a larger view of an interconnected world.

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Chapter 6. The Television Boycott

Extract

← 48 | 49 →

· 6 ·

THE TELEVISION BOYCOTT

June 18, 2015

It was the early autumn of 1965 and black-and-white television was scheduled to make its debut in Pakistan in November. My husband Noshir, who was prone to taking an occasional “stand”, determined that we would not buy a television set; we were not to be turned into Couch Zombies by the “idiot box.”

In those days I had few views of my own, and I loyally went along with his.

Lahore was abuzz with the news. Speculation on the miracle of television in our midst was as gratifying as the thought of Pakistan’s imminent inclusion in a more up-to-date and advanced world; moreover, given our prickly rivalry with our larger neighbor, a world in which TV-less India would have to play catch-up.

But our family, with a quiet stoicism that bordered on disdain, ignored the pressure building up around us. The subtle hints insinuated into the conversation by our disappointed servants and their bewilderment at our stance, were also ignored and we remained adamantly TV-less.

A couple of years later India, inevitably, set up its own nascent television stations, and to everyone’s amazement and delight the Amritsar television ← 49 | 50 → channel in India suddenly became available for viewing across the border in Lahore. This shouldn’t have surprised us so much, considering Amritsar is barely 20 miles from Lahore as television waves travel. For or all...

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