Misha Rahman, pakobserver.net
One of the most important and successful techniques of “public and cultural diplomacy” catching even more attention is the potential of the bollywood films in nourishing the ties between Pakistan and India. Indian cinema has got a tremendous fame in Pakistan and has almost replaced the Pakistani cinema, whereas the films are very much famous among the citizens of the counter side and have been watched with interest. Due to the poor performance of Pakistani film industry, the actors and singers in order to get work and focus on the future of their work turned them towards India, thus giving the Indian film and music industry a chance to enter in the cinema’s of Pakistan. Same is the case with Indian music.
The same Indian culture is depicted in the dramas which are mostly seen in the Pakistani public on the daily basis and are very much influencing the daily lives of large number of population of Pakistan. On the other hand, media of both countries has played exceptional role in the promotion of negative image and feelings of hostility among both sides. Many Indian and Pakistani dramas and films are based and focused on the building of negative image of the other side, which has played an important role in provoking hatred among the people.
Perhaps the religious diplomacy and the interfaith dialogues between the both sides at the higher levels of the states could be more hopeful as well as helpful. By reducing the hatred towards each other on the religious basis they could find more ways to compete in the economic race and could have more chances to utilize wisely their human capitals.
In an ongoing decades-long conflict between the two countries, the diplomacy of citizens has the potential to correct the negative image that has embedded in the minds and to change the thinking about each other through face to face interactions. Citizen diplomacy can be promoted with the help of government through decreasing the visa restrictions, enhancement of public transport for the citizens between Pakistan and India, increasing art, musical, sports and media exchange programmes. Media is a very strong tool in persuasion of public diplomacy. It can help in promoting the positive image, solidarity and peace among the stacks. But so far unfortunately, media as a whole – either electronic media or print media – is working far away from reality and in a constant struggle to enhance the friction, and thus it is playing a major role in devastating the relationship between the two countries.