14th February, 2022: Complains are often heard from various segments of society that the younger generation is losing touch with traditional values. The internet and social media in particular, is creating a divide that is driving the youth away from the cultural practices that have been carried on for ages and that truly represent what we stand for. However, in reality, young content creators and influencers on social media platforms are not just upholding these traditions but giving them a unique and fresh twist that is in sync with modern times.
As we look at the content that leading individuals are promoting, we witness that Pakistani culture and values are still embedded in their activities. The wedding season that recently culminated, saw a lot of social media stars tying the knot in Pakistan. From Shahveer Jafry and his brother Sunny Jafry to Zulqarnain & Kanwal Aftab, many influencers got hitched and their wedding festivities that constantly adorned social media had that familiar, traditional touch that these functions have had for a long time.
Moreover, its not just weddings but a host of other cultural practices that are still being portrayed in similar fashion to before. All that is different is that with the advent of social media, hints of modern touches are being are being infused into the activities. From poetry to drama, content creators are bringing back the things that Pakistani society has cherished for a long time. Social media platforms themselves have launched specific hashtags to enable further representation of these traditions.
For instance, Likee, one of the country’s leading short video sharing platforms introduced four unique hashtags recently which enabled creators to showcase this side of the story. Hundreds of creators from the platform participated in the #WeddingVibe, #PkPoetry, #PkShayri and #ZakootaJin challenges showcasing the rich cultural history of this country.
With more than 900 million views across these hashtags and amazing as well as entertaining videos like wedding facts about Pakistani ‘shadis’ posted by Afia Ali that details the things we commonly see at these functions; the hashtags brought a lot of cultural practices to light. Many creators put their own distinct spin on these videos like blending emotions with revered poetry, creating some amazing content for their audiences. The #WeddingVibe alone has accumulated 252 million views and counting with videos ranging from traditional car decorations to the ‘bhangra’ done alongside the car of the groom. It’s clear that short video sharing platforms have been become a significant way of re-interpreting cultural and traditional values and weighs any other educational channels.
“Likee hosts a number of creators and audiences belonging to diverse backgrounds which makes it rich as well as vibrant. The application provides us as Pakistanis to share her culture, traditions, values and beliefs with the world and their constant efforts like the hashtag challenges are extremely thoughtful,” said Afreen Burney who participated in the #PkPoetry. Her video was a humorous two verse take on arguments that happen in relationships. “I enjoy poetry in general and when this opportunity presented itself, I was thrilled to be a part of it. These challenges promote positivity and freedom which is an amazing aspect of the initiative,” she added.
There is no doubt that weddings are truly the representation of our cultural values as people embody local dresses, makeup and fashion at these events. Simultaneously, the different activities held as part of these functions allow traditions to be upheld. In this respect, the #WeddingVibe was a promotion of the relevant festivities that occur in Pakistani weddings.
“Being a Pakistani, we know that weddings are grand functions that involve extensive preparations. It is a part of our culture. Incidentally, there was a wedding in my family which gave me the opportunity to showcase every single function in a way that it deserves. I put in extra effort because I knew these videos would depict our traditions and in the process, I enjoyed a lot,” expressed Uruba Tazeen, another creator who actively participated in the #WeddingVibe through a variety of videos.
Zakoota Jin is another one of the most iconic characters from one of the plays of old that are considered the pinnacle of TV in Pakistan. Likee’s #ZakootaJin has surpassed 376 million views with interesting comedy parodies and recreations of funny scenarios with respect to the legendary character.
Iram Saleem is another creator who participated in the #ZakootaJin with an entertaining video that portrayed the legendary character. “Short video sharing platforms are providing us with an opportunity to express what we truly feel in front of audiences that actually appreciate us. At the same time, apps like Likee also allow us to put out our cultures and traditions in a distinct fashion for the world which is why I enjoy posting here,” she said when asked to comment on the challenge.
Together, these hashtags and challenges offer just a glimpse of how social media is acting not as a barrier but as a bridge enabling the youth to connect with their traditions. Moreover, it is also providing them the platform to highlight these cultures and traditions for local as well as global audiences.
Likee is a platform that works on ensuring it remains true to values of the markets that it serves. “Pakistan is amongst the nations that is full of individuals who are passionate about their culture and traditional values. Being a responsible and community focused platform, we continue to make widescale efforts towards promoting these unique elements of the Pakistani society. It is the vibrance and diversity of this country that makes it lively and we are committed to showcasing this side of it.”