Method

This
paper will attempt to make use of a text based analysis to understand the
manner in which stereotyping the female Muslim characters in the Indian Hindi
Television dramas shall typify them to the extreme ideas of : traditional or
modern and not anything in between. Hence by engaging with primary text Qubool Hai through a semiotic analysis,
that is, by examining the various signifiers and their overt and covert
implications, the signified meaning of the text, which is indicative of the
inherent issues of misrepresentation, stereotyping and typifying in the text
maybe understood.

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Methodology

Orientalism:
Edward W. Said’s Orientalism is be utilised to understand the idea of
stereotyping of the Indian Muslims under the general umbrella term of eastern
Muslims or Arabs. This idea renders the associations of the terms ‘barbaric’,
‘savage’ and ‘uncivilized’ to every follower of Islam in the East (Said 109) .
While the Islam and Muslims were heavily stereotyped and immensely
misrepresented, the Muslim women faced the larger lot of all the
generalisations. Said’s extremely biased views of the Muslims shall be
understood to have led to the creation of regressive image of Islam and its
followers in “Western media’s imaginaries of Islamic fundamentalism” (Pickering
28). These include the turban and shroud worn by Muslim men, individuals
prostrating in Islamic supplication, Arabesque plans, scimitars, deserts,
camels, etc. However, the extent of redundancy of these misrepresentations are
quite few in comparison to the hijab worn by Muslim ladies, which most often
than not subject to constant criticism of it being primordial in nature (Said
84). This idea may be used to realise the innate problem of identification of
the hijab clad Muslim characters as primitive in thought and action in Gul
Khan’s widely acclaimed Muslim drama Qubool
Hai.

Double
Oppression/ Marginalization: Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s theory about the
‘doubly oppressed’ may be made use of to understand the agential limits set to
the female Muslim community who are subjugated and oppressed both by the
patriarchy and the religious extremists (Spivak 9). The can hence be identified
to encounter a ‘twofold tie’ of religious and sex segregation that the Muslim
ladies have been found to confront on the pretext of social suspicions and
generalizations. Their agency is heavily controlled and are most often than not
left secluded even in feminist forums. From British Colonial period to
thereafter this minority community is hence often seen to be either ascribed as
primordial by the feminists or uncivilized by the patriarchy, depending upon
the extent they try to exert their agency.

Implications of the research

Misrepresentations
and stereotyping the female Muslim characters in the Indian Hindi television
dramas maybe understood to have lead to the creation of the extremes: tradition
and modernity, as two binary opposite roles that the Muslim women are forced to
occupy, hence tactfully making the audience identifying these characters as
either primordial or transgressive. These observations are validated by
examining Gul Khan’s popular Indian Hindi television drama Qubool Hai, a pioneer in representing strong Muslim central
characters ever in the history of Indian Hindi television media. This shall
hence help one draw the implication of the existence of a rigid religion based
politics and patriarchal hegemony in the Indian Hindi television industry, that
time and again ensures the representation of subjugated female Muslim characters
in popular dramas. Also, the resonating similarity in the characterisation of
the image of the female Muslim characters to the oriental constructions maybe
understood as the result of re-representing the stereotypical associations made
about the Muslim community into the popular mainstream media. This shall hence
help widen the research possibilities of the study by examining the English
television media to understand the origin and politics of stereotyping the
Muslim female characters, which later led to the construction of traditional
and modern images as the only two roles that a Muslim women is identified with
in the Indian Hindi television.

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