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Why PM Imran Khan Is Promoting Yunus Emre In Pakistan?

Prime Minister Imran Khan has been open about his interest in Turkish history so many times or maybe about strengthening relation of Pakistan with Turkey. Perhaps, this is the reason why Pakistan’s state-run channel PTV is showing many Turkish dramas, that too on the recommendation of PM Imran Khan. Now it seems that PM is inspired from many things from Turkey including the TV serial Yunus Emre based on the legendary poet of the same name.

Khan’s followers have appreciated his attempt to enlighten the young generation about Islamic history through Turkish literature. On the other hand, he also faced criticism from the public, celebrities, and filmmakers in Pakistan. They strongly asserted that when states push international series then it greatly reduces the viewership of local content. Yasir Hussain received serious backlash from Ertugrul fans after he criticized Turkish actors and boasted about Pakistani dramas.

When Khan told people to watch Drillis: Ertugrul, critics said that it was adding to the native identity crises of Pakistanis. People followed their leader and eventually revived the serial in Pakistan which ended in 2019. It became a national show because of PM’s endorsement of the series. Now the premier wants another Turkish drama to be aired in Urdu on PTV.

The series had two seasons that aired from 2015-2016. It told a story of harsh conditions and temptations one has to overcome in order to become a Dervish (saint/Sufi).

Who Was Yunus Emre?

Emre was a very popular Sufi poet of 13th century who belonged to Anatolia, which is now Asian part of Turkey. Not enough literature is documented on the mystical poet but most of his work is available in Divan-i Yunus Emre (Collection of Yunus Emre), which is a set of 415 poems. His work is a direct product of insanely disturbed political environment in the entire peninsula. Emre reflected great inner and external struggle in his poetry that led him to the pinnacle of Sufism. Khan wants people to watch a peaceful series after promoting full-fledge action in Ertugrul. 

Should Prime Minister Recommend Such Things?

It is unclear why PM Imran Khan has recommended the show. May be there is an attempt to make the Pakistani nation explore some common grounds with Turkish heritage on the basis of religion and the Ottoman Empire. Or, the nation of Pakistan is being provided some different basis for its building. Or, perhaps, it was just that Prime Minister liked the show and recommended for the audience.

Irrespective of the motive, there doesn’t seem much acceptance for PM recommending a season to watch since, the country is embroiled in many issues, the economy being the chief amongst them. Hence, there is a popular opinion that He should focus on things that matter the most.

People could be interested in taking Khan’s suggestion after he pays attention to the severe economic crises that have made regular lives miserable.

Real world problems are just too much for taking interest in a TV show.

There are many important things to watch in the country than Yunus Emre series

Or Khan could help practically as shown in the series like Ertugrul and Emre.

Some spared Khan and congratulated Yunus Emre cast in advance. Ertugrul actors became very popular in Pakistan, after Khan promoted the series. Engin Altan (Ertugrul) and Esra Bilgic (Haleema Sultan) have even worked with Pakistani companies.

This Show Is Different From Ertugrul

The show is largerly based on Sufi’s struggle in his journey. Sufism is the final level of love between God and Human which is achieved after defeating one’s ego. Sufis usually guided Turkish kings in important religious and political affairs. Yunus Emre also held a prominent political position during the period of Seljuk Empire. The power of Sufism also reached across the peninsula to inspire other worlds that were far from Islam. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared 1991 the year of Emre. The universal body also feels like sharing his poetry from time to time.

Emre’s journey to Sufism started with him working as a disciple to Taptuq Emre who was an ancestral Sufi. However, Yunus was the first Turkish poet to use simple Turkish language which was widely understandable.

What Was His Belief?

He instantly became popular as his message behind words easily reached the hearts of people. He went on to be known as the founder of pure Turkish language literature. He largely wrote poems about Sufism and describing his eternal love for Allah (God of Muslims). Religiously, he was an unorthodox Muslim which is why his messages reached beyond the confinements of Islam. He strongly believed that humans are an inherent being on earth but also a reflection of God (as He created them). He wrote about unity of all existence and hope for humans to treat each other with love and tolerance even when they are wrong. During the time of great crises, Emre’s teaching provided wisdom, hope, and humanity to a lot of people.

Significance Of Promoting The Series In Modern Times

Imran Khan promoted the serial at exact those times where Pakistan is at its worst socio-economic status. Emre faced similar times during his self-searching, self-rectification, and learning phase. Khan’s strategy over here could be that people could learn something of Emre in these hard times. Or, there could be something else at play. The series is created by Mehmet Bozdağ who was also behind Ertugrul.

Khan’s critics believed that there is no time to indulge in that literature yet. It is deeper than an ocean and for some it can be impossible to understand the overriding idea of Sufism. There is a lot to learn from the legend of Yunus Emre but it surely won’t be possible due to a series. A person has to study for years and experience the similar path Emre and others like him took to achieve Sufism.

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