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But this isn't Gotham, rather this is Halwapur, a (fictional) city in Pakistan, and the hero isn't Batman, but a hero all their own.

A city where a young woman named Jiya, a teacher by day, disguises her identity at night to go out as;

From The Washington Post

In a phone interview, the Pakistani pop star Haroon, who created “Burka Avenger,” pushed back against that criticism: “That we are trying to subjugate women is completely incorrect. ’The Burka Avenger’ is all about women’s empowerment,” Haroon told me. “All superheroes have disguises. The burka simply is hers. But neither Jiya nor the Burka Avenger is invisible.”

In an interview this week with Haroon on Monocole’s Globalist program, Pakistani novelist Bina Shah praised the team behind “Burka Avenger” for its innovation and dedication to delivering overt social messages in an environment where children’s programming is nearly nonexistent. But Shah is concerned about another, not-so-obvious message.

“The woman, Jiya, is shown as only being able to fight her battles when she dons the burqa. And I think that sends the message, especially to little girls that might be watching the program, that a woman can only make a difference in society when she is invisible,” she said.

But Haroon points to the three strong female leads, two of whom are not veiled, in his show.

There is Ashu, a “very smart, courageous” girl who delivers a powerful monologue about the right to education when the girls’ school is shut down in the first episode. Another is a female news reporter whose response to the closure of the school is just as impassioned: “What will they do next? Stop women from eating?” Jiya, teacher by day and burka-donning social justice ninja by night, comes to the rescue, conking all of the bad guys on their heads with books.

Haroon admits that he considered the burka to be a sign of suppression when he was younger.

“I thought it was terrible. I’d actually ask women wearing burkas if their fathers had made them do so. I was surprised when women would respond, ‘What do you mean? My father hates me wearing this. The burka is my personal choice,’” he explains. “I realized I was wrong.”

I can see both sides here I think, on the one, the Burka can, and has been, used as a form of repression, on the other, true freedom is the freedom to choose whether you wear a burka or not, for whatever reason you see fit.

I like that Jiya is a teacher, and that her particular and unique form of martial arts uses books and pens as weapons.

The major opponents being a corrupt mayor, and a fake magician who is worried that progress (like educating women) will mean enough people are educated enough for him to be outed as a fake are also rather obvious parallels to frighteningly real situations in Pakistan; political corruption and the power of the Taliban.

You can see more from the series, including a couple of video clips at the website.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2013 11:35 pm (UTC)
Initially I thought "What the Hell?" when I read "Burka Avenger" but, after checking the site, I gotta agree it is an interesting variation of the dark vigilante. Hopefully this will kick some derriere.
Aug. 18th, 2013 04:42 am (UTC)
Very cool! Thanks for sharing
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )