Pakistani-British actor Riz Ahmed was recently in Pakistan and his Instagram feed is ‘buzzing’ with pictures and videos from the country.
The Emmy-winning actor was visiting Pakistan after 13 years to attend the Lahore Literary Festival (LFF). Mohsin Hamid was holding his panel, with whom he had previously worked in The Reluctant Fundamentalist. So, Riz spent a few days in Lahore and then made his way to Karachi.
He also posted several pictures and videos on Instagram to display his opinion on Pakistan. He started by posting 2 pictures of Karachi in which he added a caption of being excited about his visit and that he will be posting his impressions from Pakistan in the coming week.
Then, he moved on to post videos and picture about the older markets in Karachi known as Juna Market & Johriya Bazaar where he showed his fans the hustle bustle of this market and went on to describe this amazing city. He told his fans that most of Karachi is new and had only half a million people till the 1947 partition but now it has more than 20 million people staying here, both Indian and Pakistani. He went on to call Karachi as the ‘city of migrants’.
Next, he posted some colorful pictures of buses, trucks, lorries, etc. of Pakistan and praised the design and colors. He also posted a few pictures of transgender in Karachi and went ahead to explain in detail about them. He informed his fans that Pakistan has more transgender walking around than in New York and it is an officially recognized ‘third gender’ by the Pakistan government.
Riz’s Pakistan ended his series by sharing videos of Sufi shrines and spoke about the disco lighting, rhythmic chanting, and disciples with the Swami-type hairstyles. He explained that Sufi Islam is quite widespread in South Asia and local saints often celebrate and mourn at these shrines via singing, feeding the poor, and spinning around.
Many people think of Islam as austere and somber. But at Sufi shrines you will find disco lighting, rhythmic chanting, and disciples with swami-esque matted dreadlocks. Sufi Islam, often associated with the poet Rumi, is widely practiced in South Asia. It has an emphasis on mysticism and purity of heart rather than a fixation with scriptural literalism. It is an open spirituality, borrowing from cultural customs & folklore. Local saints are celebrated and mourned at shrines through singing, transcendental spinning, and feeding the poor. Sufi shrines have been bombed by extremists in recent years. This partly due to the spread of Salafi / Wahhabi Islam which aims to strip local ‘superstitions’ and ‘unorthodox practices’ out of the religion.
Riz Ahmed’s outlook on Pakistan was quite unique and a big eye-opener. It has disclosed many creative and positive aspects of Pakistan’s lifestyle.
Thanks Riz for the glimpses of Pakistan and giving your fans a real view of your homeland.