#BanDhoopKiDeewar: calls to boycott Ahad, Sajal Indo-Pak web series


On June 15, the trailer for Ahad Raza Mir and Sajal Aly’s Dhoop Ki Deewar was released. The online series, directed by Haseeb Hasan and written by Umera Ahmed, depicts the real-life pair as two young people separated by the Indo-Pak border but bonded by their sorrow over the deaths of their dads in the continuing battles over IIOJK. Following the show’s publication, there was a huge backlash on Twitter, with many people saying that it was insulting to Kashmiris and that peace with India was not an option. #BanDhoopKiDeewar soon became a trending topic in India, with many people outraged because the show portrays a Muslim girl (played by Sajal) who is romanced by a Hindu guy (portrayed by Ahad).

A user tweeted, “We never had and never will be together, India and Pakistan are two different nationalities. #Kashmir #Kashmirilivesmatter #BanDhoopKiDeewar.”

Another user wrote that there is no room for peace between the two nations. “Aman ka tamasha failed the first time and it will fail the second time too. But it will run long enough for many to make a quick buck off of it. You can not build peace on blood, occupation and ethnic cleansing. #DhoopKiDeewar”

In moments like these, some Twitter users defended violence above peace, saying, “It wasn’t romanticism and emotions which brought peace. History itself reveals that emotions and love are the different invisible sides of the war. It is war that brings peace, as revealed by history. #Ban DhoopKiDeewar”

“Kashmir is bleeding and what we are doing? Making these filthy dramas for the sake of PR. One needs to ask @fawadchaudhry is the blood of Kashmiris that cheap? This has happened many times that Muslim girl is falling for Hindu and we are enjoying it. Poor. #BanDhoopKiDeewar,” tweeted another user.

The portrayal of Pakistanis in Indian films was an issue of concern for many too. One tweeted, “Pakistanis should avoid humanising occupier India in films. While India preaches hate towards Kashmiris and Pakistanis in their movies (Fanaa, Gaddar, Sarfarosh etc.) some liberal Pakistanis are living in la la land and advocate for love with fascist India. #BanDhoopKiDeewar”

Some Twitter users defended the show, saying that the message of peace and love is more essential than harsh speech. “In recent decades, people of both sides are fueled with hate by politicians, conflicts and wars. These types of dramas will help to de-escalate hatred among Pakistanis and Indians. There is nothing wrong in the trailer that contradicts the two-nation theory. #BanDhoopKiDeewar,” said a user

Another tweeted, “I really liked the unbiased storyline of DKD. They haven’t shown any country in bad light. India and Pakistan are both suffering at the hands of politics, media lies/biased reports and third party interventions. I hope people learn something from this series! #DhoopKiDeewar”

Ahmed went to Instagram to explain her position on the issue, writing a long message. She emphasised that as a writer, she had no control in whatever platform the series was released on, and that the fact that it would air on Zee5 was not her choice. The writer referred to the love tale as more of a “social tragedy,” emphasising the consequences of war on human lives. She stated that the article had been submitted to ISPR for clearance after it was originally written, thus the issue of her being a traitor was moot. Finally, she inquired as to why calling for peace was considered immoral, noting that it is actively promoted in Islam.

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