Naveed Aman Khan
CHINESE President Xi Jinping discussed the role of the arts in China at a meeting in Beijing with leading artistes, propaganda officials, lobbyists and representatives of the armed forces. In the days that followed, drawing parallels to a landmark talk on culture that Mao Zedong delivered in 1942. Zhao Benshan, a popular actor, was so moved by President Xi’s words that he couldn’t sleep. Since he assumed power, President Xi Jinping widely considered China’s most powerful leader in decades, has overseen a crackdown on civil society and dissent. His views on art and literature offer a window into his vision for Chinese society under his rule and how much space he is willing to grant artistes and writers. President Xi reiterated the Communist Party’s long time dogma that the arts must serve a social purpose, which for him appears to be moral education. Pakistan needs to follow President Xi’s political, diplomatic, economic and cultural revolutionary and visionary policies. Culture makes or shakes societies. Cultures and arts represent the lives, tastes, aesthetic sense, mood and temperament of the societies. President Xi believes that art should be objective and purposeful. It should entertain inform, guide and educate the people.
In decent presentation of art and culture mislead and derail the tastes of the societies eventually effecting thoughtful brains. Creatively and positivity in theatre drama provide opportunities of learning in amusement. Objective and message oriented drama and theatre plays effectively reform and educate societies in lighter mood. In Pakistan objective message oriented stage plays with philosophical touch are being introduced on a limited scale which reflect changing mood of the writers, producers, sponsors, actors, directors and the audience. Cultural troupe from Xi’an, Shaanxi arrived Islamabad in August on the eve of 71st Independence Day of Pakistan. Scholars like Professor Dr. Ma Dong, High level Chinese government officials like Mr. Bai Zhijun, Mr. Zhao and others visited Pakistan along with cultural troupe. This was practical implementation of President Xi Jinping’s vision of the promotion of Chinese culture in the entire world especially Pakistan. Chinese scholars like Professor Dr Ma Dong are being sent all around to portray positive picture of Chinese nation.
This is new age of cultural prosperity. Our nation’s writers and artistes should become the savants, the pioneers, the early advocates of their era. Through more substantial, moral, warm-hearted artistic work, they should write about and document the people’s great path, the era’s requirements for progress, highlight the beauty of convictions and integrity, carry forward the Chinese spirit, bring together China’s might and inspire the nation’s every ethnicity to vigorously march towards the future. People should not be provided cultural garbage. In some of their work, some artistes ridicule what is noble, distort the classics. They subvert history and smear the masses and heroes. Some don’t tell right from wrong, don’t distinguish between good and evil, present ugliness as beauty, exaggerate society’s dark side. Some are salacious, indulge in kitsch, are of low taste and have gradually turned their work into cash cows, or into ecstasy pills for sensual stimulation. Some invent things and write without basis. Their work is shoddy and strained, they have created cultural garbage.
Factually art is a public service. Art and culture will emit the greatest positive energy when the Marxist view of art and culture is firmly established and the people are their focus. To focus on the people is to make meeting the people’s spiritual and cultural needs the starting and ending point of art and culture and the work in art and culture, to make the people the subject in artistic representations, to turn the people into the critics and judges of artistic aesthetics, and to make serving the people the bounded duty of artistes. Art is a cure for all ills. Our society is at a moment of great intellectual activity. It is an era of big collisions of ideas and blending of culture, which has generated quite a few problems. One of the most prominent is that some people lack values. There is no good and evil in their views, there is no bottom line to their actions, they dare to do everything that violates party discipline and the nation’s laws. They dare to do everything that is unethical. There is no sense of nation, sense of community, sense of family. There is no right or wrong, there is nothing that isn’t questioned, no knowledge of beauty and ugliness, no distinction between fragrant and odorous, there is ignorance and extravagance. This is the root cause for all kinds of problems in society. If these are not effectively solved, it will be difficult to move forward in the reform and opening and the socialist modernization drive.
Through art acceptable criticism should be made. What art criticism needs to be is just criticism. It cannot be all praise or even cheap flattery or adulation. It cannot indiscriminately apply Western theories to reshape Chinese aesthetics or use commercial standards in place of artistic ones, completely equating art works with ordinary merchandise and embracing the belief that the positiveness of a commentary is equal to the thickness of red envelopes’ used to hold gifts of money. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has provided new opportunities of the interaction of cultures and arts of the two countries. Chinese art and culture are positive and productive based on morality which helps in making the nation more reformed and civilised. Chinese cultural theatre drama is presentable and dignified. Chinese theatre drama is presented on stage in a dignified way which seldom finds beneath dignity action and dialogues. This reflects sophisticated and descent behaviour and demand of the society. Because of frequent interaction of Pakistani theatre with different nations it will learn a lot. This is the age of the refinement of Pakistani culture.