Resurrection: Ertuğrul becomes symbol of rebellion against internet shutdown in Kashmir

'My father, before he heads out of the home, strictly asks us to pause the series if we are watching it,' says Kashmiri resident

News Service
14:48 - 12/12/2019 Thursday
Update: 16:06 - 5/02/2024 Monday
Yeni Şafak
File photo
File photo

The internet shutdown in the disputed Kashmir region has led fans of the hit Turkish drama Resurrection: Ertuğrul to come up with genius ways to watch their favorite TV show, bringing together the community in the process.

Commonly known as the Turkish Game of Thrones, the globally-renowned TV show is travelling from household to household in flash drives, bypassing the internet ban, according to a report by India-based ThePrint.

Rafi Ahmed, who lives in Srinagar’s Hazratbal, said that watching the series had now become a daily activity in which the whole neighborhood was involved.

“Now, after Maghrib (Islamic evening prayers), people, young and old, sit together to discuss Ertuğrul,” Ahmed said.

On Aug. 5, India imposed a strict communication blackout in Jammu and Kashmir after stripping the region of its limited autonomous status under the Indian constitution. Indian authorities have justified the communications restrictions by saying separatists might use social media to trigger anti-government agitation.

Rediscovering Islamic values

“My father, before he heads out of the home, strictly asks us to pause the series if we are watching it,” Waseem Shafi, a resident of Srinagar’s Chanapora area, said.

Nothing that the drama helped them rediscover Islamic history, Shafi said: “A friend of mine suggested the series. There was nothing to do during the clampdown and I started to watch it. Slowly, my family got interested too.”

Kashmiris say that the internet shutdown actually contributed in increasing the popularity of the show, which was already religiously followed, sending the “viewership throught the roof.”

“Besides we can relate to the series culturally and politically, especially in today’s atmosphere when there is massive repression on several freedoms and rights,” Shafi said.

Those who had downloaded the series before the internet ban or had so on trips outside the valley share the series with each other, contributing to a sense of solidarity in the region.

Taking place in 13th century Anatolia, Resurrection: Ertuğrul, tells the story of the period prior to the establishment of the Ottoman Empire around the life of Ertuğrul Gazi, the father of the empire's first leader.

The series illustrates the struggle of Ertuğrul and his warriors against a plethora of adversaries from the Knights Templar to Mongol invaders.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

writing by Mustafa Ghanim

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