Burka Avenger is the first animated series to be produced in Pakistan. The cartoon was created by Pakistani pop star and stars a burka-clad female superhero who uses a fictional martial art called Takht Kabaddi, which employs books and pens as weapons, to defeat her enemies. While the series is intended to provide a positive role model for girls in the face of the Taliban’s opposition to female education, its main goals are to make people laugh, to entertain and to bring positive social messages to the youth.
Meet Burka Avenger: a mild-mannered teacher with secret martial arts skills who uses a flowing black burka to hide her identity as she fights local thugs seeking to shut down the girls’ school where she works.
Sadly, it’s a battle Pakistanis are all too familiar with in the real world.
The Taliban have blown up hundreds of schools and attacked activists in Pakistan’s northwest because they oppose girls’ education. The militants sparked worldwide condemnation last fall when they shot Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old schoolgirl activist, in the head in an unsuccessful attempt to kill her.
Action in the “Burka Avenger” cartoon series is much more lighthearted. The bungling bad guys evoke more laughter than fear and are no match for the Burka Avenger, undoubtedly the first South Asian ninja who wields books and pens as weapons…
The Urdu language show is the brainchild of one of Pakistan’s biggest pop stars, Aaron Haroon Rashid – known to many as simply Haroon – who conceived of it as a way to emphasize the importance of girls’ education and teach children other lessons, such as protecting the environment and not discriminating against others. This last point is critical in a country where Islamist militants wage repeated attacks on religious minorities.
“Each one of our episodes is centered around a moral, which sends out strong social messages to kids,” Rashid told The Associated Press in his first interview about the show. “But it is cloaked in pure entertainment, laughter, action and adventure.”
For more information, visit the Burka Avenger website.