Pakistan's cartoon 'Burka Avenger' swoops into India to empower girls

Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:59am EDT
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By Nita Bhalla

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A female cartoon superhero who dons a burka to tackle crimes against girls and other social ills is bringing her message of women's empowerment to India, the creator of the Pakistani children's series said.

The Emmy-nominated "Burka Avenger" series started in Pakistan in August 2013 and has since launched in Afghanistan, winning global accolades including the Peabody Award, International Gender Equity Prize and Asian Media Award.

Its main protagonist, a teacher called Jiya - who tackles everything from the ban on girls going to school, to child labor to environmental degradation - was named as one of the most influential fictional characters of 2013 by Time magazine.

The series' creator and director Haroon Rashid said "Burka Avenger" would launch in India in April with the Zee Network and will be broadcast in four languages - Hindi, English, Tamil and Telegu.

"It is launching on the ZeeQ channel which is a children's edutainment channel so it is the perfect fit for 'Burka Avenger'," said Rashid in a statement late on Monday.

"We are rolling out a worldwide launch for the 'Burka Avenger' series this year so it is fantastic that one of the first territories is India where we are able to reach such a large audience."

Media pundits say the series immediately struck a chord in Pakistan where Taliban militants have prevented thousands of girls from going to school and attacked activists campaigning for their education.

The issue grabbed the world's attention in October 2012 when child rights activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai was shot and badly injured by militants who boarded her school bus in northwest Pakistan.   Continued...