Veteran actor Khaled Anam is playing his own special role for the edutainment of children in Pakistan through his YouTube channel, CEEP Official.
Named in Urdu after the word oyster, the channel is a very "fun, easy, entertaining, colourful, way to attract the younger generation to know their own national language Urdu," shared Anam in a conversation with Images.
According to the Kahi Unkahi actor, "Kids today, even we as children, our mothers and fathers have been singing 'Twinkle, Twinkle', 'Ba Ba Black Sheep'. For how long? Something's happened to us, we don't respect Urdu... We will only stand out as a successful and stronger country when we start learning and taking pride in our own language."
He hopes to create new content with original "rhymes and basics" and wants to make sure that it includes "rhythm and rhyme in local languages."
"I want to create stuff, which is in process, in Sindhi, Punjabi, Balochi, Sirayiki, Balti, in all the languages of Pakistan. Because music is my forte, I will be composing them in easy melodies, giving kids easier spoken words so that it is simpler for them to learn the language. You can call it a preschool preparation portal," said Anam.
The singer also explained his struggle of running behind television channels to have a specific, designated channel for children. "It's all around the world, but in our country, for some reason children are the least important, most ignored part of the population."
"Every child needs special attention, every child needs that niche in their society. We keep complaining about how everything's bad but everyone should ask themselves: how much have we done for our children?"
"When we were growing up, Pakistan television was running beautiful programmes for children starting from Muslihuddin, Naheed Niazi, Sohail Rana, Khalil Ahmed, Shoaib Hashmi, Farooq Qaisar, but then that is that. It suddenly came to a halt."
He said he has done a lot of programmes for children, but ironically, for PTV only.
"All the private channels say they can't make money out of this and I tell them you can't sell your children. There are certain things that are not for sale. Your children, your kids, the younger population should not have a price tag to it. They are the most expensive commodity that Pakistan has, that we have. We must do stuff for them."
He also revealed that, "The channels were reluctant so I said I'll do it on my own, and Alhamdulillah I got a great response from millions of people."
He further included how grown-ups too, were moving away from national and provincial languages, saying, "In a survey that I conducted, over 50% of the grown ups did not know alif bay pay!"
Through this little effort, he hopes to create a connection between the generations and the Urdu language.
Especially during the coronavirus lockdown and even when things are normalised, people need to know their language and study it, he persists.
Anam believes digital media is the future of media, which is why he chose social media as a launching platform for his channel. He also thinks children today need to be given values, happiness and knowledge "in a nice manner and without sermonising them."
"It's not a bad thing but nobody wants to listen to lectures. Our kid goes to school he is lectured there. He goes to madrassah, he's lectured there. He comes home, he's lectured there. They should have their own space, they should have their own thing."
"CEEP is Urdu for an oyster and I consider our children to be like pearls. Just as an oyster nurtures and cares for a pearl, at CEEP, we would like to take care of the children in a nice easy happy manner," the singer said. He hopes to collaborate with people who are involved in child development, such as doctors and teachers to make the sessions more interactive in the future.