Turkish drama Dirilis Ertugrul (Resurrection: Ertugrul) – a historical fiction series is emerging as a solace among Indian Muslims in the time of coronavirus lockdown. The popular TV series is available on Netflix with English subtitles.

An action adventure series full of sword fights, Dirilis Ertugrul is based on the life of Ertugrul, father of Ottoman Empire founder Osman I, and highlights the struggles of Kayi, a Turkic tribe that went on to establish one of the most powerful global empires in the Anatolia region.

Often described as a Turkish “Game of Thrones”, the plot is set in the backdrop of 12th century where Turks were busy fighting invading Mongols, Byzantines and the Knights Templar Crusaders in Anatolia (now modern-day Turkey).

Amid Prolonged lockdown and complete business shutdown, people with no work in hand are spending time while watching the series with their families together.

The series is also dubbed in Urdu and available on internet. Each season has more than 25 episodes, each around two hours long with Urdu and English subtitles. The series aired between 2013 and 2018 on Turkish national TV TRT but gained popularity among Indians recently. Last year its follow up Kirilis Osman has taken over.

The high-rated drama with the portrayal of traditional Turco-Islamic values has made it a phenomenal global hit. It is reportedly being watched in over 60 countries including Middle East, South Africa and South America.

Set at the crossroads of empires, the series featuring Ertugrul Ghazi, Turkish warrior or Alp as a central character depicts the struggles, tyranny, oppression, suffering, identity and justice of Kayi, a minor group of Turkish tribe of 2,000 people.

Muslims rulers are usually portrayed as barbarians or tyrants in historical portrayals. For example, Alauddin Khilji the historic ruler of the Delhi Sultanate is projected as a crazed, carnivorous barbarian in the Bollywood movie Padmaavat.

While Khilji was a hard man, he was not unusual for his times and definitely not the uncultured barbarian that the recent Bollywood movie projects him through.

If you drill down into the show, you will see that each episode delivers both spiritual and material lessons by allowing principle characters to talk directly about moral dilemmas and their resolution.

In addition to that a fictionalised version of renowned Islamic scholar and Sufi Ibn-e-Arabi, is seen advising Ertugrul, during difficult times and offer explanations on how to deal with the situation with examples from Quran and Hadeeth but most significantly from the life of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

For many, watching Ertugrul is like Alice walking through the looking glass; the Muslim characters are the ones making the good decisions, caring for the weak, standing for principles and defying oppression.

With Indian soap operas now becoming boring with same set of faces and never-ending story lines, Turkish dramas have come as a whiff of fresh air”.


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