‘My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack’

Published: September 18, 2012

A new Pashto single has been criticised for trivialising the issue of drone attacks. DESIGN: ESSA MALIK

PESHAWAR: 

The war on terror in the northern province of Pakistan has taken a toll on Pakhtun society. But while some are protesting against drone attacks for causing devastation in the tribal belt, one artist has been inspired by the pilot-less aerial vehicles to release a song.

Following the success of her single “Khud Kasha Dhamaka Yama” (Don’t chase me, I’m an illusion, a suicide bomb) last year, Pashto singer Sitara Younis has released yet another track penned around the theme of militancy – “Za Kaom Pa Stargo Stargo Drone Hamla” (My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack).

Written and composed by renowned Pashto music director-composer Maas Khan Wesal, the recent release along with Younis’ previous track, were part of a recently released Pashto tele-film “Da Khkulo Badshahi Da” by Khans Productions. This track also features Dua Qureshi, a Punjabi actor whose career has largely revolved around the Pashto film industry.

The video, which was uploaded to YouTube about two weeks ago, has gathered a significant amount of attention due to its appealing yet controversial lyrics with over 18,375 views.  While the song and video do not have anything new to offer, with an unimpressive melody and some dance moves by Dua, it seems the audience cares more about the lyrics: “My beauty and body at its prime, have many going astray, my gaze is as fatal as a drone attack.”

Despite the views on YouTube, the song was not appreciated by Pashto music composers and the general audience – it received only three likes and five comments.

“It looks like the song is produced by some foreigners instead of a Pakistani,” says viewer Faisal, expressing that a Pakistani could “not have produced such a disgraceful song”. Another viewer Salman also comments: “The producers of this song could not even understand the grave problems faced by the country – it’s an issue of national sovereignty and should be treated accordingly.” Many viewers feel that the singer and composer should be ashamed of themselves.

Furthermore, Pashto music composer Arshad Ali tells The Express Tribune. “It’s not appropriate to incorporate drone attacks in music as it’s a grave issue faced by our country. Each artist has a certain responsibility towards society.”  He then raises the question, “Why have singers suddenly diverted their attention towards drone attacks and suicide bombings and incorporated them into songs when they who have produced only romantic songs till now?” He believes that politically-laced lyrics require a deeper level of understanding of what is actually happening in the country and should not be treated superficially.

Gul Nazir Mangal, a famous lyricist and poet from Waziristan says: “We should not be proud of these attacks, which are being carried out by foreigners on our land. This needs to be condemned instead of making songs and dancing on its tunes.”

“How can we incorporate such a negative thing into our entertainment industry – something which we are all protesting against?” he beseeches. Mangal believes that songs like Younis’ are not only harmful to culture and literature, but also create a sense of disunity amongst the people.

Mangal proposes that a censor board consisting of actors, writers and elders be established by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to overlook and filter such content. He feels this is imperative as drone attacks and suicide bombings have left deep imprints on peoples’ minds and such songs are a result of the overall negativity in society.

All in all, the war on terror in these tribal areas has not only become a part of their art, literature and cinema but even the Pashto tele-films, which are famous for vulgarity and Kalashnikov culture.

My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack

The touch of my lips sweeten words

Intoxicating wine are my looks

My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack

Coquettish stare is a snare of beauty

Smile fresh as early morning dew

Ensnares lovers with amorous pangs

My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack

O lovers! Go through a lover’s agony

A leaping flame and a rose bud

The clink of my bangles leaves one enchanted

My smile rustles desires in many a heart

Tests lovers’ courage

My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack

My beauty and body

At its prime

Leaves many going astray

My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack

Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • sonia
    Sep 18, 2012 - 11:51PM

    didn’t bother reading past the first line.

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  • Romo
    Sep 19, 2012 - 2:57AM

    This is one of the ways to relieve tension caused by all the senseless violence in the country. Bravo to the artists!

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  • Enlightened
    Sep 19, 2012 - 8:51AM

    I sincerely hope that the singer and composer are not harmed by the fanatics.

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  • Imran Con
    Sep 19, 2012 - 12:37PM

    @Enlightened:
    From what I gather, the fact they make music is enough for a death sentence from them anyways.

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  • gul
    Sep 23, 2012 - 10:02AM

    The song is not Popular in Peshawar. Pakhtoons have not even heard about the song so for. it is due to some media reports that attracted some people foreigners to the song. though it has been reported in a number of so called prestigious newspapers like the guardian but even then Pakhtoons do not know about this notorious song. the song is a part of one of the notorious tele-film, ‘Da khqulo Badmashi da’ which was also big flop.

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