What do you expect from a band called Bayghairat Brigade? Well, for starters the band has the perfect recipe for entertainment — a song called “Aalu Anday” with clever tongue-in-cheek satire in Punjabi that summarises Pakistani politics and an engaging video that gets over 25,000 hits a day.
“There are a whole lot of news anchors on different channels who tell everyone what to do and we call them the ‘Ghairat Brigade’, and since we negate everything that they say or do, we are the Bayghairat Brigade,” explains Ali Aftaab Saeed, who is the vocalist of the band.
The Lahore-based band comprises of Daniyal Malik, an economist by profession, 15-year-old Hamza Malik, who is in the ninth grade and Saeed, who works as a director at a local news channel.
“Although we have made a song that picks on the way things are happening in Pakistan, we are not revolutionaries,” states Daniyal.
When asked about the idea behind the humourous name of the track, Daniyal explains, “The name ‘Aalu Anday’ doesn’t have a thought process behind it, but listeners are coming up with their own justifications and we highly appreciate it.”
Considering music to be a passion more than a profession, the band has accepted the deteriorating state of the music industry and have kept it in mind.
“Only schools will be interested in the kind of music we make and no school will call a band like Bayghairat Brigade to perform. That is why we didn’t invest much into it and everything else that you see comes straight out of our pockets,” states Saeed.
On the contrary, 15-year-old band member Hamza has absolutely no idea what the song means and what he has gotten himself into. “We told him a number of times, that if you want, we can edit you out of the video, but it was his passion for music that made him stick to it and the teenager had has done a good job,” says Saeed.
However, one thing that saddens the band is that despite a number of puns on Ajmal Kasab, Owais Qadri and Maulana Abdul Aziz, all the threats that they have received so far are about the mention of Nobel Prize winner, Dr Abdus Salam
“It is sad and ironic that people threaten us or give suggestions like, ‘You should have used Abdul Qadeer Khan’s name instead of Dr Abdus Salam,” says Saeed, but is quick to add, “Perhaps this was the kind of debate we wanted to trigger.”
Different political parties have asked Bayghairat Brigade to join them and make music for their campaigns, but the band has refused. They, however, do not mind their music being used against any force that is anti-democratic.
Additionally, Bayghairat Brigade has a number of tracks ready for release and all of them are socially relevant. Like “Aalu Anday”, the majority of the songs have a satirical tinge or a social message, which the band is adamant about sharing with listeners. With their first single going viral via YouTube and Facebook, Bayghairat Brigade is fast developing a following of everyone from teenagers to intellectuals — this is exactly what the band wants as this will help take their message to different groups in Pakistani society.
“Pakistan is going through a bad time but we are hopeful that the future can be different. Democracy can work in the country and we would encourage all of our fans and followers to vote,” Saeed states.
Correction: An earlier version of the post misspelt the names of Owais Qadri and Ajmal Kasab. The error is regretted.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2011.