Strings: Passionate patriots

Published: November 4, 2011
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Strings talk about their poignant song ‘Mein Tou Dekhoonga’ and how it is being used on the political front. PHOTO: FILE

Strings talk about their poignant song ‘Mein Tou Dekhoonga’ and how it is being used on the political front. PHOTO: FILE

Strings talk about their poignant song ‘Mein Tou Dekhoonga’ and how it is being used on the political front. PHOTO: FILE
Strings talk about their poignant song ‘Mein Tou Dekhoonga’ and how it is being used on the political front. PHOTO: FILE Strings talk about their poignant song ‘Mein Tou Dekhoonga’ and how it is being used on the political front. PHOTO: FILE
LAHORE: 

The phenomenal turn out at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) rally astounded many, but what stood out amongst that sea of supporters was a concert of sorts by Strings.

Social media was abuzz with both Strings and Shehzad Roy’s performance live at Minar-e-Pakistan. Strings has been largely apolitical in their music and stance, so it was surprising to see Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia come out again, they also sang at the dharna in Karachi, to make their voice heard (quite literally!) with their most poignant and socio-political song to date: “Mein Tou Dekhoonga”. The song seems to have become not only an anthem of hope but also, given its repeated play back at the PTI rally, an anthem for Imran Khan’s party as well. Gimic, strategy or heartfelt support, The Express Tribune catches up with Strings to ask if this shift in stance is here to stay.

When your song “Mein Tou Dekhoonga” initially got used by the PTI, you had stated that you were not part of the party and the song can be used by anyone hoping for change. Now the song is like an official anthem for the party. What made you guys change your mind? Are you officially members of PTI now?

No, we are not associated with any party and this song is not their official anthem. It’s just that Imran Khan really believes in the content of this song and wants it to be played in all his rallies. We support him because at the moment he seems to be our only hope. He might not be perfect but, one thing is certain, he is not corrupt and that’s the reason people are supporting him.

How different was the experience of the dharna from the Lahore Minar-e-Pakistan rally?

Minar-e-Pakistan was an entirely different experience. I was getting goose bumps while playing the song. The energy from the crowd was phenomenal. I was almost in tears, thinking that Inshallah tonight will bring about a change that will go down in history and Strings is a part of it.

Critics may slam your performances at rallies stating that this is real politics, not a mass entertainment event. How would you defend that claim?

The world has seen art as a very strong medium to bring about change. This is exactly what we are hoping for. Was Madam Noor Jehan entertaining our soldiers with “Aay Watan Kay Sajeelay Jawano”?  Please critics, wake up! All these critics have their vested interests. We made this song for the people of Pakistan and that night we were singing it to them. The connection was immensely strong, we never felt anything like that before.

Do you think it is right for artistes (be it thespians or musicians) to participate in political activism so manifestly like Strings has in recent times?

We think it’s important for every Pakistani to take interest in Pakistani politics. Our country is going through tough times and only the people of Pakistan can pull it out of this turmoil. That night was a symbolic night. There was nothing theatrical about it. Whatever we did, came right from our hearts. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, if you believe in the cause. If we were charging to sing “Mein Tou Dekhoonga” at all the party jalsas, we would surely lose our respect and that is totally unacceptable for Strings.

There seems to be a sudden youth centric shift within Strings. Is this a conscious move, and to what end?

Yes it is true, the reason being that music cannot be made in isolation. It’s a product of your environment. We are all deeply affected by the current condition of our country. Right now our youth needs us. They need a direction. In these hard times of utter confusion and uncertainty, we hope to give them a direction through our songs.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • Saba Khan
    Nov 4, 2011 - 8:05PM

    Even the illusion of HOPE is better than NO Hope! thank you Strings for choosing the right party… yes,, you and we all are part of change..

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  • Palvasha von Hassell
    Nov 4, 2011 - 8:08PM

    Well done! You’re doing and saying the right things, and what’s more, believe in them too. May well prove to be historical performance. Pakistan needs ppl like you and Imran. Thumbs up!

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  • Nadir
    Nov 4, 2011 - 8:09PM

    No mention of the hypocrisy that Strings has been sponsored by US companies, signed on to soundtracks of US film producers and labels, and now attends anti-US rallies.

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  • Lobster
    Nov 4, 2011 - 8:12PM

    Keep it up!Recommend

  • FAZ
    Nov 4, 2011 - 8:36PM

    Only 2 things can bring PTI into some sort of power
    1) Free and Fair elections, which is a dream under Zardari led PPP tola!
    2) Massive people movement at least in urban areas of Pakistan (no expectations from feudal infested rural areas which are essentially thappa mafias). This has to be backed silently by the Army ofcourse!

    Otherwise we all can vote for PTI and hope that we would be registered as a Muslim with the third level of eeman (In which you see an eveil, donot support it and act silently against it)

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  • Nov 4, 2011 - 10:12PM

    Virtually Pakistani musicians have nothing left in this country, the only platform of their survival is sit-ins and rallies. I am sure if any other political party would calls Strings or Roy they would become a part of their dharna as well.

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  • Faraz
    Nov 4, 2011 - 10:17PM

    Strings indeed made history in Lahore, and they’re excellent role models for our youth as despite being hugely famous and successful, they’re honest to their roots and so politically aware. Moreover they’re not trapped in ethnic nonsense. Pakistanis like them give us hope.

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  • Me
    Nov 4, 2011 - 10:52PM

    Nadir, I beg to differ (re the hypocrisy comment) — it is possible to take a stance against the US govt’s actions without holding American companies or individuals responsible. I shudder to think where we’d be if everyone judged us by our govt(s) and their past or recent actions.

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  • Sao Lao
    Nov 5, 2011 - 4:48AM

    Strings is one best band in Pakistan of all times. their affection with their motherland is remarkable. i’m so glad to see them joining up PTI

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  • Alam
    Nov 5, 2011 - 6:01AM

    Great going Strings. One thing I am sure about you guys is that you are honest.The only reason you are supporting IK is because you honestly believe that he can change things for the better and I respect you for that. I hope to see you performing in the Karachi jalsa on December 25 at Mazar e Quaid. CheersRecommend

  • zia ur rehman
    Nov 5, 2011 - 6:04AM

    PTI PTI!!!

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  • salman
    Nov 5, 2011 - 8:37AM

    I don’t know why there is an issie for artists to take a stance on politics and support a movement or political party. It is done all the time in countries such as USA. During the civil rights movement under Martin Luther King Jr. many artists participated in marches, rallies and fundraisers to bring awareness of this important issue at the time. A time comes when we all need to be accounted for and this is the time to save the country from the traditional power elites.

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  • Fahd
    Nov 5, 2011 - 11:58AM

    @ FAZ: you are somewhat right, but i do think that the trend in villages is also changing. Yes inn Balochistan and interior sindh that might be the case, but in villages of punjab people want change. If guided correctly they can deliver. BUt even if they dont we still have to vote for pti, coz i cant just sit and see my country being shred to peicesRecommend

  • abrar
    Nov 5, 2011 - 1:01PM

    Thanks Strings…
    u r playing a vital role and strings will be an important part of history when the history of change will be written in Pak. Thanks for giving us such songs which give us hope thank u thank u

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  • blithe
    Nov 5, 2011 - 4:31PM

    I have heard a Strings interview where they were saying that Musharraf was the greatest thing since sliced bread….

    i woud be careful with the word patriot or patriotic…

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  • ANAM
    Nov 5, 2011 - 10:08PM

    vote for musharaf for the sake of pakistan.please! Recommend

  • Amna
    Nov 6, 2011 - 1:40AM

    @blithe: the questions is, how old is this interview? there are many people myself included, that thought positively of Musharraf in the referendum days. Just because you thought someone was right for the country a couple of years into their rule and later on decided they werent doing what they set out to or claimed to doesnt mean you are being a hypocrite. And strings, Imran KHan and any other person can change an opinion on a person based on actions. Just because I support someone now, doesnt mean I have to stick to that forever and ever no matter what that person does. This mentality is the reason Pakistan is the way it is today.

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  • MarkH
    Nov 6, 2011 - 4:25AM

    @Amna:
    It means that support for Imran Khan could be just as faulty as their support for Musharraf. Though that concept applies to all government support anywhere. It doesn’t change the fact that almost all politicians get praised while running or at the start their term. No matter how good anyone looks, they will always fall short in some area because they’re looking for votes, not plans, during elections.

    I’d bet you anything that if you grab any demographic reports for a region and then look at a running political party’s claims, they’ll line up almost exactly.

    No politicians true face or ability is shown until they’re put on the spot and under pressure, they all come out looking a little something like every other one that preceded them. Just as they all looked just as good before winning.

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  • Bling Bling
    Nov 6, 2011 - 9:14AM

    They were supporting Musharraf at one point :S

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  • Gulfam
    Nov 6, 2011 - 1:58PM

    @Nadir: I’m working for a US company. Does that mean I stop supporting Imran Khan? Does that mean I start supporting the corrupt government? Nobody is anti-US here. People supporting Pakistan Tehreek -e- Insaf are against US policies, not against its people. Come out of your self inflicted cocoon think about your generations to come.

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  • mehwish
    Nov 6, 2011 - 2:27PM

    i love ths song ..mei tou dekhon ga….a bag msg in a vary cute way…been a fan of strings r8 frm childhood nd still i m..fvv no. durr

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  • Sayyed Safi Peezrada
    Nov 8, 2011 - 8:28PM

    Great going Strings. You are aspiring the youth by singing songs from the platform of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf. Imran Khan is the only hope at the moment to save Pakistan.

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  • Imran
    Nov 8, 2011 - 8:38PM

    @Nadir

    Stop using a PC made of US technology, stop using IE, Chrome, FF browser made by US companies, stop using internet as it is also product of US. stop using GSM mobile phone its a western technology. Stop typing on the keyboard and clicking using mouse all are US technologies…. Stop being hippo

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  • Amjad
    Nov 8, 2011 - 8:59PM

    i would like to add one thing which neither strings nor any of us, pakistani, mentioned in the comments sections. lets not forget that first of all we are pakistanis. what do you think we are if not pakistanis? why do we question our integrity and liberty? why do we all think that journalists, social activists, sportsmen, musicians and actors/actress should not come forward for a noble cause just because they are not political? do we all want them to stare at whatever is going on in the country and let it go by them? we, AWAM, know weather we are supporting PTI PML N Q MQM or even PPPP supporters (awam as i said) that our motherland is going through very very hard times and we are almost on the verge of collapse. so why not just unite under one flag and lets not discuss who is the flag bearer. but who do we trust other than imran khan? when exactly will we realize that its not about just party but about our country.. what comes first country or party? so lets get out of all this and think about our country first and i sincerely believe that PTI is the least corrupt and least criminal party amongst all the other existing parties. so lets choose carefully. Pakistan Zindabad

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  • hussain syed
    Nov 10, 2011 - 7:33AM

    @Nadir:
    Imran khan is against US foreign policy, and the American music industry is not connected in any way or form to the US government……..

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