The Indo-Pak social media summit gathered well-known bloggers and tweeters from Pakistan and across the border on Friday evening. But it was young YouTube celebrities who started the show with a bang – Ali Aftab from Bayghairat Brigade and Ali Gul Pir who sang “Waderai Ka Beta”.
Cracking jokes about Sindhi conduct and behaviour, the two started off the session on viral videos moderated by none other than journalist and critic Nadeem Farooq Paracha.
Paracha said that the videos that go viral are either comical – such as Aftab’s “Aaloo Anday” or Pir’s “Waderai Ka Beta”— violent or those that have Aamir Liaquat in them. Aftab said “No matter how many hits our videos get, nothing can beat the Lahori girls caught on tape,” referring to an inappropriate video of two girls making out on YouTube.
Adding to the humour, Paracha threw a question at Aftab, “When Meezan cooking oil can take someone as controversial as Dr Aamir Liaquat in their commercial, then why not someone like you?” to which he humbly replied, “Because I don’t have a smile like his,” leaving the audience in fits of laughter.
Both “Waderai Ka Beta” and “Aaloo Anday” challenged the mainstream narrative, which resulted in the videos going viral so quickly. But “Waderai Ka Beta” was the one that really made the concept of Saeen penetrate popular culture.
“I had a class fellow at school whose guard had a separate Pajero for himself. We used to look at them and say ‘Saaen tau Saeen, Saeen ka kutta bhi Saaen’,” said Pir clearing the mystery behind the most prominent lyrics of the song.
However, when Aftab and Pir mocked Sindhi culture, a few people in the audience were offended and raised some questions.
“Anyone who thinks that the song is against Sindhis is ignorant,” Pir said, responding to one voice in the audience. “If Steve Job’s picture is being modified with a moustache and is being labeled as iSaeen and Einstein becomes Eintsaeen, then I don’t think I am harming Sindhi culture – I am actually serving it.”
Pir then went into a detailed explanation. He said that Sindhis shouldn’t be worried about their identity because Islam came to them through Sufism, so by their very roots they are peace-loving people. “Sindhis are fun-loving people, you will never find a suicide bomber by the name of Allah Dino or an Osama bin Chandio,” Pir said at the conference, leaving the hall echoing with laughter.
Both Aftab and Pir refrained from revealing much about their next projects but both assured their fans that they won’t have to wait much longer. “If I tell you something about the song, then it would never get released,” said Aftab. “Yeh tohfa hum aapko Ramazan may daingay (we will present this gift to you in Ramazan).”
At the end, the summit’s organiser Sabeen Mehmood joined Pir on stage for some freestyle dancing as “Waderai Ka Beta” played in the background.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2012.