Beygairat Brigade: Ali Aftab’s ode to the Nigerian girls

Published: May 20, 2014
Ali shares that the success of the song does not mean he will be turning his back on the Beygairat Brigade. PHOTO: FILE

Ali shares that the success of the song does not mean he will be turning his back on the Beygairat Brigade. PHOTO: FILE


Lead vocalist of Beygairat Brigade Ali Aftab Saeed is known for his power-packed lyrics through which he blatantly comments on prevailing social issues. Be it the tongue-in-cheek Aalu Anday that unearths societal pitfalls or the self-reflective Sub Paisay Ki Game Hai, Ali has relied on his own words to voice his satirical views on society.

For the first time, he has composed Urdu poet Kishwar Naheed’s poem Woh Jo Bachiyoan. Ali shares that he is proud of the composition of the song. “It is catchy and memorable. I have given a poem the format of a song,” he comments.

“My friend and political activist, Zeeshan Noel, who liked this poem, asked me to try and compose something around this song. However, I told him I don’t have the money to make it,” says Ali. The song was then commissioned as part of an activism project by the NGO Avaaz.

Ali has been an active part of Avaaz’s 16 days of activism campaign that took place some time back. Made three months ago, Ali shares that the song has been well-received by members of political parties, who have shared the song on social networking websites.

The song diverges from the satirical songs that Ali is recognised for. “I think that because this was an independent project, the poetry is serious and different from what the Beygairat Brigade has done so far,” shares Ali.

This is a one-off project, Ali feels, is free of controversy. “It’s simply a song about how females have the right to go to school. The response to it has started flowing in even before the video has been made,” he tells us.

Composing the song was not an easy feat for Ali, considering that the poem’s stanzas vary in size. Ali shares that he decided to release the song in the wake of the 2014 kidnapping of young girls by militant organisation Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Originally, Kishwar wrote the poem in response to the attacks on schools for female children in Swat. Its pertinence increased following the attack on Malala Yousufzai. “This is why many people assume that this poem was written for Malala,” says Saeed.

Grounded and deeply loyal to the band, Ali shares that the success of the song does not mean he will be turning his back on the Beygairat Brigade. It wasn’t a conscious decision by him to do a solo song — just an opportunity that unexpectedly came along. “We [band members] all work together. However, I do solo projects sometimes. It depends on the requirements for each project,” says Ali.

Beygairat Brigade was supposed to release another single during this period, but was forced to delay it due to the ongoing media war. The circumstances weren’t conducive for releasing it, Ali reveals.

“We were working on a project, which should have been released by now, but we delayed it. The delay was because of the current political situation in the country. The song has a mention of journalists, so we felt that it should wait,” says Ali.

Running Themes Of Beygairat Brigade’s Singles:

Aalu Anday (2011): Defies censorship and the celebration of violence in Pakistan

Sab Paisay Ki Game Hai (2013): Highlights how the power of money overshadows one’s ethics

Dhinak Dhinak (2013): Criticises the idea of a dictatorial regime

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2014.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • hehe
    May 20, 2014 - 11:34PM

    what abt people and children dying or displaced due to drones.


  • Ali S
    May 20, 2014 - 11:56PM

    The last thing our dying music scene needs is mediocre musicians masquerading as political analysts.


  • Sonia Wahab
    May 21, 2014 - 1:35AM

    Beautiful song!!! Thanks for raising the voice for women’s rights.


  • Urban Legend
    May 21, 2014 - 1:56AM

    Have we done enough about our women and children?


  • Raj - USA
    May 21, 2014 - 3:08AM

    These boys are great. The song is beautiful. I like it very much. It takes lot of courage for these boys to release this song at this time when journalists like Raza Rumi and Hamid Mir are also targeted.


  • lol
    May 21, 2014 - 9:49AM

    When most things in Pakistan will be fixed then we can talk about issues in other countries, and we hardly raise voice for most issues concerning Pakistan. People talk about women rights in Pakistan, well i see no basic rights for most of us, be it men or women, but since most NGO’s get foreign funding they just talk about women in Pakistan or talk about bringing a change in education curriculum and leave out important issues like health, shabby democracy, enslaved peasants, poverty, justice etc. Very few NGO’s are working for betterment on the whole not just what pleases the agenda of the west. What about drone victims? What about the damage USA has caused to our polio program? These issues seem to be a taboo for our so called liberals & for foreign funded NGO worker’s.


  • Gp65
    May 21, 2014 - 10:26AM

    Resoect for these courageous boys.


  • Gohar Riaz
    May 21, 2014 - 12:51PM

    Well nice song and great initiative. My contention is just that in every aspect that gets controversial in which religion is directly or indirectly involved – we may unknowingly be used by some OTHER forces who want us to “DIVIDE” to rule


  • Timorlane
    May 21, 2014 - 2:47PM

    one’s misery is other’s opportunity to fame


  • James Franco USA
    May 21, 2014 - 7:55PM

    hehe : what abt people and children dying or displaced due to drones. really there would be no drones if people like you and your supporters had the strength & courage to stop the daily senseless killings the attempted shootings of school girls. The drones are a result of the incapability of Pakistan to control the terror threat that has become a daily event.


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