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By Nadeem F. Paracha

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“Laal is a socialist band.” This is what I was told by a teenager who saw me buying their recently released album.

“What’s a socialist band?” I inquired.

My question surprised him. “You are NFP, aren’t you?” He asked.
“Yes … I am Nadeem.”

“Then you should know what I mean,” he said.

“No, I don’t,” I replied. “Do these guys live in a commune or something?”

Detecting my sense of jest, he smiled back: “Oh come on, you know what I mean.”

“Ok, tell me, when you say socialist, do you mean they are something like The Clash or …”

“Well,” he interrupted. “In essence, yes, but their music is a lot softer, more folksy.”

“I see,” I said. “They are like Pakistani Bob Dylans then?”

“Exactly!”

“Interesting. But I saw a couple of their videos … they don’t write their own songs, do they?” I said.

“No. They sing famous socialist poems by Faiz, Jalib and the likes,” he explained.

“Nice,” I smiled. “And they have a deal with Fire Records, yes?”

“Yes, they are one of their prime bands these days,” he said, pointing at the logo on the CD.

“And the money that they make from the deal, do they share with, say, Jalib’s family?”

He went quiet, almost frowning, as if straining his mind to find a response. To break the pregnant silence, I continued: “I mean, they are a socialist band, aren’t they? Equal distribution of wealth …”

“Yes, yes,” he shot back, “I know what you’re saying,”

“And?”

“Well, I doubt if they’re making a lot of money, really,” he said.
“So, the 80 bucks that I just paid for this CD, who gets it?”

“The distributors,” he answered.

“So Laal are using Jalib to make money for a not-very-socialist company?”

“Dude, they’re just using it to get their stuff distributed.”
“But who’s making the bucks here?”

“Why should anyone care?” He responded, exasperated.

“I’m sure Jalib’s wife and children do,” I shot back.

“In case you haven’t noticed, Jalib is dead,” he said, sarcastically.

“In case you haven’t noticed his wife and children are alive and struggling,” I replied.

“Well, then the government should help them rather than a pop band,” he said.

“These guys are being promoted as a band of socialists, aren’t they?”

“They are.” He insisted. “They are all activists.”

“Then they should distribute some of their earnings to Jalib’s family and in fact, even ask their record company to do the same.”

He burst out laughing: “I know you’re just playing the devil’s advocate.”

“Perhaps,” I said. “But who’s the angel here?”

“Not you,” he laughed again. “Never thought you would be questioning the intentions of a socialist band.”

“Never underestimate the power of skepticism, mate.” I said.

“Ok, stop!” He cut me off. “Someone told me NFP has gone totally cynical …”

” … Skeptical,” I interrupted.

“Cynical, skeptical, what’s the difference?” He asked.

“The difference is vast, lad.” I said. “There’s nothing more intellectually liberating than skepticism. Doubt everything.”
“It’s sad to hear something like this from a person like you who too had a socialist past,” he said.

“Youth, my friend, is a weird mixture of passion and pretense,” I explained, striking a reflective pose and tone. “It’s a venerable mix, always generating rhetorical external stunts influenced by a self-centered consumption of convoluted ideas about man, society and history.”

“Woah!” He held out his hand. “You are taking this way too seriously, dude.”

“Well, shouldn’t we be taking a band crooning Jalib’s poetry seriously?” I inquired, tongue-in-cheek.

“But they’re just a pop band,” he said, laughing.

“Precisely!” I said, patting him on the shoulder. “Reality most certainly is a liberating thing to experience, isn’t it?”

He smiled and shook his head: “Tell me, why are you buying this CD?”

“I am buying it in hope that some of the money that this transaction is going to make will land in the hands of Jalib’s family.”

“How extremely pretentious,” he shot back.

“Precisely.” I said, patting him on the shoulder again. “Welcome to skepticism, young man.”

Shaking his head, and with smile of resignation, he did not say another word and walked away.

He also had a DVD in his hand. I asked the shopkeeper what was the DVD that he had bought.

The reply was prompt and welcomingly dispassionate: “American Idol, Season 7!

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5 Comments

  1. Recently Nadeem Farooq Piracha wrote an article that was very critical of Laal. It seemed from the article that he had neither heard the CD before writing the article nor did he bother to verify any of his claims from any member of Laal…

  2. We are well aware of the fact what LAAL is upto. We have watched their interviews and kind of music they play. I don’t think its a rocket science to figure out LAAL’s pseudo socialist behavior.

  3. loved it. NFP is special – hated by fanatics on both sides, left and right. And loved this new site as well. Keep it going! :)

  4. Thanks Hira and yeah he’s good at thrashing the pseudo socialists : D

  5. I always enjoy reading Nadeem F Paracha’s articles and I loved this one too. The way he thrash a subject or someone, really makes you think at why he is doing it. He is always making a point that is understood, whether we take on board his message is entirely on us.


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