Pakistani Politi-Pop from Beygairat Brigade

The trio of young men from Lahore, Pakistan, in the pop group Beygairat Brigade (The Dishonor Brigade) seem to be singing a catchy little ditty in Punjabi complaining about their mom making potatoes and eggs when they really want to have chicken. But those are just the opening lines of their first song Aalu Anday–the lyrics appear in English subtitles. Before the video’s three minutes are up, the group has covered many topics that pack a political punch.

Dawn’s cultural critic and senior columnist Nadeem Paracha offers details on a few of the many references contained in the lyrics of Aalu Anday.

In a clean, unadulterated sweep that lasts not more than ten seconds, BB wonders about a country where killers like Mumtaz Qadri (who assassinated former Punjab governor Salman Taseer after accusing him of committing blasphemy) are treated as royals; and where Ajmal Kasab (the Pakistani terrorist who took part in the attack in Mumbai) is a hero; and where mullahs escape wearing a woman’s burqa (like the head cleric of the Lal Masjid); and how no-one ever mentions men like the Nobel-Prize winning Pakistani scientist Abdul Salam (just because he belonged to the outlawed Ahmadi sect). “Enjoying ‘Aaloo-Andey’ with the people”


Will Pakistan’s government crack down on this group, which includes economist Daniyal Malik, 15-year-old Hamza Malik, and local news director Ali Aftaab Saeed? They seem to expect that as well as other kinds of attacks against them. A poster at the end of the video reads “If you want a bullet through my head ‘Like This Video.'”

Though if we take them at face value in this interview, BB might not even believe some of the things they sing about. That’s some of what I gathered from the English sprinkled into their responses. If you can understand more of the interview and share in the comments, I’d be interested to know a little more about what they’re saying in the video interview.

2 thoughts on “Pakistani Politi-Pop from Beygairat Brigade

  1. I am not sure if I would take what they’re saying in that video at face value – they’re saying that they wish to address certain controversial aspects of the song and that they don’t believe half the things they’re singing about; that certain words were used simply for rhyming purposes, and that their larger point was that everyone in Pakistan should have the freedom to talk about certain things openly. The lead singer seems somewhat frazzled in this interview and it is possible that they were under pressure to retract the message embedded in the song’s lyrics and the placards.

    Their tone is quite different in other interviews with Al Jazeera and NDTV where they seem much more relaxed and enthusiastic about the song’s reception. I want to believe that they are fully conscious about the implications and meanings of the song, but then, again, I could be wrong.