Not many know that the city boasts of the youngest band in Pakistan
By Aamir Tariq
There might have been times when singers like Kenny Rogers sang till their late 60s but today is a musical era - a period where music knows no boundaries or age limit. The first assertion that one makes is to picture the Biebers and Montannahs. One is knocked for six when rock bands are covered by young Pakistanis at such an early age. One evident example seen today is in the form of Pakistan’s youngest rock band ‘The Others’.
This band came into existence in 2009. With the music running in their blood, it was inevitable for Zoya and Ali to take up music. It may be surprising but Ali is the youngest drummer of Pakistan being only ten years old. Zoya, a tenth grader, is the lead singer of ‘The Others’. She describes her experience as ‘amazing’ and goes on to say, “the people have been very supportive of our work and is “so far, so good”. She has received both classical and western training. She has not only learnt the skill but has mastered it to such an extent that she has also started coaching students at the ‘Guitar School’.
As many critics had stereotypically tagged them as a band that could just pull-off some covers, it was a pleasant surprise that the band had some originals in the pipeline too. An aspiring singer, Zoya intends to join Berklee (a well-known music school in Boston, US) in future. Many notable young girls such as Arooj Aftab have already set a benchmark at Berklee and paved way for young artists such as Zoya. For many artists of her age, the school plays a pivotal role in the nurturing of such a talent but as Zoya puts it, “My school has nothing to do with the formation of this band”.
‘The Others’ started off their journey from the Young Musicians Competition at Downtown where they managed to make it to the semi-finals. This was their first performance ever. Though, today this band shares a goodwill that a young band could only envy. Within less than a span of two years, ‘The Others’ has already performed with artists including Atif, Ali Azmat, Simt, Josh, Noori, E.P and the list just goes on. On asking about their most embarrassing moment ever, Zoya replied that “There hasn’t been any yet”. We could just hope that their journey goes really smooth and they continue to achieve many accolades on their way to success.
With popularity graph no less than of a celebrity, ‘The Others’ seem to become a part of the fraternity. They are contented with the considerable amount of fame they have received. On asking about the band’s future plans, Zoya replied, “We are planning to enhance the band probably with a bass guitarist but we are not going to compromise on quality. We will make sure that the person selected is the best!” Not only do we see spark in this band but the ambition to make it to the top as well. With the amount of dedication put in by this band, it seems that that day isn’t too far when we will see ‘The Others’ at the top of the charts.
Despite bands such as Taka Tak, Wehshi Qasai and Shapataz, ‘The Others’ seemed to be a pretty sane name. When asked why ‘The Others’, Zoya replied, “That is what they always called us. We were always different from others. We were unique and worlds apart from the other bands so we called ourselves, The Others.” Despite performing with several bands, ‘The Others’ have their comfort level with Ali Azmat. They say, “it’s always a pleasure working with him plus he is very supportive of our work”. Such big names at an early age seem like living the sweetest dream ever.
It wasn’t long before when TNS got hold of the ten year old as well. On asking how it feels when people cheer him at such a young age, he replied ‘acha lagta hai’ in his sweet innocent voice. There might not have been a weird moment for Zoya but Ali surely has had several. Zoya describes his awkwardness when girls approach him after the end of every concert. Lucky chap as many would call him but he is just like another ten year old kid who feels the same as any minor might feel on being exposed to a herd of gorgeous women.
On asking who their role model is, they replied that it’s none other than their parents. In a world such as ours – it’s a delight to see someone as independent as them to appreciate the efforts of their parents. It’s a fact that this band has opened their eyes in the lap of luxury but so have millions in our country but not all of them work sincerely to achieve a bar as high as ‘The Others’. All we could say is just kudos to their efforts because the others are not just the others, they are something that the circuit is proud of and so is this country.
What’s in a ring?
By Amna Kauser
The title may give the impression of just another feminist piece written on the rights of ‘all the single ladies’ out there. Only it’s not. It’s got more to do with ‘visual clutter’. These words came out of my mouth one fine day when I passed by a humongous billboard on one of the most popular roads in Lahore. It was an advertisement for an even more popular jewellery store. Hence my loud thoughts and remarks: ‘What’s in a ring that you’re making such a big deal out of and putting it up on a gigantic billboard for the world’s inhabitants?’
Not that I’m unaware of all the pros of marketing and advertising; its extreme importance in today’s world. It’s all about spreading information, which is indeed quite imperative. I’m not even one of those girls who are not fond of jewellery or such. I can make that clear in black and white: I adore jewellery. But once again, ‘What’s in a ring?’
I am absolutely concerned with the aspect of ‘visual pollution’. Yes, I call it visual pollution, rather beautiful visual pollution if I may add. At least, that’s what it seems to the kind of lot I belong to and I know that not a large number of people constitute my lot. Mostly I’ve seen people look with extreme admiration (and quite a few times with dropped jaws) at the various billboards advertising some pretty brilliant stuff. People also seem to get intensely fascinated by the even brighter and flashier billboards found in the foreign lands (of the pure). I won’t disagree that they don’t look attractive to the human eye. I’m just a little surprised that the time has come when not many people tend to enjoy the beauty of nature as much as they enjoy the beauty of growing empires of cities. I’m not sure whether its mankind’s way of tasting its success or its growing indifference to all that nature has to offer. Mind you all, even nature is choosing to stay unhappy with humans these days. Remember the floods last year?
Many times, while driving around the (still) beautiful city of Lahore with friends and family, I have witnessed huge levels of distraction, because of an inappropriate number and an uneven and unintelligent distribution of billboards. The abnormally stimulated cravings created by what the company advertisement has to offer us royal folks are only mere disturbance. Therefore, they are best described as ‘visual clutter’. If you like them, that means you are a messy person. But I won’t judge.
Once I had missed lunch at work and was on my way back home when this massive-sized billboard with the most heavenly-looking burger caught my precious attention. Hunger pangs and the juices released from my stomach only forced me to stop over at the particular place where the burger was available, in order to immediately cater to the emergency situation that had been created in my biological system in those few moments. I could not bear to wait for the next 10 minutes drive to home to end. That’s when it also struck me (after having the burger I mean; my mind had temporarily stopped thinking after seeing it) if the insane number of poor people roaming about the streets of our cities get to see these billboards too. Leaving all the other cons (including the environmental ones) aside, this was the biggest disadvantage of billboards that I could ever think of. Poverty-stricken and helpless, the feelings and conditions of these people are probably unimaginable. And no, it is not any good excuse to think or say that such people are ‘used’ to feeling or living like this.
Therefore, I am against billboards. They’re not exactly ‘for’ us. All they do is annoy us. I’m sure there are many other ways our bright marketing experts can think of. This is surely not a great one.
Pakistan Mathlete Contest June 15 - July 17, 2011.
Gymnastic Talent Hunt Train ... (Talent Hunt Training Program) July 01 - 30, 2011, Lahore
Mela today at the Zaver Hall, Pearl Continental Hotel.
Nite (Rock Concert including Josh, Noori) today. Address on the tickets.
Night! (Quality Food, Drink ‘Specials’ and a Dance
Aquatic Bash on Saturday July 9, from 7:30pm-11:30pm at Farzeen Fitness First (4G-Gulberg II).
Coercion, resistance or media-trial
incident of violence at the Punjab
By Ammara Ahmad
On a cloudy day, the Punjab University’s Philosophy Department looks serene and lush, with relaxed and preoccupied students strolling down the corridors. Yet this department pertaining to Iqbal and Nietzsche became the centre of violence last week when its teachers and students came in conflict with the Islami Jamiat Talba (IJT).
According to one student, on June 21, he was sitting with a girl student at around 8am. She gave him money for medicines but this gave an IJT member lurking around some wrong idea. When the member approached this student, the two boys got into a squabble.
According to students of the Philosophy Department who don’t want to be named, on June 22, the IJT members misbehaved with some girl students of their department swho later went to the Vice Chancellor. The next day, many IJT members gathered around the Philosophy Department and misbehaved with a female teacher along with the students, who then decided to protest, along with the staff members on June 24, the students went on. The protest materialised and later that day the IJT also protested.
The situation precipitated on the night of June 25 (last Saturday) when about 150 IJT members, some of them armed, went into Hostel No.7 of Punjab University. This hostel’s superintendent Shahid Gul, also belongs to the Philosophy Department and many Philosophy students reside here.
One Philosophy student was reportedly attacked with iron chains which damaged his back and another got head injuries. Both were rushed to the Jinnah hospital. They are out of danger now and have rejoined the university.
Reportedly, on June 25 when the IJT students came to the hostel, There was a counter attack on the IJT members, who escaped by climbing the hostel walls. However, when one lone IJT member was cornered by the students, he took out his pistol. He held the superintendent at gun point asking him to open the gate. He fired in desperation and the rebound bullet hit a teacher. IJT members from outside then beat the guard and broke the gate lock to rescue their fellow.
An FIR was registered against the assailants but the victims are sure nothing will come out of it. They consider the IJT too well-connected for such accountability. The VC, heads and deans of the university the HRCP chairperson Zohra Yosuf have condemned this event.
However, the following day, IJT members came to the department and apologised for the event.
Prof. Dr. Sajid Ali, Chairman Philosophy Department, commented on the events. “The philosophy department has always had an issue with the IJT. They expect us to call their members as guests or chair seminars but we don’t do so. Neither do we let them harass our students. So this is an ego issue for them,” says the chairman.
He verified that IJT has issues with boys and girls interacting or being seen together. When they see people sitting together, they usually recommend that the students sit in classes not outside. IJT members are always lurking around the departments monitoring activities.
Students allege that organisations like University Student Federation and Insaf Student Federation were dismembered due to IJT violence and pressure. Some students are adamant upon resisting this phenomenon. “The IJT won’t let any organisation work,” says one student. “But it cannot do much about the protests and resistance. We take the threat and abuse of our teachers just as seriously as our own.”
Departments like Biochemistry, History, Political Science and Hailey College suffer such violence but stay quiet.
“The issue was a misunderstanding. Two boys had a fight, which was resolved by a faculty member within 30 minutes,” says Zubair Safdar, Nazim Punjab University IJT. “The girls protested for the next two days. On the third day some 70 students and staffers rallied to the vice chancellor. Around 70 members of IJT also protested and later apologised to the faculty.”
On being inquired about the violence in Hostel No.7, Zubair Safdar, Nazim of IJT in Punjab University, agreed they were IJT members: “They went to persuade the hostel residents against the anti-IJT protests but there was a clash. The hostel students had sticks. Four boys, including two of ours, were injured. That event took a poor turn.” He added that IJT wants to teach Islam in educational institutions so the students implement it later. He believes the USF and Insaf Student Federations did not have an ideology and were disbanded when their respective batches graduated. Safdar asserts that IJT is democratic and popular, doesn’t want resistance, coercion or media-trial.
The contrast between Platform 1 and another world which is a few hundred yards away
By Sachal Tahseen
It was yet another hot day in Lahore as I lay foot on our very own railway station.
Outside wasn’t a pleasant sight as you could see people sitting on the floor waiting for their respective trains to arrive. They were all drenched in sweat and one could do nothing but feel for them. Forcefully brushing aside any more thoughts of all the families present there, I headed for the terminal. Upon entering the terminal, Platform 1, the whole picture of misery and devastation, which I had witnessed a while back, was gone. You could see McDonalds and Pizza Hut along with many other famous fast food chains. It was in complete contrast to what lay behind those walls. I could bet that more than 70 per cent of the families who I saw waiting outside didn’t have enough food to feed their children three meals.
I was still in the process of absorbing the whole situation when I could feel a pulsation of a train coming by. As the train was approaching, I could see people starting to line up along the tracks, waiting to get on it. The train was not meant to stop here and thus passed by, leaving many people disappointed. It was at that moment that across the tracks I saw a person who looked ‘different’. Wearing a black ‘shalwaar kameez’, he was walking around bare foot in a way as if under a spell. I could see him lose his consciousness and at times run around randomly in circles. I thought that he must have been mad but when I asked someone why the man was acting this way, I got a different response. This man was not mad; he was an addict.
This incident reminded me of the trip I made to the railway police station before actually entering the railway station. The officer there so assuredly told me that there were no such cases of people having access to drugs or any other thing like that. “We intercept any kind of wrong activity which is taking place. Be that on the train or across the lines in what he called the ‘slumps’. There is no way anyone could possibly do anything with my men watching”.
Well, this was something new for them to see then. This man, named Akram (name withheld), was a drug addict and knew this locality better than anyone else. The people around him were used to seeing him in this state and it didn’t come as a surprise this time around as well. I wanted to talk to this man but he was soon nowhere to be seen.
I kept moving and went into what looked like slums across the track. I could see many children of various age groups running around. I started to wander around in curiosity as I had never seen anything like this before. I saw two young boys sitting in a corner, far away from others. Both of them seemed to be around 12 year old and they were smoking cigarettes. I walked towards them and instantly realised that what they were smoking were not ordinary cigarettes; it was charas.
I asked them about their families but they wouldn’t answer any of my questions. Therefore, I had to use an unconventional way; I realised I had fallen in my own eyes. I gave them 250 rupees each and soon got to know their side of the story.
The two boys, 12 and 13, were brothers and both of them had run away from home. They belonged to a poor family which consisted of seven children, including these two. They were involved in drugs and other activities such as drinking, and when asked where they got these things from, they were hesitant to give me names. I changed the topic.
I got to know they didn’t stay at any one place and were constantly on the move. Both the boys ate at Data Darbaar’s Langar and travelled on different routes, free of cost. The train represented freedom for them as they themselves acknowledged the fact that it was more than just transport for them. They knew all the routes and all the timings as well. One of them even showed me a leather wallet that looked quite expensive.
I left them there and came back to the comfortable, familiar world outside the station that represented freedom for me from all the uneasy questions stuck in my head.