“Look back and bombard my heart. Come on destroy everything,” Gul Panrha, a rising star, sings back with a fast music.
In the rest of the song, taken from a latest Pashto movie Shaba Tabahi Oka (Come on destroy everything), every verse has a word, which denotes violence. The similes, which compare eyes of the beloved with bombs, shelling and weapons of destruction and lips with fire, have been repeatedly used by the poet.
The recent trend of Pashto hits with subtitles like Shaba Tabahi Oka and Khudkasha Dhamaka Yama (I am a suicide bomber) songs comparing eyes and looks of a beloved with drones is on the rise and quite popular among the Pashto-speaking people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.
The songs have an appeal for the people, who are now quite used to seeing and hearing about incidents of violence.
However, a serious poet Laiq Zada Laiq objects to such poetry full with symbols of violence. As great English poet William Wordsworth says that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings that takes its origin from emotions recollected in tranquility, Mr Laiq also feels that poetry is an expression of human feelings but one does not have only negative feelings.
“The poets, who talk only about violence, bombs, junky lovers and vulgarity, do it for short-lived fame. They are not poets indeed,” opines Mr Laiq while referring to some poets, who write such songs for Pashto CD dramas and movies that are sold like hot cakes in the local market.A song can’t be termed popular if it has no lyrical message and just appeals to few persons.
“Otherwise these songs would not have forgotten the moment another such song is released,” he says. Pashto classics, on the other hand, still appeal to those, who have love for Pashto poetry and music.
However, Musafar Khan, the owner of a production house in Peshawar that produces and releases such CDs, is of the view that such songs are quite popular. He says that they release four such CDs of songs of Pashto films every month.
“Recently a Pashto CD film Dushmani (Enmity) did good business. Have you heard a popular song Za Yam Patasa Jenai (I’m a sweet cookie)?” asked Mr Khan proudly.
However, when asked as to who had written the song Shaba Tabahi Oka, he was unable to give the name of the poet or the music director. He was also unaware about the poets of few other songs.
No one among the producers and critics in the city was able to tell the names of poets of these songs but everyone knew about the songs since the CD films and songs had reach every household, thanks to cable network that allowed a few channels to show such songs along with vulgar dances.
“The songs, which spread violence and vulgarity, should be banned by the government,” proposes Mr Laiq.
The Pashto classics like Soor Saloo Pa Sar Ka Pa Makez Banday Rawana Sha (Wear you red shawl and walk slowly and stylishly) show how the beloved’s honour and beauty were appreciated in a subtle manner. No one might remember the poet of the classic folksong Bibi Sherinay but it is still popular because it has rhythm and beautiful poetry.
Now the time has changed as Haroon Bacha has sung in a new style Khalaq Badal Sho Ka Badal Shulo Wakhtoona, Jeenakay Na Razi Gudar Ta (The times have changed or it is the people. That’s why girls don’t come to the pond). The song points towards the loss of romanticism but the emergence of new songs, full of symbols and similes of violence, we are devoid of expressing our feelings.