Al-Rasub got a chance to have a discussion session with Laal members Taimur Rahman, Mahvash Waqar and Haider Rahman.
1: Tell us something about your schooling, college and university?
I had done my schooling from Aitchison College. After that I went to America where I studied Political Science and Economics as a double major and music in my minor. Then I returned to Pakistan and started teaching in Lahore School of Economics. After 3 years of teaching, I went to Sussex University for doing Masters in International Relations. When I came back to Pakistan, I again started teaching in LUMS for four years. So after that I again went to America in University Of London for my P.HD.
2: What inspired you to become a singer?
Music fascinated me from my childhood, so I developed a bond with music. Even in my teenage I started performing musical plays and did musical theatre. I take music as my hobby in my college life. I usually take my guitar with me in my classroom and used to entertain my peers and fellows. So my passion for music touched its peak in Lawyers Movement when I recorded my 1st song.
3: How Laal is different from other bands?
There are two reasons which create a difference between Laal and other bands. Firstly, we sing songs related to political and social issues. The ideology of our songs stresses upon changing society and to bring a sufficient change in the thoughts of people. Secondly, we converted progressive poems, poetry of Faiz and Habib Jalib into popular and rock music. This is a new experiment and we are pretty successful in this. We don’t sing Music for the sake of Music only, but our vision is Music for the sake of change and struggle.
4: What is the story behind the word Laal as your band name?
The colour Laal or Red is the colour of Blood, Sacrifice, Passion and Love. Secondly, the workers of Chicago who were killed brutally by their Government were also wearing Red Shirts which denotes their Labour Movement. Red is also the colour of suppressed people.
5: Your music mostly consists of the poetry of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Habib Jalib. So do you have enough fans following of this type of music?
Actually the audience has very broad taste and devotion for music. Secondly we converted the work of Faiz and Jalib into rock, popular and pop music which is warmly welcomed by youth and our fans.
6: How you see the music industry in Pakistan and especially Pop music?
We are very proud of our music industry. It generates new talent and new artists having multidimensional skills. Our government and civil society should further do something constructive for music industry of Pakistan.
7: As you recently visited India, tell us about response and your experience being there. How you compare the taste of people of Pakistan and India when it comes to music?
Yes I visited India 3 times. The appreciation and love of Indian people was more than my expectations. As you know that Music is the part of their religion, so they feel no hesitation in appreciating quality music. No matter whether you are Pakistani or Indian, What really matters is good music. All my visits were very successful. I was booked for 5 concerts, but the love of people converted this figure to 14 concerts in just 15 days stay in India.
8: Laal is a revolutionary band. But revolution always comes through force and violence, so as a supporter of Democracy don’t you think evolutionary band will be more suitable for you?
I think revolution is a long and historic process. Force and violence is basically one part of the revolution. Basically my ideology of revolution refers to the intellectual change and inner revolution of soul and mind. But sometimes the use of force and violence becomes necessary to defend our rights and identity. At overall I am not the supporter of force and violence, I want a peaceful change in every aspect of life whether it is political, economic or social.
9: What is socialism and how you see its future in Pakistan? Because there is a deep economic inequality in Pakistan and plus politics is also circling around among few families or personalities?
Socialism is basically a very simple theory in which the resources of society are utilized for the benefit and welfare of society itself. It is very useful and helpful to maintain economic equality in Pakistan. But unfortunately in Pakistan the resources of society are utilized for elites only.
10: Major part of your concerts is usually held in universities. So you are indirectly inspiring youth for a revolution?
Yes, we are endeavoring to bring positive change in youth by targeting colleges and universities. Almost we visited all over Pakistan to deliver a constructive message to the youth. We are doing our best to deliver message of culture, change, ethics, and to upgrade the level of energy in youth of Pakistan.
11: What are your political loyalties?
Basically I am the supporter of Socialism and follower of ideology of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Habib Jalib and Ahmad Faraz. And if you talk about current political parties, seriously I have no loyalties with any political party.
12: Whom you supported in 2013 General Elections?
I supported Labour Candidates in these elections who were Independent. The reason behind this that they were new candidates and there is a dire need of new leadership to bring change in Pakistan.
13: Tell us something about new album UTHO MERI DUNYA?
In this album we have changed the sound and music style. We included different level of energy for youth and we achieved sprawling live success on this album.
14: What you usually do in your free time?
Actually frankly speaking I don’t find any leisure time. But whenever I find some leisure time I read books, watch movies and keep myself busy in some social activity.
15: How you see Pakistan in overall condition?
“A person can live without food and water but cannot live without HOPE”.
I am very optimist person having positive vision for everything. No matter how many problems are revolving around Pakistan to damage its identity but I still have a firm faith that one day Pakistan will emerge as a powerful country. The unity of people will remove all the inconveniences someday.
16: What are your future plans?
In this summer I am going to deliver a series of lecture on history of Philosophy. And I am also doing research on history from aristocratic period to modern era.
17: Your message for our readers?
I just want to say to your readers that keep place in your heart for poor ones and work for the welfare of people as more as you can. The population of Pakistan is more than 180 million, so every little contribution and collective power will result into enormous force which will remove the darkness and bring light in our lives.
Utho Meri Duniya (2012/2013)
Laal Officla Fan Page