Respect your arts and artists

By: | Muhammad Ali Azlan |

Something should’ve been said a while ago but there is no better time than now and there is no better place than here.


Why are we so persistent with belittling and putting down people who become artists in this country, why do we take them for granted? Why are the arts looked down upon and the people who partake in what I understand to be one of the most noble acts  on earth are treated as outsiders and black sheep’s?

Why is the “Industry” so reluctant in owning up to and standing up for their due rights?

Or, Why is the “industry” hell bent on destroying whatever they had or have?

When will the ‘Kill your darlings’ mentality of this desensitized nation which has been raised believing that Bollywood and India are the be all and end all to what is known and revered as  art in the subcontinent?

When will our own icons and legends be given the hard earned and much deserved respect in their own homeland? Why is this so difficult a task?

I can rant on this for hours, the downfall of the POP juggernaut which was the Pakistan music scene in the 80’s – 90’s and early 2000’s and why and what happened and how us the nation of Pakistan and the artists themselves played a part in killing the ‘magic’.

To sum up the collective human psyche and more importantly to accurately encompass the Pakistani mentality towards arts, a Fyodor Dostoevsky quote comes to mind. “Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those that they have slain.”

But, this is not about arts, it’s about respect.

How dare people take people who have been entertaining and performing for decades in this country taken for granted for this long? Why are we so thick skinned when it comes to doing things by the book, when will this moral corruption and degeneration cease?

Not too soon it seems, What is fast becoming Pakistan’s crown jewel with regards to optics and portrayal of the country as a peace loving and harmonious state, the Pakistan Super League has played a pivotal role.

All my respects and praise for the monumental efforts that made the PSL a monumental smash success and I pray that the trend continues for as long as can be but the opening ceremony left a very unsavory taste in the mouth when a remix of an old and ever popular tune made famous by the legendary pop-duo of Nazia and Zoheb Hassan hit the speakers and shortly after the ceremony, Zoheb Hassan rightly tweeted out how his intellectual property was taken (stolen) without his prior consent by the event and it’s producers.

Many in the fraternity rolled their eyes on the tweet when Zoheb said that he will sue the producers for doing so, one claimed, “first they want their work featured on a grand stage and when it is featured they make hue and cry over these negligible details of semantics and permissions.”

I was livid reading this response, I know by personal experiences and friendships with a few people close to and working in the industry how tough it is to make a living in a country like Pakistan where piracy has always been rampant, the situation on-ground making it impossible for live events to happen for the longest time depriving artists and performers to make a living, then came the highly touted multinational brands with mega corporate deals and bags of promises assuring the artist a hefty repay on their art which they are entitled to and have deserved all along in the first place. They were promised royalties, and big paychecks but what an artist has always ever been demanding is common human decency.

It is criminal to ask an artist to do something for free by baiting him with words like exposure and outreach, the artists themselves must also stand up against such nefarious and thankless people and activities. Everyone has mouths to feed and bills to pay and even if the artist is financially secure even then it is criminal under law to use something which is their intellectual property without permission. This needs to be sorted for good.

Another song taken but falling short of following lawful procedure has been from a famous reality tv/music show and people involved in making of the original have expressed their displeasure.

People need to get their act together, give people their due right and stop this exploitation and careless attitude. Even if the country has gone to the dog’s and law abidance have been reduced to a mockery, one must not lose common human decency.

The writer tweets @Muhammad Ali Azlan



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