Ali Gul Pir is a comedian, writer, producer, and entertainer from Karachi, Pakistan. In the Norient podcast he tells us what's the only good thing about doing music in the national music scene. He interviews producer Mooroo (Taimoor Salahuddin) about being lonely as a musician and adds his own point of view. An impressive and moving testimonial of an artist who is faced by death threats due to his art. A podcast from the Norient exhibition Seismographic Sounds, written by Ali Gul Pir, produced by Taimoor Salahuddin, and transcripted by Manal Khan.
Ali Gul Pir: #KholoBC
#KholoBC is a youth initiative against state censorship in Pakistan, where YouTube is still banned by the authorities. Rappers Ali Gul Pir and Adil Omar call for freedom of expression. Restricted access to the digital world amputates people from an important source of education and leads to a particular form of modern loneliness.
Quotes from the Podcast
«Let me tell you a little bit about doing music in Pakistan. No royalties, and lots of piracy. No protection against intolerant acts, violent acts and reaction to your art; lots of love from citizens. That’s probably the only thing good: you get lots of love. Because when there’s lot of hate around and you are alone or you and a couple of other people are doing positive, happy things, people like you.»
Ali Gul Pir
«Music is something that one has to be passionate about to make in the first place. So you do it for yourself when you’re making it. But when it goes outside of you, and people don’t appreciate it, I guess I would loose all meaning.»
«I think in every industry, in every society religion has a role to play. And it’s not just Pakistan, there is examples in America, I mean there is a Billy Joel song ‹Only The Good Die Young› that was banned by the church. Every aspect of a society is affected by religion. So religion of course has an effect on industries.»
«There is a part of me that also thinks that I can make a change, you know? I can make a difference. And I don’t know if that’s true but I’ve been trying to do that. And ‹#KholoBC› is that.»
Ali Gul Pir
«‹#KholoBC› speaks of Freedom. Freedom of expression. It’s a basic human right. Especially in Pakistan there’s the public education sector struggling very hard. So you have a place where you can go and learn from making your favorite cooking dish and it’s how you use it, right? It’s how you use it. And YouTube is still banned in Pakistan. We as a nation are lonely and are lacking behind.»
Ali Gul Pir
«I do feel lonely because my music, the way I approach it comes out of a sort of solitary time.»
«When I think about loneliness I remember this moment from my life around the time I made my first song and after the first few death threats I knew I had to make a choice, I had to decide if I’m gonna do this or if I’m not gonna do this because I was not gonna go soft, I was gonna say what I was gonna say. If I’m gonna speak, I’m gonna speak my mind. If I’m not gonna speak, then I’m not gonna speak at all. So I decided to speak and decided to take that and face the repercussions alone. And every day several people die in my city, you know in Karachi, every day there are number of people who are dying and maybe one day I’ll will just be one of the numbers you know? Everything will stop in the middle of me, I don’t know, trying to change everything. I’ll be gone without notice. But you know, you hope that even though you are alone as an artist and you are not as connected to the whole world and your country is labelled as the world most dangerous country, you try to give it some good name, you try to do your best, and not much, just save the world in your own way.»
Ali Gul Pir