A touch of madness

Published March 28, 2011

Have you heard of the Rothschilds?

They are like the Chuck Norris of conspiracy theories - every political event in this world is caused by their machinations to make more money.

Conspiracy theories such as these are big amongst our generation. It’s due to a combination of an overload of information, a culture that demands cynicism and an innate refusal to believe anything permanent.

Of course, there are scholars who tell us many things that lie in the realm of fact, not conspiracy.

They tell us that our generation was one that grew up when the nation was brain-washed and ransacked due to a tasty combination of imperialist designs and the commercialisation of piety. That we were programmed to be self-destructive, consequence-damning, lesser-imagined people who would go up in flames.

Which is interesting. However, this claim is not false – it is based on facts.

But sometimes I wonder, what was going on with me back then?

Well, when I was young, I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about glass-eyed generals, stinger launching gorillas, or strategically deep moral codes, or about the end of history, or the dawn of the righteous light.

But what I do remember thinking about was this band.

It is impossible really for me to explain what this band means in the famished word count I am currently restricted under.

But if I had to choose a song that means everything Junoon ever meant, then I'd choose this one:

Now try to go beyond my words and instead, try to feel what they mean.

(Honestly, you need to listen to the song before you read further.)

The whole song is this sheer force - an assault on your ears as the guitar, the vocals, the bass, the drums and the ubiquitous tabla take turns in beating you up like a bunch of wrestlers picking on the injured guy during the Royal Rumble. The manic nature of the lead, the shock of the news clips, the audacity of the lyrics.

Even the video, with its erratic frame rates and its shades of grey, is epic.

But then all of it - the sounds, the visuals, the words - need to be epic, need to be transformative. They need to transport you to a heightened state of ecstasy in order to confront the reality of that eternal refrain:

zehni ghulami sey, kaash hoon hum azaad.

(Oh if we could be freed, from the oppression of the mind)

This in a sense, uncovers a new fact in this whole sordid history of our generation.

The fact that despite the brainwashing of those times, our generation – at some level – knows that it is being assaulted by ideologies and that at its core, we are screaming for freedom from all of it.

We understand that the search for truth necessitates a journey into the heart of madness.

And we know that the result of this journey is either the sublime or the ridiculous.

On March 30, the maddest man we have ever loved will lead out a team of greyish-black characters, an assortment of erratic temperaments and phenomenal ability, of leaky gloves, fatal scoops, screaming yorkers, and two pointed fingers – everything that goes against the notions of rationality and logic.

Whichever way it will go, it will not be clinical.

It will not be about executed plans or practised strokes.

It will end in moments of madness, moments of daring and daftness, moments of eternity.

Don't approach it as though waiting to exorcise the ghosts of Bangalore, Karachi, Dhaka, or Centurion and Johannesburg.

Do not go in asking for your ego to be massaged, or looking to either baste your intellectual vanity with paeans for peace, or to vent by calls for murder or annihilation. Do not go in seeking politics.

Go in knowing that you are going to travel to the edge of agony and ecstasy in one moment. That you are going to find the pit of your stomach giving away to an endless abyss of trepidation.

Go knowing that deep down, below all those refrains of your ego and its exhortations for sanity, the only way is madness.

This is Pakistan.

Taking on India.

On Indian soil.

In the world cup semi-final.

Embrace the madness.

Ahmer Naqvi is the Brian Lara of his generation – he’s a genius but his team usually loses. He blogs on his own property in Blogistan, and makes short films you can see here, and here.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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