Home Indian Muslim ‘Badlistan’ –a rap protest against the name changing of places

‘Badlistan’ –a rap protest against the name changing of places

Shumais, Ajmal and Azeem

By Najiya O, TwoCircles.net

When you are socially and politically aware and yearn to do something creative, even a casual tour can give you great opportunities.  And that’s precisely what led to the making of the rap video ‘Badlistan’  by a group of young men from Kerala.

The rap video with English and Hindi lyrics deals with the obsession with the changing of names of places, thus trying to re-write history.  It begins by a quote from William Shakespeare – “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  The video also challenges to ‘build another Taj if there is so much hatred towards the present one’, instead of changing its name.

Ajmal, Azeem, and Shumais Nazer recorded the video while they were on a tour from their college (Azharu lUloom Arabic College, Aluva, in Ernakulam) to various places in the country including Hyderabad, Delhi, Agra, etc.  Shumais wrote and re-wrote the lyrics while in train.  Ajmal shot the scenes, while Shumais and Azeem performed on the screen.  Once they reached Kerala after the trip, Rameesudheen and Mukhtar, their friends and seniors in the college, also associated with the remaining works.  The video was released on YouTube on April 2019 and has been received well.

“We wanted to do something creative on the issues facing us,” said Shumais to TwoCircles.net.  Why rap? “We are very interested in rap music and can do well too.  It gets good public attention and is easier than others like short films.”  He added that they were also influenced by the 2013 hip-hop video ‘Native Bappa’ having a strong political message.

The students at the AzharulUloom Arabic College used to discuss varied topics including saffronisation, demonetization and the changing of names of places, etc in the country.  Their discussions have yielded results earlier too, examples being a public interest docu-video on the consequences of demonetization (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRw1Dm90M8U&feature=youtu.be) in November 2016 and a classroom rap video against the migration policy of the US President Donald Trump (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut5TjnPtk44) in April 2017.  However, the growth from the first video to the recent one is clearly evident.

the logo of the group Osapraka

The friends formed a group called OSaPraKa (short form for ‘OruSanghamPracheenaKalakar’ meaning ‘a bunch of ancient artists’) for their new endeavour.  Before forming this group, they used to blog which is titled ‘Ezhuthachan Media’; under the same banner, they did the video on demonetization and Donald Trump too.

“The team is launching its next video, which will also have some political content, in August”, informed Shumais, who is now a postgraduate student at the Jamia Milliya University, New Delhi.