Defiance and rebellion – Express Tribune

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The population born between 1940s and 1960s enjoyed lower levels of inflation, affordable housing and cheaper albeit not-so-advanced healthcare. Subsequently, generation x (those born between 1960s and 1980s) were the fortunate lot who were bestowed upon with the punk era and grunge music. The kind of music which advocated liberating oneself from the shackles of mainstream culture, norms and customs. The generation x manifested its rebellion through ‘hippie’ culture’ tattoos and long hair. Such acts were meant to express their scorn and anger towards the settled social norms of society.

All around the world, bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains were the epitome of defiance. Through their music they portrayed their resentment for the order imposed upon society through cultural and social conditioning. White collar jobs were frowned upon and the young adults looked for ways to express themselves, in manners which were unacceptable to the previous generation. Expression of self was made through leather jackets, male jewelry, long hair and vibrant tattoos. Let it be clear that rebellion was not against any specific individual, it was against the system as a whole, the mainstream judicial and executive system that propagated injustice and hatred.

A similar, if not the same, philosophy is required in our current political setting. Where inflation is on a rise and the system is dragging itself by the scruff of the neck, defiance of generic norms and application of century-old laws needs to go. Young, rejuvenated minds are needed to redefine things from their foundation. Something as simple as a mere procedure. If it doesn’t work, it has to go. Blunt and confrontational conversations are required to address various political and social issues, which are considered either dangerous or unacceptable. At its core, the punk subculture aimed at achieving the unreal, it aspired to shake the ugly truths of the mainstream and bring them to light. Many believed that they had to do something drastic in order to be heard, which was through peculiar art and loud music coupled with elite lyrical prowess.

The punk subculture helped the marginalised and shunned in finding their voices through music, those who had been suffering at the hands of the outdated and overly ego-centric bourgeoisie. The importance of music and the rebellion it advocated spoke volumes about the imminent change that was inevitable.

Unfortunately, Pakistan has been deliberately kept aloof of such expression of art due to the fact that music (like art) is unappreciated, unfunded, despised and threatens the present status quo. In our overly-commercialised setting, only those achieve air-time who adhere to the masses’ needs (who cares about content). Due to such shunning of artists in Pakistan, the marginalised and outcasts have no eloquent medium to express themselves and as a result they continue to suffer amongst their own ideas — ideas which could possibly bring about the revolution that is desperately needed at this juncture.

History bears witness to the fact that the most eloquent form of rebellion is the one which portrays itself through heightened creativity. Be it Michael Jackson’s ‘They don’t really care about us’ or Nirvana’s ‘Smells like teen spirit’.

As for public norms, let it be unequivocally known that decency does not establish itself through tidy hair, custom clothing or designer shades. Some of the worst crimes in history have been committed by those who fulfilled the above criteria, and those who advocated for love did not have finely stitched suits and were shot point-blank (John Lennon of The Beatles) because they stood up for something that was genuine, raw and real. For those who never experienced the true punk era, it was nothing more than angry teens, adults and those who felt like they weren’t being heard.

Today, defiance and rebellion are needed to emancipate ourselves from the reins of toxic and unwarranted practices in order to focus on the bigger issue at hand. That of fighting against injustices and fascist regimes to bring about a wider change amongst the society. Love always wins.