Mufti Saab garmi mei Ghalib


MPA (400+ posts)

It was a dark and stormy night, with rain lashing violently, thunder booming like cannons and dogs howling like banshees. I raced across the deserted graveyard, dodged past the lady in white with backward pointing feet and crashed through the aik kamray ki jhopri in which we lived.

Maa, I yelled Mei aap ki dawa ley aaya huun Maa!
My frail, diseased mother was prostrating on the janamaz. She stirred listlessly, then got up with tears in her broken, cataract-riddled eyes and said to me, Bete, dawa tou lay aaye ho, magar internet meme kab laao gay?
The internet meme is to our age what the novel was to the turn of the century. The greatest truths of our era seem to be contained in biting Charlies and Paedobears circulating the internet.
As this art form is still quite novel (see what I did there?) it has slowly traversed across the planet, varying by the degree of technological penetration and amount of useless hours available to its populace. Once this critical point is reached, the internet meme like any art form begins to manifest reflections of its own society.
The first one that I can imagine being dubbed a genuine internet phenomenon has to be the iconic Chand Nawab video. It came at a time when the media was slowly gaining ubiquity, but like the travelers who keep interrupting his piece-to-camera, no one was quite sure what to do about it. Soon after, there was the video where a future Prime Minister showed he could fondle like Ronaldinho could pass without needing to look at the recipient. And there was the bainul-aqwami super hit when a student protested at the cruel humour of automatic doors by running through glass. And no one can ever forget the philosophical inquiry into the construction of the modern Saudi state which started in the desert.
But none of these viral videos have spawned the sheer expanse of catchphrases, remixes, motivational posters and entire subcultures that have come the way of the All-Stars of 2011.
First up, there was the Veena Malik rant, immortalized in the refrain Mufti Saab, yeh kya baat hui? which was a pithy expression for the conflict Pakistan was facing within itself.
Then, the accidental heroism of Zohair Toru, who etched Garmi mei kharab into our collective psyche. Once again, those immortal words captured everything imaginable about Pakistani politics, its youth and the points at which the two converged.
And now there is the veritable Dr. Aamir Liaquat no stranger to the virtues of the internet, having allegedly received his PhD from its recesses. In what is a rapidly disappearing video, the roohani rockstar is seen to have an off-camera persona that rapidly veers from the profane to the profound.
Typically, the kind doctor has claimed that the video is fake and a conspiracy. From a technological perspective, the claim that the voice has been faked and re-dubbed is pretty much impossible. But what appears to be even tougher to fake is the doctors repeated horizontal fist-pump, which doesnt really need any words to convey its meaning.
But to focus on these trivialities would mean missing out on understanding the true significance of this moment. It would be ignoring the existential dilemma at the heart of this story, this society and these wretched times.
The question we all need to be asking ourselves is: Ghalib film dekhi hai aap ne?