Desi Bastards

Jackman sent posted a spate of links to Quasipseudo today and, though I've not checked the others, this one was a freakin' gem.

Punk Lives!

From the story:

Odd men out

When they were high school freshmen, Usmani and Khan became friends skipping religion classes at their Wayland mosque. Last year, they found themselves bonding again, this time over ''The Taqwacores." Usmani, a senior at UMass-Lowell, and Khan, who works for a film production company, became fast friends with Knight, now one of the most controversial writers in the Muslim blogosphere, who occasionally documented their high jinks on, to the chagrin of their parents. They wrote the ''Rumi" song that spring, and the Kominas, with ''The Taqwacores" as their manifesto, were born. (The band doesn't have a regular drummer, using a rotating cast instead.)

Amin Salahuddin, one of a handful of Muslims who saw the Kominas' Brooklyn show, believes the band will resonate with young Muslims like himself.

''The lyrics about living in a post-9/11 situation as a young Desi or South Asian kid growing up in America relates to me," said Salahuddin, 22, of Teaneck, N.J. ''It's pretty easy to get into it. Those kinds of cynical lyrics, those catchy tunes, using punk rock as a delivery, that's what gets me."

Consider ''Sharia Law in the USA," which Usmani said he wrote after listening to Public Enemy's ''Fear of a Black Planet." Appropriating a term that makes many Americans uneasy, ''Sharia Law" explores fears that American Muslims experience and the perils they face under the Patriot Act.

''Rabyah" is a scathing critique of the international reaction to last October's devastating earthquake in Kashmir, which Usmani wrote after spending a month there with his mother, an oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who was volunteering. Other songs make references to Bollywood movies and romances with Farsi-speaking girls in hijabs ''covered in patches." The ''Rumi" song, on the other hand, has earned them admiration in some Muslim quarters, and scorn in others, for criticizing homophobia.

''I would stand with people like the Kominas because I believe they're fighting injustice," said Homayra Ziad, 28, who is pursuing a PhD in Islamic studies at Yale and edits Chowrangi, a magazine for ''progressive" Pakistani-Americans. ''They're in a society which in many ways is anti-Muslim, and then on the other hand they're odd man out among the Muslims as well."

It's too early to tell whether the Kominas, who recently completed a five-song EP, and bands on their heels will really put together a scene that lasts. Punk has emerged in some Muslim countries and has also become popular with Muslim immigrants in the United Kingdom and a few other Western countries, although it is far less than developed than rock and hip-hop.
''The fact that they're the first guys to do this, they're going to create a lot of curiosity," said Iram Soomro, a 24-year-old Pakistani American from New York who saw the show. ''Desis will look into it just because its something different."
[the rest of the story...]

And it prompted me to, somewhat unthinkingly, create my own My Space.


  1. My is an online veneral disease. Stay far away from that and UMass Lowell if you don't want to catch anything.

  2. Hey now, AG, what's SO cool 'bout that comment is that in my GMail inbox, My is a clickable link.

    Yer just cool w/o even tryin', huh.


    And I'm probably gonna forget I even have the account. But maybe I'll make it even raunchier, just for kicks...

  3. I don't understand the mySpace phenom. But then, I'm old.

  4. I'm young, K.W. Myspace still should not be understood and is a crab infested display of the decline of America.

    No love for myspace!

  5. you've got my curiosity up about MySpace...I'll have to go and check it!

  6. I don't understand the myspace phenomenom either, but then I like a usable interface.

    And I have to add...


    That's all I have.

  7. Iree Matt!

    These guys are pretty good too. The lyrics go after it, eh...


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