Bara dushman bana phirtha hai jo bacchon se darta hai
December 16, 2014, is a day that will remain forever etched in the memory of every Pakistani who lived through it. The loss of 147 innocent lives to extremism shook not just the nation but the world with its inhumanity. Pakistan military’s media wing, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), has aimed to play its part through two hauntingly beautiful and heart-warming musical tributes that have the power to reduce the listener to tears.
The first video was released by ISPR around a month after the horrific attacks and was broadcasted on various television channels.
It depicts various students wearing the Army Public School (APS) uniform. It is a message from the young martyrs to their mothers, families and the rest of the nation:
“Bara dushman bana phirtha hai jo bacchon se darta hai.”
(Some enemy he is, he who is scared of children.)
It shows that the attack has not conquered the children of Pakistan, with the principal welcoming back the students in the auditorium that is reminiscent of the one where so many lives were lost.
The second video, released two days before the anniversary of the attack assumes a little more nuance in its message: Education is the best revenge. A child’s voice rings through the melody,
“Mujhe dushman ke bachon ko parhana hai.”
(I want to educate the children of my enemies.)
It depicts a break in the cycle of violence. To thwart terrorism, we have to educate the children of terrorists.
Both songs relay very powerful messages to the terrorists: You have not paralysed us. You have not destroyed the faith of the people. Our children are still going to school, with an even greater sense of purpose than before. And, we will combat your ideology by educating your children as well. This will be our revenge.
What’s problematic, however, is that both songs are ripe with war rhetoric: the word “badla” (revenge) in the voice of a young child gave me chills. But so long as the revenge they speak of – education – is the only kind, the song is a beacon of hope in front of all the sorrows we have faced together.
We must commend the efforts of the ISPR in creating an atmosphere of community through these songs, and blending in our various voices into one. The songs are a soothing lullaby to a nation that has suffered too many nightmares.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.