For Noor Jehan's family, Ali Azmat's remarks are the 'disgraceful utterances' of a 'now faded' musician
Musician Ali Azmat has earned the ire of countless netizens after his recent dig at one of Pakistan's biggest cultural icons, Madam Noor Jehan. The Junoon frontman said some rude things about the late singer, and her family has recently issued a unified statement against him on social media, condemning his "disgraceful utterances" that broke the "boundaries of respect and decorum".
In an interview moderated by Ahmed Pansota and featured on The Current's YouTube channel, the musician and actor displayed his dislike for the late singer by derogatorily calling her a "kofta (meatball)" amongst other things. The clip of Azmat's remarks went viral on social media and reached Noor Jehan's family as well.
Malika-e-Tarannum's daughters — designer Mina Hasan, and Hina Durrani — posted a statement on Instagram condemning Azmat for his rude comments against their mother. "Madam Noor Jehan is a name synonymous with greatness. A woman that did more for her country and her art than most can dream of doing in a lifetime. She received every accolade known to mankind and while leaving us was also rewarded in death to depart for Heavenly abode on the most blessed of days."
"I got thousands of you today sending messages of how much you love her and that you want me to say something about what someone had to say about her," Hasan and Durrani said in identical posts. "To that I share one of my favourite quotes 'What you say about me, says more about you'. When someone expresses an opinion breaking boundaries of respect and decorum they show you that they lack common decency , grace and humility.
For the women, exercising your freedom of expression does not excuse giving others due respect. Freedom of expression "should not be permitted to be used as means of indignation for another," the statement read.
"As a society, we have observed our social fabric wither to the whims of egotistical expressions of nothingness, founded in a misplaced sense of self importance and privilege," they said. "For reasons which are incomprehensible to decency and courtesy, humiliating another vociferously is now seemingly justified because 'I am allowed to express what I feel'. You most certainly are. But with every privilege exercised, there is a much greater need to observe propriety. Every privilege claimed is accompanied by an overwhelming need to observe caution."
The daughters did not mince their words about Azmat from this point onwards. For Hasan and Durrani, the Junoon singer is now a "faded representative of Pakistan’s music industry"
"Let us take a moment to recognise this person’s unregulated and greatly unjustified tenor and evident lack of intellectual coherence," they said, "When explaining popular culture relevant to his generation, he effortlessly stooped to an abhorrent low. Evidently unable to express himself whilst visually pleased with this demeaning ‘quality’, he did not shudder for a moment when discussing a legend, an icon, a muse of all things valued and endeared, a mother."
They went on to slam the singer for using cheap methods to grab attention. "Not all primitives evolved to become better creatures. Charles Darwin is wrong. Some regressed to lower life forms, faded into irrelevance, invoked cheap theatrics to grapple with the fame lost, and lived out their remaining days consumed by their insecurities," they said.
Hasan and Durrani emphasised how "Noor Jehan is and will always be what this person can never attain. Grace, humility, courage, integrity, and above all, immortality".
Noor Jehan's granddaughter, Natasha Ali Lakhani, also posted the same statement on her Instagram account as well. Their post in regards to Azmat included video clips of celebrated Indian artists Late Mangeshkar, Shabana Azmi, Dilip Kumar and others praising Noor Jehan both as a person and artist.
Actor Ahmed Ali Butt — the son of Noor Jehan's eldest daughter Zile Huma — also posted a statement on the issue on his Instagram Stories.
Butt said he has "always respected Ali Azmat as an artist and as a friend" and doesn't hold the incident against him because "he is also an artist and knows very well that respect comes when you give respect". "Otherwise you are just putting yourself in a position where people will disgrace your own legacy," he said.