Monday, May 27

A Politician-Singer’s Tryst With Election Songs In Malabar

Edited by Timeline News Desk

Two songs in Kerala’s Lok Sabha elections arena these days have a common connection: Afsal KT, currently the Grama Panchayat president in Malappuram’s Aliparamba. One song is written and sung by Afsal for Congress-led UDF candidate in Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency ET Muhammad Basheer, another one is a rap song he wrote for UDF’s Vatakara candidate Shafi Parambil. Both songs are reverberating in Malappuram and Kozhikode as the campaigning is approaching its end in the Southern state of India.

This is not Afsal KT’s first encounter with popular music. An Aligarh Muslim University post-graduate, an administrator, a caring politician, and a musician… he has taken on several roles in his life.

Afsal KT, a hardcore Indian Union Muslim League (IUML, a constituent of Opposition INDIA alliance) activist, says he wrote both songs because of his love for the politicians: ET Muhammad Basheer, former Kerala education minister and three-time Member of Parliament from Ponnani, and Shafi Parambil, a three-time MLA from Palakkad legislative assembly constituency and the Congress candidate for Vadakara Lok Sabha constituency.

“Shafi Parambil is a youth icon, a youth leader, who is energetic and able to do magic in electoral politics,” Afsal said when asked why he was eager to write about the Youth Congress leader.

The lines in his rap song, now viral, go like this: “Shafi is energetic, enthusiastic, he communicates with the people with his heart. That was the reason for the support and strength he got in Palakkad”. Young and promising rapper Akshay, who also contributed to the lyrics, sung the lines written by Afsal.

 

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Then, there is the song he wrote and sung for Mr. Basheer, whom Afsal believes to be the person challenging and fighting the emergence of fascism in India with all possible might.

“He is the founder of CH Centre, which is the resort of many have nots. He is engaged in a face-to-face fight against fascism. His speeches in Parliament are proof of that. He is a dearest leader to many,” Afsal says about Mr. Basheer.

The song also has an Aliparamba Panchayat connection. Afsal’s colleagues in the local administrative council, Hamsakkutty CP and Rajesh PP, along with his nephew, a class 2 student Ayan Amin KT, have sung the song with him. Rajesh PP is also the local secretary of Dalit League (Dalit wing of IUML).

This is not the first time Afsal is making waves in Kerala. Fifteen years ago, he was a sensation among Malayalees who love Malabar folk songs, and also in Kerala’s campuses. His efforts to rejuvenate a particular folk song “Aisa Kadeesa Paathumma” later changed his life entirely. What started as him singing this forgotten folk song for his friends and family turned into a ‘one-man radio’ moment. People from various walks of life, after getting his phone number, started calling him and demanded him to sing the song.

Afsal KT

Later, this encouraged him to set the song as his caller tune. Then, with word of mouth publicity, thousands started calling him to hear the song. At its peak, he used to receive more than 2,000 calls a day.

This ultimately prompted Afsal to come up with an album “Aisa Kadeesa: A Nostalgic Revisit To Malabar Folk Songs” with famous Malabar singer Sameer Binsi. For this, the singers went door-to-door meeting the elderly to gather the original lyrics.