Coke studio 8 is garnering rave reviews and – as is the norm – lighting up some controversies on the way. The two most notable being the Tajdar-e-haram, old vs. new debate; and the Umair Jaiswal’s rock star moves.

Today I am going to pen down my two cents on the Tajdar-e-haram debate.

A lot has already been said on this already with people comparing the Sabri brothers 70’s version to Atif’s reimagined one.

Some claim that it was a mistake on Atif’s part to have attempted a rendition of the magnum opus that the Sabri brothers belted out in 1975. Some however, can’t stop talking about how wonderful the new version is.

The divide is so large that one comment I read stated “Atif / Coke Studio have the distinct privilege of butchering one of my favorite qawwalis. It was a pathetic effort.” And another one just below it claimed “I was not expecting it from Atif. I think he was superb.”

I kind of liked the new version myself, but that in no way means that the original sucks. The original is a classic in every right.

Times have changed

The original Tajdar-e-haram was sung by the Sabri brothers in 1975, some forty years ago. That’s a long time and in these forty long years everything about music and the Pakistani music industry has changed.

Today the music scene is very different and people now are ready to want, accept and like what Atif has done with a classic for the plain reason that it’s fresh and in tune with the times.

I will go as far as to say, why compare it with the original? Both are different. The biggest difference being that the Sabri brothers immortalized Tajdar-e-haram as a qawwali and the one that Atif crooned is a song.

How can you compare a song to a qawwali? It’s like comparing oranges and apples. Why can’t I like both apples AND oranges?!?!?!?

Or what if I just like Apples…so?!?!?

Yes, Atif’s song has similar lyrics, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

The following comment I got off the net sums up what I have to say perfectly:

“Well I heard the original but the things Strings have really modified the Kalam according to today’s generation music taste ! . The effort might seem as not good for those who have grown up listening to NFAK or Sabri Brothers but for the modern music and especially the current fusion of sufi music with Rock , this was the best rendition in this decade of Pakistani music after Dastaan-e-Ishq by Ali Zafar ! . I even heard every one in my campus mimicking and singing lines of this qawalli and that’s how I knew how much it has been popular with this generation”

If anything, Atif has just blown life back into Tajdar-e-haram and maybe even qawwali by reintroducing it to today’s generation. A generation who might not even have heard of the Sabri brothers before this debate.

Oh! By the way, the Kalaam could be tantamount to Shirk!

Aha! Didn’t see this one coming.

Well if you listen to the ‘kalaam’ it is clear that the singer is making dua (supplication) to the Prophet (SAW) instead of Allah and that in every which way is deemed shirk.

I know I am treading a thin line here but it’s not just me, a lot of people claim such kind of kalaam to be tantamount to shirk. I am no scholar, but to me it does make sense. We should not make dua to the prophet (SAW), even if it is for the sake of qawwali.

OK! Now that I have triggered a religious debate I will end this post right here and prepare for the onslaught of comments! ;)