Recent Trends in Pakistani Protest Songs

A Critical Discourse Analysis of ‘Alu Anday’


  • Sarwet Rasul Department of English, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi


Pakistan has a long and rich tradition of protest music and poetry. However, when it comes to protest songs on electronic media, it is evident that Pakistan's protest music culture has entered a new and exciting phase in the recent decades. As compared to the only available heavily censored state electronic media of the past, the emergence of private electronic media channels and the new social media has provided a far greater scope and flexibility to the young singers and musicians to voice protest through music. With the growth of these media and Internet in Pakistan, the singers and artists are more empowered than ever to engage in free expression as a marker of their political and social activism. In this context the current research explores the recent trends in Pakistani protest songs from the linguistic and semiotic perspectives. For this purpose a song ‘Alu Anday’ sung by the band byBegairat Brigade’ in 2011 is taken as a sample. Critical Discourse Analysis model of Fairclough (1989, 1995) and semiotic framework of Berger (1998) are combined and adapted for the purpose of analysis. Applying different stages of discourse analysis (description, interpretation and explanation) as given by Fairclough, it is examined how the song linguistically and semiotically creates meaning on the levels of text, discursive practices and social structures; and thus serves as a commentary on the current socio-political situation of th country.