The Hero Alam episode has been a bad advertisement for the state as a culture controller. Not that they are feeling embarrassed about it. As the police told the media, they have received many complaints against Hero Alam’s singing. So they brought him in. And the police told him not to do the singing which irritates many, at least going by the complaints.
What is odd is that the police thought this to be worth noticing. As they act when under pressure, it seems a large section of the elite are seriously unhappy and feel “threatened” by Hero Alam.
The police of course had another axe to grind. As they told the media, he had been using a police uniform in some of his videos acting as police bosses wearing constables’ dress. This had insulted the force in general.
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What was unexpected is the response from social media which was overwhelmingly against such action. Hero was turned into a victim and a public hero. Many said the police had no business deciding what is culturally appropriate. That Alam was from the bottom and the police were shutting down a voice from there. Hero Alam had suddenly become a voice of a cultural class war.
So where is the conflict ?
Ex-Minister Murad who was sacked after rape threat tapes were leaked is reportedly one of the complainants. In a You Tube interview, he said, “ I was at an event where he was singing. He probably didn’t recognize me. After he finished singing I told him “have you no shame. ? The impudence you showed in singing is astounding. You need voice, talent, knowledge of music and you have none. Given the voice and the face God has given you, you should sing for the lower class which is your audience and should not come to Gulshan to sing. “
Admitting that Hero Alam had an audience who listened to him on You tube, his ire was that he should be singing in front of He had no doubt that he sang for the lower class and it’s Gulshan that was offended.
The matter has been here for long but the issue is not about his singing but the control of social media. No one controls social media and that is anxiety creating. Hero Alam insults the establishment culture by his singing and it can’t be stopped on social media. Anyone studying popular culture will know that Facebook has built a virtual alternate world of culture which neither the establishment nor the shushils can recognize. With millions of views with which no mainstream product can compete, the sense of lack of control is high. And its growing.
The conflict is not about who sings Tagore but who controls social media. The outcome is obvious. The state has turned Alam into a Hero. And the battle has no chance of ending right now, no matter how many times police class.