Safder Ali, a 29-year-old social activist who goes by the name ‘meme bhai’, is using rap as a medium to highlight the issues plaguing Hyderabad’s Old City. Unlike the general perception that Old City residents, a significant chunk of whom belong to the Muslim community, are content with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party, Safder uses his rap to shine light on infrastructural concerns and urges people to be mindful while casting their votes.
Discussing issues like ‘Operation Chabutra’, wherein youngsters are frisked by police under the guise of ensuring safety, Safder speaks about how under the pretext of development, only remodelling of sewerages take place. Using rhetoric as a device, he questions the lack of proper roads, and why there is no metro rail in the Old city. “The youth of Old City are talented enough, but are suffering from unemployment while the ‘new city’ has thousands of jobs in HiTech City with big corporate offices like Amazon, and Google. Why is there no IT tower in the Old City,” Safder said.
On his "Old City ka Awaz" Facebook page, Safder uploads videos that call attention to the poorly maintained roads and overflowing nalas. He further criticises the MIM party, which has seven MLAs in the Assembly, for failing to improve the Old City's infrastructure. “Despite having cordial relations with the BRS, the MIM party made no development. My goal is to raise voters' awareness through my work before they cast their votes. I am pro-development, but we have been called anti-MIM because of this,” Safder said.
Safder also added that some leaders have approached him to campaign for them after his videos gained thousands of views. “I don't want to be associated with any political party, I will see what the future has in store, " he said.