Jihad is not the best job description of a UN Goodwill Ambassador and a rock star who has taken up the 'mission' of spreading peace through music.
But Salman Ahmad, the founder and frontman of the Pakistan-based — and South Asia's longest-lasting band — Junoon, feels that the best way to bridge the chasm between the West and the Muslim world is by waging a peaceful counter-jihad.
Thus the title Rock And Roll Jihad (Jaico, Rs 395) of his autobiography, which has been co-authored by freelance journalist Robert Schroeder.
Having grown up in awe of Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, Ahmad did not have to wink twice while deciding on his career plans. The weary situation in 80s Pakistan gave an impetus to his aspirations of using six-strings to riff about an impotent government, the rise of religious fanatics and corruption.
This, despite the fact that "pop and rock musicians during the eighties were considered the moral equivalent of mirasis or kanjars (low-class singers and musicians or dancers)."
From performing in college festivals to the formation — and dissolution — of his bands Vital Signs and Junoon (which had a huge fan following across the subcontinent), from being banned from playing in Pakistan to performing at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2007 and in front of former American President Bill Clinton in 2006, Ahmad has come a long way in making the world understand that one can "be a Muslim and play electric guitar".