Let the Music Play

Music from Jammu & Kashmir is famous for its unique blend of Central Asian & Eastern Asian influence. The Valley not only has traditional folk music but is also well known for the confluence of Sufis & Rock, which is fast becoming popular amongst the youth.
The nation is currently embroiled in multiple debates about 'Pragaash', an all-girl rock band based in Kashmir who came into the limelight again this year when a fatwa was issued against them by the grand mufti Bashir-ud-din-Ahmed, head of the Muslim clergy in Kashmir. This band had made waves in December 2012 when they made their maiden appearance in the popular music competition "Battle of the Bands" and rocked the Valley with their phenomenal performance. Initially, their performance sparked off an online hate campaign by individuals who threatened them with dire consequences, and ultimately, it led to the current fatwa. Now, depressed & disillusioned, the girls have disbanded. There are many opinions being bandied around on public forums and in the news. While people are claiming that these girls are truly un-Islamic (or not), Community Correspondent Sajad brings us the real story. Kashmiri youth believe that music and culture is an essential way for them to express themselves. Sajad's video documents the auditions of a popular TV show, which shows how hundreds of Kashmiri youth believe in the importance of music. Says Sajad, "Essentially, in Islam, listening to music is forbidden. However, in Kashmir, we have celebrated music and songs for decades now. It is such an integral part of us, our culture. There are so many bands all across Kashmir. No one has said a word against them. How is it that suddenly everyone hates these girls? What about Shameema Dev Azad? She was so popular! She sang and she is a woman. I believe there are hidden implications in this. There is definitely more to this than we are being told." Sajad feels that this controversy might be a ploy to distract the country from the multiple Human Rights violations constantly occurring across the Valley. Conspiracy or not, ultimately what cannot be argued is that music is an essential part of the right to speech & expression and any attempts to curb that should met with swift and firm action. More Links:
Music of Kashmir Wiki Link   Watch more videos by Sajad here.

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