This Band Is Using Art To Draw Attention To Plight Of Kashmiris Cut Off From World
As Kashmir enters the 66th day of lockdown, the Valley has sunk into a deep humanitarian, economic, and political crisis that has left the Valley paralyzed since the abrogation of Article 370.
While people are still shuttling between errant landlines and weak signalled walkie talkies, a Delhi based Kashmiri band produced a hard-hitting song to urge the Centre to lift the ban.
The song named Khatt (Letter) released on October 7, expresses the emotions of two friends/lovers from Kashmir who aren’t able to talk to each other due to prevailing communication blockade in the Valley.
The song interlaces the pain of separation, seclusion, and lack of communication between loved ones. In the later part, the singer has implored to lift the ban and let the message be sent across.
“This is the first time I felt the void inside me that feeds on my terrifying and paralyzing thoughts about parents, friends, and acquaintances. You tend to underestimate the power of cellphones and the internet connection unless you are a Kashmiri. Even I used to get irritated over my parents calling me relentlessly. Now, the time has brought me to be glued with my cellphone as I cannot afford to miss a single call that my parents struggle to make,” says Rauhan Malik,23, Singer of Khat.
Rauhan told The Logical Indian that he came up with the idea of making a song on the communication blackout while he thought of writing a letter to his parents before the landline was restored in the Valley.
Rauhan further said that his parents have to go to the nearest police station every week to make a call to him that cannot be beyond one minute.
“I am here living in Delhi, and they are under massive curfew where news of detention surfaces every minute, I would not come to know of it if at all they were to bear the consequences of such nature. The one minute call just acts only as a reminder that we are alive somewhere, don’t worry,” Rauhan said.
Within two days, the song garnered immense support from the Kashmiri diaspora scattered across the nation.
The producer of the album, Zeyan Shafiq, 17, also urged the government to lift the ban and dedicated the song to every Kashmiri facing the blackout.
“It’s not a blackout, it’s a black hole, you sink into it. The integration left us disintegrated and aloof. Through the song, we tried to evoke emotions and maybe that could push the government to lift the ban that has been imposed on Kashmir,” said Zeyan.
Upon asking why Rauhan chose this method to describe his emotions, he said that they wanted to put this message out in an abstract manner as they didn’t intend to target or strike any political conversation through their song. The best way out would be two friends writing letters to each other but which are not being delivered.
“Ye khat pahucha do mere yaar ke paas udne do in parindo ko mere yaar ke paas
(Please let this letter be sent across to my loved ones, let the flock of birds fly towards my loved ones)
Ye kya hua hai ye badduaa hai khuda, ye kya sama hai ye ghumzada hai khuda
(What has happened to us seems like a curse, this agonizing scenario that lies in front of me, dear lord)
Koi ro raha hai koi kho raha hai khuda, tu dekh raha hai tu hans raha hai khuda
(some are crying while others are getting lost, you see this, you laugh on the plight, dear lord),” sang Rauhan.
Artwork of the album
The artwork of the album has also become poignant symbolism to the ongoing communication crisis in the Valley. The artwork shows a pigeon, often known messenger bird, dying, and a small plant emanating from its beak shackling the letter through the leaves which the bird was supposed to deliver.