MUSIC IN MUD HOUSE
Kashmir Life|August 22, 2021
Deep into north Kashmir, Faheem Mir meet a small community that sings and lives on folk music but is facing a tense situation in the last few years
Faheem Mir

It was a gloomy winter day witnessing intermittent snowing. This, however, was an ideal setting for Mohammad Ashraf Shah, who got his Rabab in his lap and started playing. For a while, it seemed as if Shah was offering a musical backdrop to what nature was doing.

A resident of Butsuma, the Patti of Rafiabad’s Rawoocha village, Shah lives in a two-room mud and timber house. Whenever he finishes his routine, he pulls out his rabab and plays. Every time the strings disturb, it creates music that seemingly supplements the natural settings around.

MUSIC EVERYWHERE

Almost 68 km, north of Srinagar, this village has music everywhere as around 80 per cent of the residents, are associated with music and singing. For generations, they have contributed a lot to Kashmir’s traditional music.

Everybody in the village knows how to compose and play music and most of the residents own one or many instruments - Rabab, Sarangi, Harmonium, Matka. What is more interesting; the residents are professionals, having no other source of income other than music and singing.

For generations, they have been performing in marriage ceremonies, cultural programmers, and school functions. Besides, they are accredited with the erstwhile Radio Kashmir Srinagar and Doordarshan Kendra in Srinagar. Over the years, the village has produced some famous names in Kashmir music - Khazar Mohammad Shah, Ghulam Mohammad Shah, Asadullah Shah, Khursheed Ahmad Shah, Manzoor Shah and Ghulam Nabi Bulbul.

It is because of the involvement of the entire village that at any point in time in the day tunes of musical instruments are audible from almost every home. Every house has almost every musical instrument. They start their day by setting their instruments up. There are more than six bands (Musical groups) in this village.

A BULBUL

Over the years, Ghulam Nabi Bulbul has emerged as the culture expert who is not only the “ambassador” of the village but also represents traditions outside Kashmir. He is the man who introduced his village to Kashmir thus becoming an inspiration for many.

Residents see their “drama king” in Ghulam Nabi Shah. The handsome blue-eyed artist born in 1949, has been a theatre person from his childhood. He was in the third primary when he started participating in school functions. This introduced him to a generation and the area he lives in. Gradually he picked up folk singing and would become a bachkout, a dancer.

“In 1966 I participated in a cultural event in Srinagar in which the Chief Guest was Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad,” recalls Ghulam Nabi. “After watching my performance on stage he gave me the title Bulbul.” Since then, everybody knows him as Bulbul.

The appreciation received from the Chief Executive of Jammu and Kashmir became the key reason for Bulbul to work hard and become an ace entertainer. Bulbul represented Jammu and Kashmir five times in cultural events throughout India.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM KASHMIR LIFEView All

Before The Kabul Retreat

Described as the ‘Graveyard of Empires’, Afghanistan was always termed to be at peace when it was at war. But the land-locked desert country that was always in turmoil and one of the worst targets of the Great Game suffered immensely throughout, especially in the last 40 years, Masood Hussain writes

10 mins read
Kashmir Life
August 22, 2021

FINGERS CROSSED

Almost everybody in academia and politics that Khalid Bashir Gura spoke to, the response over Kabul happens was simple – wait and watch

5 mins read
Kashmir Life
August 22, 2021

Parliamentary Committee In Srinagar

The visiting 28-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs have had detailed interactions with top civil administration and discussed developmental scenario and people’s welfare measures in Jammu and Kashmir. It is on a 4-day visit. Congress leader and MP Anand Sharma is heading the committee.

1 min read
Kashmir Life
August 22, 2021

MUSIC IN MUD HOUSE

Deep into north Kashmir, Faheem Mir meet a small community that sings and lives on folk music but is facing a tense situation in the last few years

7 mins read
Kashmir Life
August 22, 2021

THE KABUL SPILLOVER?

Security experts are divided over the possible impact of the Kabul situation on Kashmir. But the dramatic Taliban triumph has altered the region’s geopolitics, for the time being, writes Riyaz Wani

10+ mins read
Kashmir Life
August 22, 2021

Durga Bhawan At Katra

To enhancing facilities for the convenience of the Vaishno Devi pilgrims, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha laid the foundation for the Durga Bhawan, a high utility pilgrim-centric facility worth Rs 24.4 crore. The facility will accommodate 4000 pilgrims.

1 min read
Kashmir Life
August 22, 2021

Women Empowerment

In the first, 480 talented girls from Jammu and Kashmir were included in the degree and diploma courses of the Pragati Scholarship. Jammu and Kashmir has also got nine scholarships under the Saksham Scheme for Persons with Disabilities.

1 min read
Kashmir Life
August 22, 2021

‘SOME HISTORIANS BELIEVE THAT AFGHANISTAN CONFLICT IS THE OUTCOME OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN KASHMIR STAND-OFF'

Foreign policy expert and editor of HardNews magazine, Sanjay Kapoor believes that Taliban 2.0 has more legitimacy unlike in the past as it had signed a deal with the US and negotiated with other countries of the region, but the final verdict can be passed only after it manages ticklish issues involving half of its population, the women

9 mins read
Kashmir Life
August 22, 2021

Boredom Is Creative?

Getting bored is not as boring as it gets, writes Azra Hussain

4 mins read
Kashmir Life
August 15, 2021

LG In Bangus

Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha inaugurated the Bungus Awaam Mela amidst grand arrangements for village games, exhilarating local performances, and other activities to celebrate the 75th year of Independence.

1 min read
Kashmir Life
August 15, 2021
RELATED STORIES

Where History Intersects With Myth

ASHWIN SANGHI is an Indian author in the intersecting genre of mythology, fiction and thriller. Here he is interviewed by RUDY SINGH at Kanha Shanti Vanam about his formative influences, what brought him to writing, and the gray area intersecting mythology and history. In Part 2, the conversation will also move to his own work and in particular his latest books.

7 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
November 2019

What It Takes To Sell Indian Saffron!

The saffron of Kashmir has long been considered the world’s finest, but drought is threatening the livelihood and traditions of its farming families.

4 mins read
Saveur
Summer 2019

Two militants killed in Kashmir

TWO militants, who were involved in killing of a civilian and a sub-inspector in Srinagar, were killed in twin gunfights in Pulwama and Srinagar on Friday.

1 min read
The New Indian Express Chennai
October 16, 2021

FEAR RETURNS TO THE VALLEY

For the past fortnight, a Kashmiri Pandit social activist in Srinagar (name withheld for security concerns) has been living under police protection. A posse of policemen knocked on his door around midnight on October 5 and shifted him to a more secure location, a kilometre from his house. “They told me I was on the militants’ radar and needed to go with them,” he says.

4 mins read
India Today
October 25, 2021

DEJA WOE

With increasing attacks on minorities and outsiders, Kashmiris fear the return of the militancy of the 1990s

7 mins read
THE WEEK
October 24, 2021

आतंकियों की जम्मू और कश्मीर में नई साजिश

निशाने पर 200 लोग, सुरक्षा बल सतर्क

1 min read
Aaj Samaaj
October 15, 2021

Army officer, soldier killed in Poonch gunfight

Place where encounter broke out is part of same area where 5 soldiers were killed on Oct 11

2 mins read
The Morning Standard
October 15, 2021

CBI SEARCHES HOUSE OF FORMER ADVISOR TO L-G IN ARMS LICENSE RACKET

Sources said that Khan was removed as advisor to Lieutenant Governor after the CBI top brass informed the Ministry of Home Affairs, Gol about his name figuring in the gun license racket.

2 mins read
The Daily Guardian
October 13, 2021

TOP JAISH COMMANDER KILLED IN ENCOUNTER

A top Jaish-e-Mohammad militant commander was killed in an encounter with security forces in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday. The deceased was identified as Shamus-ud-Din Sofi alias Sham Sofi.

2 mins read
The Morning Standard
October 14, 2021

आतंक पर प्रहार में जुटीं सुरक्षा एजेंसियां

• सुरक्षा बलों के साथ बड़े ऑपरेशन से नेटवर्क ध्वस्त करने की तैयारी • आतंकियों के खिलाफ चलाया जा रहा सघन अभियान

1 min read
Hindustan Times Hindi
October 13, 2021