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.
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.
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
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
Almost everybody in academia and politics that Khalid Bashir Gura spoke to, the response over Kabul happens was simple – wait and watch
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.
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
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
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.
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.
‘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
Boredom Is Creative?
Getting bored is not as boring as it gets, writes Azra Hussain
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.
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.
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.
R-Day Celebrated Across Kashmir, Relaxed Atmosphere In Srinagar
Functions were held at all district headquarters of the Valley
Gulmarg reels under extreme cold as snowfall continues in south Kashmir
Qazigund, the gateway to the Kashmir Valley, registered a low of minus 0.4 deg C
RAHUL GANDHI'S SAFETY PRIORITY IN J&K: CONGRESS
As the Bharat Jodo Yatra's Jammu and Kashmir leg is underway, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said on Sunday that Rahul Gandhi's security is a top priority and that his party will follow all instructions by the security agencies to ensure his safety.
Congress will use its full power to get statehood reinstated: Rahul
THOUSANDS TURN UP TO ACCORD WARM WELCOME TO YATRA IN JAMMU
Jammu industrial area hit by car bombs, 9 hurt
Two blasts, about 20 minutes apart, rocked the Narwal industrial area of Jammu on Saturday, leaving at least nine people with splinter injuries.
Congress will not accept compromise with Rahul's security: Jairam Ramesh
Two back-to-back explosions had rocked a busy locality on the outskirts of Jammu on Saturday, leaving nine people injured
Bharat Jodo Yatra reaches J&K’s Samba under tight security
The Bharat Jodo Yatra of the Congress reached Samba in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday afternoon, after covering 21 kilometres in more than six hours from adjoining Kathua amid heightened security in the wake of twin blasts in Jammu.
Ahead of Republic Day & Rahul yatra, 7 injured in twin blasts in Jammu
LESS THAN a week ahead of Republic Day celebrations, at least seven people were injured in twin blasts in Transport Nagar area of Narwal, on the outskirts of Jammu city, on Saturday morning.