“Instead of guns, our voices speak for us. Music is our identity and nothing else”
India Today|July 26, 2021
The lyrics of an old Bollywood song that the two 22-year-olds, Shokeen Nabi from Budgam and Shah Zafar from Tang marg, sing in a hall in Baramulla are loaded with meaning not just for Kashmir but for all of India: Jo vaada kiya woh nibhana padega; roke zamaana chahe roke Khudaai (Keep your promises, whether the world or god comes in your way).

Not overly concerned with politics, their ambitions are focused on getting ahead in their music careers.

The turbulence in the Valley over the past five years has had an impact on them. Nabi is a post-graduate in political science but his focus throughout college was on music. When the government imposed curbs on internet following Burhan Wani’s killing in 2016 or when Article 370 was revoked in 2019, Nabi lost out on popularising his music through social media channels such as YouTube and Instagram.

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