‘People used to cry with joy listening to us. That does not happen anymore’ – Kashmiri Sufis

Srinagar, January 14: With modernization being infused in all the parts of life in Kashmir Valley, the local traditions are gradually losing their value. More and more people are getting engaged with the modern genres of music, the rich cultural Sufi music of Kashmir has lost its sheen.

The traditional Sufi Music of Kashmir has previously been associated with religion and local customs and of the region but now it is not that famous among the modern generation of Kashmir. According to famous vocalist Kifayat Faheem from Srinagar who has also been the student of Indian Classical Music, the traditional sufi music of Kashmir was the mixture of Persian and Indian classical music. It was introduced in the region with the foundation of Islam in 16th century.

Another artist from Kashmir, Mushtaq Sazanawaz is 50 years old and belongs to seventh generation Sufi musicians. He lives in the Safa Kadal locality of Srinagar’s old city. He believes that the traditional sufi music can cure a person and the most simple way to realise God.

Mushtaq who has performed at the Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi, Patiala and even Switzerland said that when he used to perform, people would sing deep in its aura and tear starts to float down their eyes but now, nothing of this sort is being seen in the concert.

Sazanawaz plays ‘Saaz-e-Kashmir’, a localised version of violin and one of the five instruments used in the Sufi music performances. However, he along  with his family is doing their best to defend the existence of Sufi music. His father, Ustad Ghulam Mohammad Saznawaz used to run a music school in Kashmir in 1984 and had trained a number of students but most of them did not pursue as a career because of the less scope for this profession in Kashmir.

The downfall of traditional sufi music in the valley in the last two decades is due to its stagnancy, said the Program Executive, FM Two, Radio Kashmir Srinagar, Satish Vimal.

The Chief Editor (Urdu) at the Cultural Academy Kashmir has said that the academy even formed a separate wing to teach Sufi music but it got closed with in a year because of poor response.

Conventional lyrics are being used in this form of music which are difficult to understand and that is the reason why it is losing its fame, said Waheed Jeelani, a well known Kashmiri singer.

Tribune News

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