Inspired by the ongoing conflict a number of young artists chose different mediums to reach out to the world. Shayan Nabi, a young rapper traces history of resistance in Kashmir in his first self composed album Shine On Darkness. Riyaz Ul Khaliq reports.
“I’m a rebel with a cause, with the weapon of this sound. I draw pictures with my music without using crayons…”
Art has been used as a form of resistance and music is one of them. Kashmir being one of the conflict zones of world saw a surge in art resistance in last few years. September 7 event, Haqeeqat-I-Kashmir is a glaring example. The people showed their resentment slowly and silently. The event hosted besides songs and poems, the latest form of music-Rap.
Rap or Hip-Hop is sung to showcase anything one wishes. Usually, people use it to protest government indifference and many a times, people have used to romantic odes.
The people of Kashmir though conservative are no way behind in this art form. Since, 2008 uprising, Kashmir saw people protesting through different mediums and Rap is one of them.
Last week, a young and enthusiastic engineer, Shayan Nabi released a Rap album, Shine On Darkness. The young rapper has, in total sung nine songs. Besides Shayan, the album features various artists from Kashmir. Shayan has sung in all the three languages, English, Urdu, and mother tongue Kashmiri.
Coming from a humble background, this city boy has got inspiration from the suffering of the masses of Kashmir. He says that music is his passion. “Music can traverse the barriers of language, region, religion etc. It is my responsibility to make people across world aware about Kashmir situation,” says Shayan.
“Our history has produced heroes like Maqbool Bhat, Afzal Guru and Ashfaq Majeed, it is now our responsibility to make people aware about them and the suffering our people go through,” Shayan said.
The rapper claims that he has self composed and produced the album and written lyrics. “I have produced, composed all the tracks and written them too besides few by my co-artists,” Shayan claims.
The recording of the album took place at a private studio in Srinagar for which Shayan had to pay. “We do not have such facilities though we had some instruments of our own. But I had to pay for the studio,” he informs.
The songs in the album talk about the brutalities, suffering people of Kashmir are facing. It has a song that talks about the rape victims of Kunan Poshpora.
“See we all know about Kunan Poshpora and the women who have suffered silently since. They did not even get justice. When there was Delhi gang rape, there was hue and cry, but the Delhi Gang rape is pale in comparison to what happened in Kunan Poshpora. But nobody talks about them anymore,” Shayan said.
Shayan quotes from his album, “Murdered and tortured, raped and pillaged, this was the fate when the soldiers entered the village. Eyes full of tears as I write my last bars, whole village raped only left back are scars.”
In his message to its listeners, Shayan introduces the history of his land to its people as how and when ‘foreign occupation’ of Kashmir started in 1586 and how people have existed. He says, the existence of the people is itself a resistance.
In one of the songs, Shayan talks about his experiences and inspiration that made him to write, compose and produce this album.
“This Album is all about my nation, Kashmir,” Shayan says, quoting a track from his album, “I try to discover the world that has been buried in time and uncover that in my rhymes so that you won’t be confined, Y’all being blind to them facts, you never heard of ‘em crimes sometimes you need to look beyond them news which confuse and clog your mind”
Shayan says that he feels that it is world that is in darkness and he tried to make them aware about the situation of Kashmir.
In one of the songs, Life of Jhelum’s Swan, Shayan talks about the parliament attack convict Afzal Guru who was hanged and buried inside Tihar Jail.
In future, Shayan wants to get a job so that he can earn to sustain his passion for singing. “Once I start earning it will be easy for me to record more songs. Insha Allah I will try to do my bit for my mother land. At present it is really difficult to pay studios fees out of my pocket money. But you know Allah is the planner, he has kept something in store for me!”