Undergoes Change: young boys ruling the roost
Social roles for men and women are very clearly defined in Chitrali
culture. Although there is no leisure class in Chitral but Music is
purely for the male chunk of the society. This is a reason almost
every young or old man has a good music sense and dancing skills.
In past and at times today as well people associated with music as
a profession are usually looked down upon and often termed as Ďdomí.
Word dom is used in a derogatory manner. It has some pejorative
connotation used for people playing musical instruments mainly. The
irony is that singers and musicians are looked down upon whereas
dancers were glorified.
One has to be playing a role in the society therefore all of us do
not choose what we want in life especially during these adverse
economical times, people opt for professions with promising future.
So art and music become secondary options. We need to look at our
future and think what we will inherit in the next century. In case
of Chitral, music has played tremendous role in carrying history as
well as preserving language and culture. Folk singers used to sing
songs narrating historical accounts and these oral lores used to
transmit orally from one place to other. Chitrali history has
basically made its ways through oral tradition across generations
without a writing system and technology. And itís not wrong to say
that the importance of those artists is no lesser than a library.
Initially Chitrali music had indigenous instruments like sitar, daf,
damama etc, however, later on young musician introduced piano and
guitar. Fusion power can become extremely beneficial for cultural
promotion but only if done smartly. This concept of fusion is
somewhat new, some literate music students have done it beautifully
fostering creativity and leading it to new development. Itís
neither surpassing originality nor combining it in a way that shows
dominance of any of the cultures. Besides that some new songs with
Khowar lyrics amid Pashto music and to put Chitrali music out of
its misery the ridiculous videos are just icing on the cake. Itís
fine if they are doing it for a bit of banter but they should just
once consider if they are in the right genre of music here, at all?
New unrealistic young boys are trying to rule the roost with a
distorted version of Chitrali music and promoting it on social
media. I am pleased that Youtube is banned and reach of such videos
to wider audiences is prevented. On contrary many houses are
teaching their kids music or atleast introducing them to some form
of it. Moreover Chitrali youth from decent families are engaged in
receiving formal education of music from well-known art
Itís the time we recognize our musical heritage and patronize those
who kept it alive. Chitral is, after all, the land that has
unfortunately not produced many legends but few people are legends
in their own lifetimes and one of them is Afzal Miki . With his
juvenile expressions and classic style of playing sitar, he leaves
the audience enchanting and spell-bound. Glory to the people who
contributed immense creativity and inspiration to Chitrali music to
keep up with the old tradition of our region.
Anjuman-e-taraki Chitral with its intellectuals and cultural
veterans should take the lead in supporting helping and promoting
musicians as an important part of Chitrali culture. Itís a high
time that standards should be set in Chitrali music and new
aspirant urban musicians who are not exposed to Chitrali culture
soundly, should seek guidance from elderly people and work towards
preserving their classical heritage and bring new dimensions in
Chitrali music. Through some research they will surely be able to
put something together that doesnít sound too disastrous. Last but
not the least advice to young musicians, be original and take
inspiration from more real sources.
Benazir Mir Samad