Kashmiri music and songs have a long history, since ages they have been profound part of Kashmiri culture . As a result, the Valley has seen a galaxy of great singers and artists, upholding the great tradition of Kashmiri folk, poetry and music. With each decade that has passed most of the Kashmiri people especially aged from 30 and above would murmur the “Kasher beath” (Kashmiri songs) of their times, of which Kashmiri folklores and Bandpather(folk theatre) hold an important place. The young were also a part but not as enthusiastically as their old ones. However, in the first decade of the 21st century, the canvas of the music landscape among youth got changed. There is no doubt that good music was already available to the audience but it appealed less to the youth of Kashmir and thus found their lesser engagement.
The reasons why youth seemed to be less engaged included the generational gap, the cliche themes, and the unappealing musical arrangement which ultimately disconnected youth from our rich musical heritage for a long duration.However as youth of Kashmir, we owe a responsibility to protect and promote our rich cultural legacy by all means and music and songs being two of them, because for any community or any specific group to survive, it needs the protection of its cultural assets. Since youth of any community or group are future builders and flag bearers of it, therefore our shoulders should be ready to hold this responsibility.
On a positive side however it was found that, since last ten years that Kashmiri music has found its space and liking among majority of the youth. It would be not an exaggeration to say that the emerging Kashmiri musicians and singers owe much of the credit for this revival of Kashmiri songs and music among the youth. They used modern musical arrangements to give “modern” tinge to the already existing Kashmiri songs or entirely produced songs with new chords, notes and melodies. It has been noticed that, by younger boys and girls taking up Kashmiri music as a passion has resulted in inspiring many other boys and girls from the same age group by being youth icons to them on social media and elsewhere. Social media has been playing extremely important role as it is providing diverse audience and new opportunities every now and then.
Now we can see that there is shift in the way our youth feel connected to the Kashmiri musical tradition. Previously felt inferiority complex while being attached to Kashmiri music and songs is being replaced by a sense of dignity in being a Kashmiri singer or musician in every formal and informal social setting.
Concluding this by hoping that without any doubt we all want to survive and carry our wonderful cultural legacy forward, and for that we need to protect and promote our positive and rich cultural assets.
BA(H), Political Science, 3rd year, Miranda House, DU.