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Monday, September 5, 2016

Interview of Kashmiri Student and Singer Ali Saffudin

I had watched 'In the Shade of Fallen Chinar'(which I've provided the link to at the end of this post),a movie on resistance in Kashmir based on the planks of culture and education a few days back and subsequently listened to 'Chol Hama Roshay' performed by artist-activist Ali Saffudin who is currently studying Mass Communication at Kashmir University.I immediately felt like asking him all the questions that I'd had in my mind till date about Kashmiri activists,especially those who are like us - the middle class,the upper middle class intellectuals who have taken up activism ; however in far more a radical manner than we can imagine (given the terrible,inhumane and brutal condition that continues to torment the people there).
Then again,they are students and extremely sensible hence.In fact,while doing this interview,I had a much sought out conversation which was more like interacting with the European (established) intellectuals or the activists - all of them,unlike the Indian sect of this category that is so snobbish,are really down to earth and easy to communicate with.I have had a beautiful experience asking the questions and also reading the answers subsequently.
Hope this draws the real pictures and draws in some sensibility.

1.How did you get introduced to music? Was it love at first sight?

 I've loved music from my childhood, but it was in my 10th standard when i started listening to rock music from '70s and '80s and i was blown away by the power it possessed. hearing every song was like reading a novel , every song was an experience. That is when i fell in love with the guitar and realised how much  powerful that instrument can be when used with right feel.

2.'Chol Hama Roshay Dal Sessions' clearly exhibits you as a brilliant artist.Is this the profession you are opting for?

Profession is something you earn money from, I've not earned money from my music, but as far as putting in efforts go I don't see that I expect the outcome in monetary terms. I am studying Mass Comm in Kashmir University that will help me on the professional front I hope.But music is what my life revolves around and I'll stick with it forever. I hope I find other decent means to earn money.

3.Your singing style seems to be inspired from the concept of hard rock at points.Who are your favourite artists in that field?

Rock and roll has been a school to me,listening to rock and roll is like educating myself, I've been inspired by all the various eras of rock music and the cultural impact it has had. The Beatles,Rolling Stones,Jimmy Hendrix,Pink Floyd,Queen,Black Sabbath,Bob Marley, Aerosmith,Bob Dylan,The Doors...these artists have written songs which matter, which have defined a generation, that always excited me , the craft of songwriting.  

4.In future,would you like to be versatile about what you want to sing? 

As far as influence goes the indie  music scene from Pakistan was also a huge influence, their stuff had the rock and roll spirit and indegenous feel as well. That's when I thought that your roots are important in your music and i started listening to a lot of Kashmiri music.One should know the sound of his  land that is essential.

5.What have you been studying academically?

After entering Kashmir University for my masters in mass communication I realised that my generation of Kashmiri kids could never evade the conflict.Kashmir is not an integral part of India.We were the nineties kids,raised in curfewed night and under brutal army suppression.That took a toll on every kid.The Kashmir conflict resonates in every Kashmiri's lifestyle.Every now and then we ended up staring a discussion about the conflict of Kashmir. When you have a consciousness and you belong to an oppressed state,resistance becomes a necessity.

6.So,from 'In The Shade of Fallen Chinar',we get to see how dynamic student resistance to the state can be.How are the students organising themselves throughout?

The way I look at music is,its an extension of ones personality and ideology. I write a song about resistance,a song against oppression,people of Kashmir connect to to that.It's a beautiful form of expression,it also serves as source of documentation.Right kind of music can provide impetus to the resistance and a catalyst for understanding all sorts of things like unity,community, culture and peace. 
The basic factor which induces the conflict is  that indian state dosent acknowledges the fact Kashmir is a disputed territory , the people of kashmir have been denied the right to self determination.

7. Politically (in the universal sense),what would you like to describe yourself as?

As far as political ideology goes I feel I don't restrict my mind and thoughts to a particular political framework,say a Marxist or a liberal or nationalist,then your ideology is restricted. You have to see the reality by yourself and asses for yourself  and base your political point of view on reality and truth.One should be a free thinker rather then labelling your mind with a certain brand of ideology.

8. What is your most favourite piece composed by you? (I love the composition of 'Tum Kitne Jawa Maro Ge')

I think of my compositions as my children, which are born through making love to music. That came a bit wierd(just for laugh).All my compositions are precious and cater to different feelings and moods and melodies. Some are meticulously crafted,some come like a blessing from above. Some compositions i want to resonate with rage,some i want to be soothing and peaceful.All my compositions are precious to me.

9. How difficult is life for activists? Do you fear anything might happen anytime?

If you think about fear only then you really experience fear. The joy of making music for a cause is so immense that I don't think about such repercussions.

10. We would really love you to keep on singing,given the fabulous artists who rests in you.Is there anything that you would like to talk about to the Gen Y the first chance you get?

Many people mistake the resistance as something which is driven by hate , which is not correct . The driving force for any form of resistance is love,  I love my motherland and i dont want to see it teared apart by turmoil and suppression . You should  try to understand and see that what a person is  standing  FOR rather then seeing what a person  stands AGAINST .

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  3. I love your singing style and now i love your opinion too...Such type of understanding in a singer is really a proud for kashmiri..

  4. W A I T. Kashmir is an integral part of India. Now you can go back and sing.

    1. How do I know that you are not the one who's lying,kid? :P

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  6. This is what every 90's born Kashmiri kid gone through ... Yeah it's obvious that Indian state would always be unknown to the fact that Kashmir isn't part of it as well as according to the history and scientific terminology it has a unique upbringing that does go to the Indian mainstream ... So what ever they lie about is not the truth at all...Ali Saffiudin is a shinning artist who really ignited the minds of young Kashmiris...

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