Months After All-girl Rock Band Was Silenced, Music Returns To Srinagar

Months After All-girl Rock Band Was Silenced, Music Returns To Srinagar

15 June 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Majid Jahangir

Srinagar: Months after the Valley’s only all-girl band ‘Pragash’ was silenced by threats, the banks of the Dal Lake here were again abuzz with the musical performances of young Kashmiris today. Six young girls with an equal number of boys performed at the grand finale of ‘Choona Hai Aasman’, a music talent show, organised by the police at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) on the banks of the lake. Two young girls from Srinagar city, Masrat Aziz and Urooj Javaid, were especially appreciated for their performances. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Union Minister Farooq Abdullah and top civil and police officers were present at the function. Apart from top politicians and officers, musical bigwigs from Bollywood Annu Malik, Sadhna Sargam and Ashok Thakeria, producer of movies Dil, Mohabbatein and Mann, were present on the occasion. Noted Kashmiri singer Waheed Jeelani was also among the panelists with the Bollywood bigwigs. Nearly one lakh children, around 50 per cent of whom were girls, took part in the event which was held at various levels in the state. Twelve participants had made it to the finals. The talent show was first organised in 2010-11 with the aim to provide a platform and direction to the untapped talent of youth in the state. The event gained immense success and popularity among the budding singers. The previous grand finales of the show were held in Jammu. Last year, three class X Kashmiri students - vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir, drummer Farah Deeba and guitarist Aneeka Khalid - had formed a band, 'Pragash', and performed in December at the annual 'Battle of the Bands' competition in Srinagar. They won the award for the best performance in their first public appearance. However, Facebook threats and abuses followed by the controversial decree issued by Kashmir’s chief priest Mufti Bashiruddin in January caused the band to split.