Aziz Ghaznawi

Farhad DaryaAiab Gul DeishadAziz GhaznawiBaktash KamranFazl-u-Rahman WahdatGhazal AhmadiNairezSafdar TawakoliSahar AfarinZhakfar HussainiClick to go to main page of 'The cage is singing'


Aziz Ghaznawi



Aziz Ghaznawi is an authority on music administration in Afghanistan.

Aziz Ghaznawi
is also a singer, and his songs have been broadcasted on air since 1965. He was employed by Radio Afghanistan in 1968 where, during a period, he was head of the music production department.



Click on photo two times to start the video.

In this interview Aziz Ghaznawi is talking about music censorship in Afghanistan in different periods, starting from 1969, and how music was censored within Radio Television Afghanistan.

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Video interview duration: 3:19 minutes.

The interview was prepared and edited by Samay Hamed in Kabul in Afghanistan in 2006-2008. Post-editing by Mik Aidt/Freemuse.
Signature music: Safdar Tawakoli.


Click to listen to the audio track from this videoTo download: Right-click and choose 'Save Target As'

Click to read more about music censorship in Afghanistan



Transcription of the video interview

“Hello. My name is Aziz, and my family name is Ghaznawi. I am one of the older generation of singers in Afghanistan.

Censorship has always existed in Afghanistan. There was some censorship in the years 1969… 1970…
Some songs were censored for the quality of the melody… and also for low quality recording tapes, which were not good for broadcasting.
Mr Madadi was the general director for the archive department then. Songs which have been marked with crosses by him – the censorship sign – can still be found in the Radio Afghanistan archive.
Then, lyrics should be approved by Mr Tahuri. He either put crosses if it was not suitable for broadcast, or he changed the wording.
In Dawood Khan’s period (1973–1978) which came after a coup, the artists began to sing songs with new messages. Like Mr Zaland whosang:

‘Congratulations, the republic Afghan regime!’And also Mr Zahir Howaida…

‘I am proud of the fist which breaks the head of those in power
Breaks the hand which breaks the arm of the weakest ones’

This song was broadcasted 15–20 times a day from Radio Afghanistan. There was no tv station in Afghanistan at that time… It was in 1977.
Then, when they came to power in 1978 this song was broadcasted again…


Noor Mohamad Taraki. This song was recycled, and broadcasted several times daily. But when Hafiz–u–Llah Amin came to power (in1979) this song was completely banned and marked with the censorship cross. There should not be any song which opposed their policy. Their policy had to be supported. For example:

‘The Khalgi regime is acceptable in all parts of Afghanistan’

They broadcasted songs about the Khalg Party …and Howida’s song was banned. Banned and wasn’t broadcasted – up til this very day.

In the period of the Mujahidin (from 1992) when Ustad Rabani was the president they had another kind of censorship. If a song contained the words ‘wine’, or ‘love’ or was about ‘sweetheart’s eyes’ or ‘ringlet’, then they didn’t allow it.
Even showing the face of the musician, and also the music instruments was not allowed. For instance showing a music master with his orchestra. Like Ustad Sarahang’s picture… with tabla, delroba, sarang, tampura, and other musical instruments. They said that the tabla, harmonium, and the face of Ustad Sarahang should not be shown, and they censored that.”

This interview is a part of the Freemuse Special Report, ‘The cage is singing’


This is a music video with a song by Aziz Ghznawi on YouTube:


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