Fazl-u-Rahman Wahdat

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

Fazl-u-Rahman Wahdat is a famous Pashto folk singer from the south of Afghanistan. He is a board member of Afghanistan Music Union, and has been working for Radio Television Afghanistan since 1978.

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In this interview Fazl-u-Rahman Wahdat speaks about his personal experiences with music censorship: about the problems which a singer faces when a regime which he has been praising suddenly changes and the singer is blamed. He also talks about the death threat which he received in 1979.


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Video interview duration: 2:40 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.


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Click to read more about music censorship in Afghanistan

Transcription of the video interview

“My name is Fazl-u-Rahman – and my surname is Wahdat. I have been working in the field of music for the last 30 years. I am a singer myself, and I have been working for Radio Television Afghanistan since 1978.

In this field I have faced a lot of problems. The Khalg Party forced me to sing a song against the Parcham Party. I was forced to sing the lyrics at several functions, and they encouraged me very much for that. Later on, when the Parcham Party took power (in December 1979) I received death threats because I had been singing that song. At that time I was a soldier, and I was guarding in front of the police department when an officer came to me and warned me:

‘You will be arrested! You will be put in prison, maybe within two or three days!’

Afterwards he gave me this information, I escaped to Pakistan. I stayed in Pakistan four days, but I felt I was in the same situation there, and I could not survive there, so I came back to my country.

I faced several problems in the country, but I had some friends who helped to protect me and my life was saved. For example, while sitting in a bus I heard with my own ears some people saying that I had probably been killed because of the song I had sung for the previous regime. So I faced that kind of problems.

I don’t remember the lyrics because in themselves the lyrics were a kind of document for the accusations against me. I destroyed both the melodies and the lyrics. I even destroyed them from my own memory, so I could not be forced to sing them again. So, after that time, I eventually decided to sing free songs about our country and our people – not in favour of any particular government, power, or individual.”

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

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