India: Band in Kashmir decides to dissolve after threats


22 February 2013


Band in Kashmir decides to dissolve after threats


Photo: Courtesy of News Bharati

The band Pragaash from Kashmir has decided to dissolve after only one concert. The reason is a fatwa issued by an imam, as well as harassment and rape threats on social media.

The members of Pragaash made a quick end to their music career when the government-appointed imam Mufti Ahmad Bashiruddin called the band ‘obscene’ and issued a fatwa. The imam believes that “music is bad for society and that such behavior is a catalyst for the growing number of attacks in India.”

In addition, a bullying campaign hung out the girls in the band as prostitutes, reported Sky News.

Case being investigated

As a consequence, one of the band members fled to another city. The band members are all teenagers, who attend school. The band consisted of singer and guitarist Noma Nazir, and bassist and drummer Farah Deeba and Aneeqa Khalid, and performed in public for the first time in December 2012 in Srinagar, Kashmir, at a band competition, where they finished third.

“Initially, the girls decided to stop with live performances and instead concentrate on recording an album to be distributed online. But after the fatwa (death threat) from mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad, the band decided to give up music entirely, the band’s manager, Adnan Mattoo, said.

Kashmir region’s top political figure, Omar Abdullah, allegedly wrote on Twitter that the police will investigate the case and that “these talented girls have not let themselves be forced into silence by a handful of idiots.”

Conflict and horror in the region
Kashmir has a long-standing tradition of women making music, wrote The Guardian. The area had once been known for its cultural tolerance, but through the 1990s and the following decade have experienced horrors, where thousands of people have been killed.

In 1947, Kashmir was divided between India and Pakistan after the two respective countries gained independence from Britain. The situation in Kashmir is equally complicated. According to Islamic pratitioners in Kashmir, the lifestyle of young people influenced by Westerners is incompatible with Muslim beliefs.


The Guardian – 5 February 2013:
Kashmir’s first all-female rock group disband following threats
Pragaash quit three months after forming, pointing to fatwa from cleric and local opinion in India’s only majority Muslim state. By Jason Burke in Delhi

Times of India – 5 February 2013:
Exclusive: All-girl band ‘Pragaash’ gives in
As the J&K government does not take any action against the ban of the all-girl band by Grand Mufti, a member of the band finally reveals that the band ‘Pragaash’ is forced to quit. – 6 Februar 2013:
Fatwa utstedt mot rockeband
“Pragaash, det første rockebandet fra Kashmir kun bestående av jenter, har måttet slutte med musikk etter trusler og trakassering.” By Ali R. S. Pour + 22 comments

The Indian Express – 26 December 2012:
Rock from the Valley
Kashmir gets its first all-girl rock band, Pragaash, meaning ‘from darkness to light’.

The Kashmir Walla – 1 February 2013:
After criticism, Kashmirs girls rock band quits

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