Our beautiful valleys reverberate with ecstatic sounds of the drum and melodious voice of the pipe, while the hypnotic human yells echo, synchronized with the sounds of clapping and laughter, and we dance, celebrating this or that event. Quite a large number of people notice the three musicians, or more, that are producing these wonderful rhythms of sound. They play the instruments, we dance. But as the sounds of the music recede, the importance of these musicians also dwindles, unfortunately. For decades they have enhanced our happiness and we their suffering. Many among us consider them inferior, even if their art is the nectar of our happiness and their mastery of this art exemplary, unmatchable.
All rhetoric about the teachings of Islam and humanity come trembling down, as one looks at the plight of the thousands of musicians – by – inheritance in different parts of Gilgit – Baltistan and other parts of the country. Our contemporary and ancient societies have systematically discriminated against these artists, their families and, always, considered them as the other, the inferiors, practically, the creatures of a lesser god!
Such attitude towards the master musicians who have not only given us wonderful music but are also custodians of a language that is unique to them!!
The ancient and existing social systems of hatred, ridicule, neglect and discrimination directed at them have affected these fellow human beings to the extent that not only they refuse to share their language with rest of us, they also don’t communicate in the language of their ancestors, inside their homes. Seldom have groups of human beings suffered so much at the hands of their fellow human beings.
There has been a slight shift in attitudes, over the past decade. KADO deserves appreciation for starting the initiative that asked willing youngsters to train as traditional musicians.
Today, playing musical instruments is no more a hereditary profession. However, we need to reflect and see as to how much our attitude changed towards the master artists and what strategies need to be devised to make them dignified part of our social life?