“If they are angry about some issues, they should be more constructive in going about it. Just blaming India for what’s happening here isn’t going to help. Their protest rap is not going to solve the problem of Kashmir.” says DJ Aki to Al Jazeera. Agreed protest raps will not help the problem of Kashmir but at least they inspire and remind people of the history of the resistance.
Let me give you a brief description of Ather Iqbal Mir urf DJ Aki. A self-proclaimed popular DJ of Kashmir (wait we don’t have nightclubs in Kashmir), he claims to have been popular in Delhi Nightclub circuits where he has a fan following. About his name Aki, is inspired from DJ Aqueel Ali. He has been looking for platforms from years in Kashmir to show off his skills and to have a gig. Maybe to collect funds to get proper equipment from his current laptop and few software (hopefully not pirated). He was born and raised in Meerut and then he returns to Kashmir. He gets a gig on a Fashion Show. To his disgust, people talked about the clothes not his music spin offs.
He was trying hard to get a place at a concert of a popular underground band in Kashmir. To just get a platform to show his skills. But the band leader denied him. When people who are busy in nightclubs and with booze all around, talk about Kashmir as a problem. Disappoints me that they failed in Kashmir history as usual.
Rap in Kashmir is a new-age thing. Renegade probably was the first rapper to come out on the scene before 2010. His rap was political and talked about the situation in Kashmir. Rap wasn’t very famous among Kashmiris. The 2010 uprising brought MC Kash with his immensely popular and inspiring song called ‘ I Protest’. I Protest captured the sentiment and the heart of the youth which was born during the armed rebellion in the 1990s. It described the scenes of blood splattered on roads, of a village gangraped by Indian Forces; of the tormented hearts and brooding sentiments of freedom in the youth.
While, DJ Aki who is the main organiser of the ‘Rap Battle’ in Srinagar has asked the political rappers to stay away from the event as to make this event ‘non-political’. It is the same way, like the Harud Literary Festival was going to be ‘non-political’. In my opinion, I wonder how can one turn a blind eye towards unmarked graves and talk about love stories.
The most popular rapper of Kashmir “MC Kash” will not be a part of this event. His songs are more of stories than rap. His story telling abilities has won him a lot of fans. One shouldn’t wonder, if you see his songs in the playlist of an older man. He is political as one should be. If you are a Kashmiri, you are born with sentiments.
Maybe some get older and when they move out of the valley, the seem to forget their roots. So for them Kashmir is not a problem and protesters are stupid. Like the constant battles of truth against the falsehood, we have a new battle in Kashmir coming up, those who have made occupation a part of their lives and those who are fighting against it. For the latter status quo is not an option but a curse which has to be broken.
Coming towards Rap. It is not all about golden chains around necks, talking about womanly features, glorifying ghettos and dancing. It’s a culture. As 2Pac believed to be the greatest rapper of all time quotes “And the raps that I’m rappin to my community shouldn’t be filled with rage? They shouldn’t be filled with same atrocities that they gave me? The media they don’t talk about it, so in my raps I have to talk about it, and it seems foreign because there’s no one else talking about it.”
“And now you got people wondering whether Rap in Kashmir is a form of protest or not. Propaganda, that’s what it is” says a popular artist about the tone of the article. I don’t know why they are questioning this medium. In struggles all around the world, rappers have written songs to inspire the people. That’s not propaganda. But there are always people who ride on the wave of declaring (ponsored and enforced) ‘normalcy’ in Kashmir
DJ Aki has brought his own brand of a rapper who claims “I love India. It is my motherland.” This just threw off my seat. How ignorant can one musician be? Hasn’t he seen blood splattered on the streets of Kashmir or was he too busy playing video games?
I wish him the best so that he gets funds for his new equipment and manages to meet Aqueel Ali his Idol as his twitter bio describes.
Yes, these people are found in Coffee shops talking to foreign journalists. No surprises, you have headlines like “Sorry, Kashmir is happy”.
“They will do their best to manipulate & distort every sane medium of expression out here. It’s just like the word ‘Peace'” quotes a popular rapper of Kashmir.
Here is the answer to them, listen in to the words of real rappers of Kashmir.
Updates: The JK Police is believed to be sponsoring the event. It is also learned that DJ Aki tried to invite a popular pro-resistance rapper as a judge.