Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Singing girls screamed at into silence

Three 16-year-olds who got together to sing in Kashmir  have been forced to stop singing. After their first public concert where they got the third prize.

A fatwa was issued against them by the 'Grand Mufti'.

We were told that it was because singing is 'Unislamic'. They were 'advised' to sing to themselves, at home.
Then we got to hear that 31 bands played at the concert, but no fatwa was issued against them.

The reason why this 3 member band attracted the wrath of the Grand Mufti was because they were girls.
So the argument that singing is unislamic falls flat.

Then we were told it is because they were a 'rock band', a Western influence in the pristine land of Kashmir. Please forget the fact that the land has for long been ravaged by the deadly terrorists from across the border who kill innocents in the name of holy war. But we have yet to hear religious leaders issue fatwas against these men who kill and maim. It seems some among these religious men believe that it is better to hold a gun than a guitar. But only if the hands that hold the guitar are those of a woman. For the many male bands who played at the concert, had the guitar. So, even the argument of the 'Western influence' falls flat. The influence cannot be 'good' for men, and 'lethal' for women!

Then on Arnab Goswami's show a self-style leader proclaimed, "They were dancing."

"They were showing body parts," said another of these worthies. 

Surely, they were standing and singing. They might have taken a few steps.  So did the male singers of other bands. If  faces and hands are exposed body parts, then yes, they could be held guilty. But so were the men.

In reality, the protest happened because they were girls and the society has double standards for women 'enjoying' themselves, taking part in anything that soothes the senses, brings about a sense of joy or exhiliration. The same self-style leaders will not protest if these girls were to pick up rifles, or even stones.

One veiled woman who spat words of hate on Arnab's TV show called for a boycott of the girls' families. It made me wonder was she envious of them - of their youth, their talent or the fact that their 'very Islamic families' were supporting them?

This veiled woman and the many men who have raised their voices against the all-girl band wished to silence the teenagers. And they did. That is the saddest part. The girls have decided to stop singing. That a few very vocal elements can tell us how to lead our lives, how to dress and how to behave is very scary.

And what a shame that instead of nuturing and encouraging talent, we silence it into oblivion.

But I also learnt that the youth of state took out a protest march. That gives some hope. That they are willing to speak up. But it seems no one has the guts to take on the Mufti.

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