The Kashmiri singer-songwriter Rahi Sayed is quite overwhelmed by the response to his new single “Sarmast“. He says, coming from a place like Kashmir, he feels a certain responsibility to represent the youth of the state in the right manner.
“I absolutely feel the responsibility to represent the youth of Kashmir in the mainstream. We need more representation. I live in Srinagar but my father is originally from Pulwama, the place where the attack happened (in 2019). When I am interviewed just after the release of the song, people find it hard to believe that a singer-songwriter is coming from Pulwama, a place that they looked at as a ‘bombed place’. But Pulwama is not that. Our Kashmir is beautiful. So, I think it is a big responsibility on me to show Kashmir the way it is, not the way it is shown,” Rahi told IANS.
He added: “Every time when tourists come to Kashmir, they usually say that ‘we have heard so much (of the negativity and violence) about Kashmir but this is nothing like that’. My friends keep asking me if it is safe to visit Kashmir and I keep telling them that of course it is. We are very hospitable people. We even open our doors to strangers and show our hospitality. I want people to know this side of the reality too.”
“Sarmast” is written in the tribal language of Garo and Rahi has composed it besides singing the song. According to the artiste, one of his mentors, Shubhoshekhar Bhattacharjee, encouraged him to do the collaboration that encapsulates the folk culture of Meghalaya and Sufism into one.
“As a singer, I have the gift of music and poetry that Allah has given me. I want to reach out to people all over with my music,” mentioned the singer.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)