Kashmiri youth reinvent Ladishah to preserve ancient storytelling technique

Ladishah, a genre of music that tells the story of Jammu and Kashmir, is slowly and steadily dying. See how some youngsters are re-inventing the age-old musical storytelling technique to preserve Kashmir’s age-old culture. Since the 18th century, Ladishah is a genre of storytelling music from Jammu and Kashmir that often focused on copying songs or folktales sung by medieval European entertainers.

Ladishah is a storytelling musical genre from Jammu and Kashmir that often focused on copying songs or folktales.  (ANI photo)
Ladishah is a storytelling musical genre from Jammu and Kashmir that often focused on copying songs or folktales. (ANI photo)

Pheran, Ladishahs in white trousers and white turbans – a group of storytellers from Kashmir usually sang satires to express sorrow or joy through their musical instruments. Ladishah was supported by playing with small rings on iron tongs. Recently, with the development of new technology, the art of telling stories is disappearing. However, some young people want to preserve Kashmir’s dying legacy.

Tanveer Ahmad Bhat aka Tanveer Fighter, 22-year-old Ladishah has been appreciating this spectacular art form for decades. Tanveer says, “I have been presenting Ladishah for more than 11 years. Ladishah was confined to television and radio. It was one of the most popular art forms that people loved. Before there was no internet or social media, people used to enjoy Ladishah.

Bhat hails from Vathura area located in Chadura block of Budgam district in central Kashmir. He says that he is doing Ladishah not only to survive but also to preserve the heritage of Kashmir. “Ladishah is almost on the verge of extinction and I am doing this not only for my survival but to preserve the legacy of Kashmir,” Bhat said. In addition to this, his father is also doing a large part of the livelihood of Ladishah, he said.

“My 58-year-old father is still singing Ladishah skits to earn the family’s main livelihood,” he said. “Many people were associated with Ladishah in our locality, but it is few and far between and most of them have left the profession and chosen other ways to earn a living. I am the only youth in our locality who is still performing. Ladishah. I am alive only because I write and recite Ladishah. ,” he added.

Ladishah, rich in humor and sarcasm, was very popular among the locals of Kashmir. However, with the use of new technology, art distortion is in danger of disappearing. Apart from Bhat, Kashmiri singer Omar Nazir has also come forward to save the almost extinct Kashmiri culture of Ladishah. Nazir has recently sung a song in which he has made a fusion of modern rap and Ladishah. His main motive for singing this kind of song was to preserve the centuries old disappearing culture of Kashmir.

The 30-year-old said, “People were getting bored listening to Ladishah songs traditionally but I tried to give it a new twist by rapping in a modern style.” “However, the purpose of my singing Ladishah was to convey a message. A message to the people of Kashmir that we need to preserve and continue the legacy.” He added, ‘So far, more than two lakh people have liked my Ladishah song on YouTube.

Thus, by incorporating new technologies, Nazir contributed to preserving the heritage. Nazir further says that many people have chosen music as a profession and most of them want to preserve the beautiful heritage of Kashmir. According to noted Kashmiri poet and historian Zarif Ahmad Zarif, “A person performing Ladishah must have a good grasp of poetry, play with words and have a good knowledge of the poetic parameters of Ladishah.”

“Until the 1990s, there were folk artists who went from village to village to express their pain and suffering, including a group, who performed skits known as Bhandpathar and entertained the local rulers. the time In between skits or plays, a lady Shah would come out to present his solo performance,” said Zarif.

Additionally, Zarif said, “the Ladishahs would tell the king their problems in a humorous way without angering the king.” Ladishah mastered the art of communicating with people in a humorous and sarcastic manner. Poets and historians also said that Ladishah was an important part of Vandipathar.

Zarif said, “During harvest season, Ladishah used to collect the food and grain given to them by the farmers of the community which was the only source of revenue for their livelihood.” According to Zarif, Ladishah used to play music with an instrument called ‘dehra’.

This story is published from the Wire Agency feed without modification to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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