Srinagar: A song, released in Pakistan on 14 November, describing “atrocities” in Kashmir Valley and emphasising Pakistan’s claim to the territory, has caused controversy, the BBC reported on Monday.
The Kashmir Anthem Song is dedicated to popular militant commander of the Valley Burhan Wani, whose death in July sparked the worst violence the region has seen for years, the report said.
It begins with a voice-over by producer Omar Ahsan, who vows that this land (referring to Pakistan) “will ensure that Kashmir’s struggle (for freedom) shall continue,” the BBC report said.
“We wanted to reach out especially to the younger generation who connect with new music and don’t go for old, traditional things. This music style has folk tunes that evoke pain and grief in a way that will appeal to the younger generation. There is melody, romance and pop,” Ahsan told the BBC.
He claimed that within 48 hours of its release, the anthem received more than 20,000 views and 1,000 shares, the report added.
The song has received a lot of attention in the Pakistani media. It features singers Ali Azmat, Umair Jaswal and Alycia Dias. Several Pakistani artists refused to sing on the track, fearing a backlash from their Indian fans. One of the singers, Umair Jaswal, claims he has lost at least 10,000 fans from “across the border” on his Facebook page after posting news about the song, the report said.
But he insists the “anthem” is not anti-Indian in its content, the report added.
“We have a humanitarian issue going on in Kashmir,” he told Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune last month. “It’s time we put the focus back on Kashmir.
It’s unsurprising that the anthem might have upset some Indians.”
“Kashmir, which is also Pakistan, this paradise on earth, this valley, now has freedom as its destiny,” the chorus goes.
Wani appears in the anthem’s video in stills that show thousands attending his funeral procession.
The Indian government considered Wani a terrorist, but for many Kashmiris he represented the spirit and political aspirations of a new generation, the report said.
“We expected the civil society in India and the country’s music fraternity to make a documentary or a song about the plight of the Kashmiris,” the BBC quoted Ahsan to have said.
There are now plans to shoot a film for the anthem out of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the report added.
There has been no significant reaction yet from India. Perhaps its pop stars are huddled in a studio planning a ballad of their own, the report said.