November 7, 2011

Shina music & resistance literature in Gilgit-Baltistan

The Terrorland Report

RESISTANCE literature and Shina language seem synonymous in Gilgit-Baltistan. This thing has greatly influenced other languages in the region especially Burushaski, Wakhi, Khowar and Balti. Thus it makes the people proud of Shina language no matter they live in Pakistan or any other part of the world.

Shina-speaking people or Shins are the primary victim of sectarian violence – a strategy Pakistani military establishment started in the 1980’s to punish the people of Gilgit-Baltistan for demanding constitutional rights.

Shina-speaking people make the majority of Gilgit, Diamer and Astore districts. There are over 500,000 Shina-speakers in Gilgit-Baltistan. A dialect of the language is also spoken in Kohistan district of Pakhtunkhawa province and Ladakh district in India.

"The Shina-speaking people in India are vanishing gradually and they are looking at their cultural Mecca, Gilgit-Baltistan," says an intellectual from Diamer. "But it's painful that Pakistan is still hesitating to accept us as its citizens constitutionally." 

Besides resistance poetry, Shina language has legendry poets like Rehmat Malangjan whose lovestory Yormos-Malangjan is like a local version of Romeo and Juliet. Among the living poets, Muhammad Amin Zia and Abdul Khaliq Taj are well known in the region as they are being published/broadcast for about three decades.

However, the echo of Jan Ali is unique in many ways. This famously illiterate-poet-singer-musician chides the educated-dishonest and sectarian-bent of mind people who have made Gilgit-Baltistan hostage to target-killers. Gilgit city is gradually being turned into another Karachi, locals fear. 

In a post on The Terrorland’s Facebook page on October 30, 2010, an Admin had requested: “Anyone who can translate this Shina language song (link) of peace and harmony into English, full or just main theme?!”

Fortunately, on December 16, 2010, intellectual Aziz Ali Dad’s amazing article, Jan Ali: A Subaltern Voice, appeared in a newspaper, and the non-Shina-speaking people were taken aback by the thoughts of the illiterate-poet.

Here is a glimpse of Jan Ali's resistance poetry: 

Why crows and dogs are speaking from the pulpit.
Neither I need your mosque, nor seek your hamam,
O querulous cleric, I reject you as my Imam.
Thereby, I reject your bribe of houris of paradise,
I am also fed up of an Islam that foments discord.

Lo! A glass of wine nullifies my prayer
And your fasting becomes valid
By eating butter of bribe.
For a cloak, you sell your hereafter
By illegally transferring a piece of land.

Tell me! Which among the six kalimas of yours I recite
You clerics have sown the seed of strife,

Our votes elevated you to become members,
Now gobble up the funds, you paupers.

Beware of speaking loudly; the time is spying on you
O people of Gilgit you never have the power
To determine the path of your destiny.
Alas! My beloved Gilgit
You have been given to alien hands.

Lo! What they have done to my beloved Gilgit,
Outsider elements get the peoples’ throat slit,
By pelting indigenous populace against each other.

Few days ago, on November 1, three innocent people were killed in capital city Gilgit; as usual, the security forces couldn’t do anything! “The locals think," says a reporter from Gilgit, "it's a handiwork of the ISI and other secret agencies which are trying to divert the attention of the people who have intensified their demands for a constitutional status to the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly and representation in the Pakistani Parliament."

People say this year, the officials 64th Independence Day was publicly observed as a "black day" without any announcement from any party. "Frustration among the youth is mounting high as they want to be a part of the mainstream Pakistan," says a student from Skardu, "the government is ready for a big political decision... but the military establishment seems a hurdle in its way." 

Anyway, here is a selection of Shina music, enjoy it along with the Eid celebrations:

1- Late Jahan Shah sings a romantic song in Chilas

2- Jan Ali sings his resistance poem during a public gathering in Gilgit

                       3- A tearful Sallahuddin Hasrat sings with audience in Ghizer district 

4- Hasrat's classical song still echos in the Karakorams - audio

5- Vanishing Shins of India sing for democracy in Kargil

Posts on Music Therapy of nations! 

  1. Pashto music can improve Af-Pak-US relations!
  2. Balti music can do what the bloody 'strategic assets' can't
  3. Wakhi music: don't doubt strength of bridge to China & Central Asia


  1. Gilgit bleeds amid unending violence

    PT Report

    Gilgit, November 9: While most of the people in GB were busy with Eid celebrations, the gun-totting terrorists did their bit to snatch some colours, by killing and injuring people on the streets of Gilgit city.

    Today, a person named Shabbir, son of Abdul Karim, was injured near the GBLA building by unknown assailants. The injured was shifted to Government hospital Kashore.

    Atif, 16, fainted after falling from a wall, while trying to dodge a bullet fired at him in Kashrote, on Monday, November 7.

    Atif also sustained some minor injuries after falling, while trying to save himself.

    On Sunday, November 6, unknown terrorist killed Karim, an employee of the Civil Aviation Authority, near the airport. He belonged to Domial locality of Gilgit.

    People have expressed disgust over the ongoing killing spree and demanded of the authorities to take strong action against the culprits.

    The police officials, on the other hand, blame the ordinary people for protecting criminals by not giving information about them to the police and other law enforcing agencies.

  2. shins in india are in GUREZ valley not in ladakh .a small community of shins lives in DRASS area of kargil