After Nearly 30 Years In Exile, This Kashmiri Singer Has A Hit Song Of The Summer


“I used to sing in the open fields of Kashmir, with my neighbours,” Mir recalls by phone from Muzaffarabad, the city in northeast Pakistan where he now lives. Mir fondly recalls performing at school assemblies as a child, and at local wheat-sowing ceremonies in Kashmir. “But I was forced to run away from my homeland, when the situation deteriorated,” he says.

As a migrant in Pakistan, Mir had to give up singing, and began working as a textile embroiderer, making intricate Kashmiri needlework designs for clothes, tablecloths and curtains. (It’s still his primary job.) But after a few years in the country his love of singing was rekindled, when a Pakistani neighbor heard about Mir’s talent and hired him to sing at a family wedding. The job snowballed into more gigs and eventually leading to regular appearances on Radio Pakistan.

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Kashmir has been a long dispute between India and Pakistan. Given both these countries are nuclear powers and considering Donald Trump effect on international affairs, any escalation in conflict might be hazardous.

For now, with India and Pakistan at loggerheads, another flashpoint and test of wills might be avoided, since there is no need for anti-India groups and their backers in Pakistan to block improved relations. Irony is, however, an insufficient basis for stability when emotions are so raw and when Kashmiri opposition to Indian rule is so intense. Sooner or later, there will be another strike against India originating from Pakistan. The question will then become whether pieces other than pawns along the Kashmir divide are moved on the chessboard.

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Michael Krepon — Arms Control Wonk

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