Wednesday Aug 04, 2021
Pakistani singer Shehzad Roy has paid a beautiful tribute to the children of Kashmir and Palestine through a heart-wrenching, but powerful song using a poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
The song is called 'Unn Ky Naam' and has been produced by Geo TV. It is dedicated to the children of Kashmir and Palestine and shows their suffering. It also sends a message of peace, love and stability.
"Will the children continue to die like this, and will we continue to be afraid?" Roy captioned a Twitter post with a video of his song. He addressed his caption to UNICEF Pakistan, UNODC Pakistan and UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The song comes ahead of the second anniversary of the revocation of Kashmir’s special status by the Modi government. You can listen to the full song here.
The Indian government revoked the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on August 5, 2019.
Pakistan observes August 5 as Youm-e-Istehsal or ‘Day of Exploitation’.
What was Shehzad Roy's inspiration?
The artist spoke about how the history of the poem spoke to him. He said he was told about how the poet was handcuffed and taken and how there was a voice against resistance. He said he was earlier not aware of the history behind the poem.
Roy said that what he found most interesting was the response from young people once this song went on air. He said there were several difficult words in the song that the youth don’t know the meaning of.
"Because the internet is available to everyone now and the words in this [song] are so difficult, I immediately got messages from young men and women after doing research [on these words] telling me about the history behind the poem," Roy told Geo.tv.
He also made a reference to a previous song of his 'Kya Darta Hai' , in which the line "Pehle bolne se darte thay, ab na bolein tou dar lagta hai [We used to be afraid of speaking, now we’re afraid of not speaking]" exhorts people to speak up.
Roy also made a short appearance on Geo News programme Capital Talk where he told host Muneeb Farooq that the interest by young people is something amazing and it made him happy that the song prompted youngsters to do their research and look up the original poem by Faiz and its history.
He thanked the Faiz Foundation and the poet's family for giving him permission to compose the poem again.
Roy told Geo.tv that the youth doesn't always understand poetry [by Faiz] and more people should maybe compose these classics as it makes young people curious to find out its meaning.
The purpose of making the song, he said, was to highlight how all kinds of resistance is being suppressed across the world. He said he focused on children because children get stuck in between fights among adults and no one is left to save them.
"Children don't have the understanding to save themselves. We need to look at wherever children are in conflict and are displaced," he said, adding that children are helpless and can't fight to save themselves.
Artist and art educator Salima Hashmi, who is Faiz Ahmed Faiz's daughter, called the song a "very good effort".
"A poets kalaam is always relevant. A good poem can always lend its messages to issues in our own time," Hashmi told Geo.tv.
She said Faiz's poem was written very much about Pakistan and what was happening at the time and is unfortunately, still happening.
Hashmi said Roy's song reminds people that they need to look at human rights violations everywhere.
Pakistani artists, politicians, media professionals and several other Twitter users retweeted Roy's song, highlighting how beautiful it was.