SRINAGAR (TIP): The musical journey ofKashmir’s first and only all-girl rock band hascome to an abrupt end after an online hate buzz.The brainchild of three teenagers from theValley, ‘Pragaash’ — a Kashmiri word meaning‘from darkness to light’ — arrived on the musicscene like a whiff of fresh air in a state plaguedby violence for the last two decades. The 16-years-old made their first and last publicperformance at the ‘Battle of Bands’ here lastDecember where they gave bands that mostlycomprise of boys a run for their money.But days after their debut, the band decided tocall it quits.
The reason: a vile barrage ofabuses and hate messages about them and theirfamilies on the Internet, strong enough to forcethe young teen into hiding and abandoning theirdream.One of the girls, who talked to The Tribune onthe condition that she would not be named, saidthe band had “ended”, but was reluctant to givereasons for the decision. “We have closed. It justended… we had to hear so much from societythat is why… I don’t want to tell anyone thereason,” she said.
The girl’s mother said she cried through thenight after reading comments about the band ona social networking site. “The girls’ pictureswere uploaded on a Facebook page and opinionswere sought on whether making a band waswrong or right for our girls.Some people wrote that the girls’ families hadno food, which is why they were out to earn.After reading the comments, my daughter gotvery upset and cried all night. She decided notto do it again,” said the girl’s mother, addingthat the family tried to talk her out of herdecision.
According to the girl’s mother, someposts appreciated the band; others didn’t. “Ourreligion does not allow this, our society doesn’tallow this,” she said. ‘Pragaash’ was a milestonein Kashmir’s music history for being the firstrock band where the guitarist, drummer andvocalist were all girls. Women have enjoyedsuccess in Kashmir singing folk songs, mysticpoetry and romantic songs, but what set‘Pragaash’ apart was its genre.Band guitarist Aneeka Khalid, however, saidthe band had not been disbanded.