PESHAWAR: Youngsters in Kurram have seen their share of chaos after growing up in a virtual war zone. Now, through music, they have a chance to appreciate serenity.
Imtiaz Hussain, a 27-year-old from Boghaki village in Parachinar, set up the first music academy in the history of the tribal district. Hussain, the son of an artist, had a fondness for music and singing since childhood and began to take a greater interest in local Pashto music styles at the age of 11. Since 2013, he has been trained in Parachinar by famous artist and rubab expert Ustad Jabar.
After mastering the rubab, Hussain also received training on the harmonium in Sialkot while also travelling to Rawalpindi further honing his skills on the rubab with music teachers in Rawalpindi. He learnt about the basics of music, rhythm and melody from Hyderabad. Now, after travelling the country for six years to learn about music, he has turned into a teacher and started a music academy in Parachinar.
Last August, Hussain began organising gatherings on the use of musical instruments in a room in Parachinar Bazar. He was surprised to see the interest of his fellow tribesmen in music, which he said was proof that at the end of the day, we are all just peace-loving people who want to see and hear the tranquility that only music can bring to the world.
Speaking with The Express Tribune, Hussain shared that as a child, it was difficult to even step outside his home due to the tense security situation, but today, he is in a position to open up a music academy, where 29 regular students have already enrolled in the first few months.
“These students are learning to play the harmonium, rubab, and flute at my small academy,” he said while adding that the student body includes youth from Parachinar and several other tribal districts. “People mostly take a keen interest in the flute and rubab,” he shared.
He said even a few FC officials have been attending the academy to learn music. He said the admission fee for enrollment is Rs5,000 and Rs1,000 is the monthly fee, adding that he kept these low to ensure that – especially given the financial condition of most local residents – youngsters can learn music by paying a minimal fee.
Hussain also said that one can learn the basics of playing the rubab with as little as 20 hours of practice, but it takes two to three years to turn into of practising for four hours a day to become a good rubab player.
Imtiaz shared that a proper class is arranged for the youngsters enrolling into the academy. Music education is imparted in Pashtu, Urdu and English where the students are educated on melody.
“I was fond of music since childhood hence I started the music academy. I wanted to establish a full-fledged music school, but I can’t afford it. With support from the government, however, a proper school for training in music can be opened,” he added.
“I hope that a small school can also be opened in Kurram district to teach people about music,” he said while explaining that Sufi music brings peace to the heart. “We have to shift towards new beginnings after the eradication of terrorism and militarism in our area. Through music, we can disseminate a message of peace to the world,” the artist opined.