At the stroke of midnight today, a beautiful flute melody, Chayn ki Bansuri, will be heard across the city.
All radio stations will be playing the four-minute tune along with drivers, who will be rolling down their windows and blaring it from their speakers. A group of volunteers will also be making rounds of the streets of Karachi. For these few moments, there will be peace, or at least an illusion of peace, in the city.
Chayn ki Bansuri was artist Durriya Kazi’s idea that became part of the ongoing campaign, Pursukoon Karachi, which is Koel Gallery’s initiative to use various art forms to spread peace in the city. Kazi hoped that the soothing music will bring few moments of peace to the people who live with fear in the city where violence is rampant.
“The situation is bad here [Karachi], and it would be good to have a few seconds of peace by listening to the music,” she told The Express Tribune. The idea came to Kazi one night when she heard the watchman in her apartment listening to a flute melody on the radio all the way from her fourth-floor apartment. “It brought so much peace,” she smiled as she recalled.
The artist admitted she’s an optimist. “Art work won’t change things around in the city but it can definitely change the way things are looked at,” she hoped. “A majority of Pakistanis are peace-loving.”
This is the first time that Kazi is using music as a medium to spread peace. For her, the composition by flute player Muzaffer Hussain is “simple, beautiful and full of yearning”.
All those residents of Karachi who wish to participate in the campaign can download the tune from their page and play it at midnight today or else tune into any radio station. Kazi hoped that the project will get a good response and, if it does, it will be played frequently in the future.
Some Pakistanis settled in America, Canada and Australia will also be playing the music, boasted Kazi. “The night is the best time to play the tune because it is the time to unwind.”
Hussain, who has been playing the flute for the last 24 years, is also excited for tonight as his composition will be played everywhere in the city. “It is the first time my music will play on the radio,” he said. “If it helps comfort people and relieve them of their tensions and stress, my aim will be fulfilled.”
Volunteers associated with the campaign spent the last day (Friday) distributing fliers in buses in various neighbourhoods of the city and wooing people to listen to the music. “We have reached out to people in all towns of the city,” said Abdullah Qamar of the Dhaba Art Movement, who is one of the volunteers. Tonight, him and his friends will spread across different food streets in the city and play the music from their cars.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2013.