We may have been cheering about the performance of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan at the Nobel Prize Ceremony but now the Pashto music legend Sardar Ali Takkar has also given us a reason to own the ceremony.
Takkar, who hails from the same province as Malala Yousafzai will be performing Ta Bibi Sheerina Ye on the first day of the ceremony, a song which he made as a tribute to Malala’s bravery after she was attacked by the Taliban.
On the second day, Takkar will perform the famous poem by Ghani Khan, A zama watan, in which Ghani Khan expressed his love for the country.
“This is the moment of pride and honour that a Pakistani and a Pashtun singer will perform at the Nobel Prize award ceremony,” Takkar told The Express Tribune.
“I will be performing Pashto songs for all the Pakistani girls, the language does not matter because the message is to get well educated and be a part of a larger movement towards peace,” said Takkar.
Takkar is one of the most popular names of Pashto music who is particularly known for converting many of Ghani Khan’s melodies into soothing musical compositions.
In the late 2000’s, he was amongst the likes of Harron Bacha, musicians who had to flee their country after receiving death threats from the Taliban. These days Takkar is based in Washington DC and works as a music producer for Voice of America Radio Deewa.
The music composition of both songs he would performed there were also made by Takkar himself in his studio, he has made for himself in the USA.
Takkar had initially made Ta Bibi Sheerina Ye for a show of the same name that aired on Voice of America Radio Deewa . Initially the show was about Malala and her heroics but the later on both the show and the song became so popular that they shifted the focus of the show on girls’ education in general.
“Initially the song was only the title track of the show but later due to its universal message of spreading awareness about the importance of education, it became the song of every girl out there,” Behroz Khan, the lyricist of the song and producer of the show, told The Express Tribune.
Takkar has been allotted five minutes each on the two-day-long event and he is equally excited about performing both of the songs.
A zama watana is a famous poem by Ghani Khan which has sung by many popular singers like the legendary Gulzar Alam, Bakhtiar Khattak and relatively new faces like Humayun Khan. A Zama Watana so popular amongst the Pashtun population that many even consider it the anthem of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Both songs have been composed by Takkar.
“The song has been selected after consultation with the Nobel Peace Prize commetie,” Behroz told The Express Tribune. “The song has been written for Malala, a girl who truly is the voice of all the Pashun women around the world and I am more excited to watch her receive the award rather than the performance itself”.
Takkar is equally overwhelmed by Malala’s achievement and considers it a moment of so much pride and honour that can’t be expressed in words.
“I am short of words, all I can is that he all the Pashtuns around the world are proud of her achievement,” said Takkar.
Translation of Ta Bibi Sheerina
Fulfilling the capacity of mother, wife, sister and daughter, you incarnate love by all,
O Pakhtun sweetheart, learning is your right.
You are the real Bibi Shirin
Allow her to learn and she will help your country thrive.
She will raze down the idols of ignorance
She is the origin of life and she is the sign of grace and respect
You can bring prosperity and peace, if your strengths are utilised
You are a burden only in the snare of others grip
Do not consider yourself inferior, you are second to none,
Your wisdom and physical strength is unrivalled,
Your pride is your reason and hard work
You may be heartbroken, but your aspirations speak of strong determination
You are the real Bibi Shirin.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2014.
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