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Masarat Naz’s soothing voice connects people across borders
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Masarat Naz’s soothing voice connects people across borders

Apart from India, Masrat said she has performed in many parts of Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Neelam Valley, and Muzaffarabad where she got good responses from the people.

Post by on Sunday, November 21, 2021

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 Kashmir is one of the most culturally rich regions that has produced numerous folk singers who have ruled over the hearts of people for decades. 

40-year-old Pahadi language singer Masrat Naz, born and brought up in Azadpora Boniyar area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla, is now connecting people across the borders with her soothing voice.
Over the past several years, she has become a social media sensation in both parts of divided Kashmir by her melodious voice.  
Masrat told Rising Kashmir that from her childhood, she was inclined towards music and states that music unites people from across the borders. “I will continue to entertain people till the last breath of her life,” she said.
She is among the noted Pahadi singers who are trying to revive their language. Over the past more than 20 years, she has been active in the field and has sung hundreds of stage and album songs that got good responses from people.
She says music is a language that loops through every mind, every person, every group, and every nation. It can settle internal struggles and empower societies across the globe.
“I was born in a family, where music is treated as important as food. My mornings would begin with new ideas, new songs, and new discussions,” she said.
Masrat said music has added charm in her life that would have been monotonous and boring without it. Music connects hearts, opens horizons of mind, and gives immense pleasure.
She is among recognized singers at All India Radio Srinagar, Doordarshan Kashmir, and is also affiliated with the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art Culture and Languages. She has hosted many cultural programs and shows at the Department of Information and Public Relations Department.
People who had previously been total strangers, started to communicate and connect with each other for the first time using music, she said.
“My father, Noor Ali Sheikh, was also an artist at Radio and Television, who inspired me with his sweet voice. I got a musical touch from my home but started my career from Girls Higher Secondary School Boniyar Baramulla by performing a solo song and that got a good response from the audience,” she said.
Masrat said her school had a singing club, where she used to sing during functions and programs. That helped her a lot and boosted her confidence.
“Initially I was shy but due to practice and hard work, I became confident about my singing and started chasing my dreams, “she said, adding that music is a spiritual expression of our affections and language of emotions.
Recalling her memories, Masrat said she lost her father when she was just 13 years old.  After schooling, she went to radio and television to perform her talent and was determined to achieve her dreams.
Pahadi songs of Masarat are equally popular in both parts of divided Kashmir. She says she is getting good responses from people on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC).
She is currently residing in Mumbai along with her children, who are studying there, and states that music connects our hearts and goes across boundaries.
Apart from Kashmir, Masrat has also performed in Tamil Nadu, Maharastra, Himachal Pradesh, New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Punjab.
Masarat also performs her songs in other languages including Kashmiri, Gojri, Urdu, Punjabi, and Dogri. Her genre of music includes Pahadi Folk, Urdu Gazala, Qawali, Punjabi, Gojri, and Kashmiri songs.
She says music is also capable of bonding a large number of people and she was lucky to get married in the family, where most of the family members were associated with the music industry.
Masrat was married in Karna Kupwara area of north Kashmir, to a prominent Pahari singer, Sayed Tariq Pardesi. Her other family members including Syed Kabul Bukhari, who is the brother of her husband, have also earned a good name and fame in music in the Valley. 
She said everyone loves music equally, no matter if he or she is a singer from Pakistan or India. Music brings love into the air – it makes people feel more connected and it creates memories that will last for a lifetime.
“The main reason for opting for Pahadi was because there were only a handful of singers who were into the field, so I decided to give them back and make it one of the powerful languages as it has rich culture,” she said.
Apart from India, Masrat said she has performed in many parts of Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Neelam Valley, and Muzaffarabad where she got good responses from the people.
“When I returned from Pakistan, I started using digital platforms including YouTube and Facebook, where I have more than 5 lakh followers,” she said. This year I got a silver award from YouTube for crossing more than 1 lakh subscribers,” she said.  
Masrat said she has got views in millions and people are praising her songs. Some of her Pahadi albums that went viral on social media include “Jeen-ni-Dendi-Duniya, which has 3.9 million views, Saif-ul-Malooq (1.1 million views), Anhiyain (1.8 million views), and Chan-Ji (1.4 million views).
She said music is a universal language. It’s a form of communication that transcends space and time, touching the hearts of people worldwide.
“It evokes a sense of calmness during times of stress, but it can also fuel my waves of rage and bring forth the tears I’ve been holding back,” Masrat said.
She said music is the love and understanding that illuminates dark times and the serenity during great times. When words aren’t enough, music helps you communicate unexplainable emotions.
“It is also a bridge between cultural heritages and different backgrounds. It erases the line that defines all borders and allows a group of distinct people to feel the same thing at the same time,” she said, adding “Music frees the soul. It allows you to express yourself in ways that are unimaginable. It can relax you, excite you, and even bring out emotions you never knew existed.”
“Not everyone can succeed. If everyone succeeds, who will listen? Where will the audience be? Everyone has their own destiny. I keep learning from everyone. No matter how many singers come, everybody is doing great, she said.
About her message for aspirant singers, she said life is a struggle and one should not lose hope. When there is a struggle and consistency, no one can stop you from achieving your dreams, she said.
Maarat said there are ups and downs in everyone’s life but one should not lose hope and continue his or her journey till he/she achieves success. Both moral and emotional support of family is important, she adds.

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