An Ode To Forgotten Past

  • Raqib Hameed Naik
  • Publish Date: Apr 16 2018 1:40AM
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  • Updated Date: Apr 16 2018 1:40AM
An Ode To Forgotten Past

Yawar Abdal’s music seeks to introduce young Kashmiris to past masters of sufi poetry


Yawar Abdal is winning hearts in Kashmir and outside. The singer-songwriter from Hazratbal in Srinagar is still getting rave reviews for his first song, Tamanna, which was released on YouTube last June and has garnered over 1.2 million views so far.

Sung in Kashmiri, Urdu and Persian, Tamanna borrows from three legends: Mehjoor, Mirza Ghalib and Amir Khusrow. “This song defines some stages of sufis where they try to come out of this world and stop desiring for it. The only thing they desire is the love of their beloved,” says Yawar, 24. “I have tried to foreground our old Sufi poetry through my music which our youth are unaware of. Poets like Mehjoor, Soche Kraal, Rasul Mir, Neami Saeb, Shamas Fakeer are still unknown to our youth. Our culture is very rich in poetry and sufism, so it’s necessary we put it forward and respect it.”

Yawar’s tryst with music started early. He would write songs and practise singing all day to imaginary tunes in his head, he says. 

In 2010, Yawar went to college in Pune. There, his music was much appreciated by fellow students and they motivated him to take up music as a career. “Muneem Nazir is an inspiration for me,” he says of a fellow singer. “I got in touch with him in 2016 and he, along with others, motivated me to record this song.”

Why did he meld different language in Tamanna? “Initially, I thought fusing Persian, Urdu and Kashmiri poetry would make it difficult for people to understand but I was wrong. People loved it so much that I think this love and support would never let me stop doing this.”

In October 2017, Yawar released his second song, LalleWaan, which has received 221 thousand views on YouTube so far. He has since got two offers to sing for Bollywood films, he says, but he declined both owing to the “poor quality of the content”.

Yawar wants to return to Kashmir but the “lack of opportunities and scope” has been dissuading him. “I have performed only once in Kashmir, in November last year and the irony is that the organisers haven’t paid me yet,” he says. “I have to raise money for my future projects and in Pune there are opportunities. For now, professionally, there is no scope for me in Kashmir but I hope the situation will change one day.” 

Yawar is currently working on four songs which he hopes to release later this year. He is also planning to release an album next year.