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September 20, 2018

‘Mausikaar’ highlights plight of yester years’ stars


September 20, 2018

Islamabad : Ethnicity aside, Ms Zarsanga, the legendary Pashto folk singer, widely popular not only at the national but at international level, is living in miserable conditions somewhere in the KP.

In her prime time she was a highly respected person who was a ‘must part’ of any national or regional event celebrated and included folk and cultural segment in it. She even won the Presidential Pride of Performance’ award!

Ms Zarsanga frequently represented Pakistan in the functions arranged abroad to highlight Pakistan’s rich culture and diversity. Her albums sold like hot cakes and many a writers nostalgically mentioned listening to her songs while enjoying a leisurely evening somewhere inside or outside the country.

And now she is living in abject poverty somewhere in the KP, being forced to abandon her home in Tank, a town on the border of the former South Waziristan Agency.

Yet another artist fighting for life is Shaukat Manzoor of Rawalpindi. Shaukat Manzoor is cousin of legendary folk singer Shaukat Ali. He is suffering from renal failure and need dialysis twice a week, which obviously is not a cheap treatment.

And the plight of these two artists of international and national stature were not highlighted by the Ministry of Culture or the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) or any other government entity, but Dr Seema Khan, the President of ‘Mausikaar’, a voluntary trust for preservation and promotion of classical and semi-classical music in the country.

Dr Seema Khan raised voice for Ms Zarsanga and Shaukat Manzoor while speaking at the first function the ‘Mausikaar’ arranged after the summer break at a local eatery and one must grudgingly concede that it was a good one for those in town who love to listen to some live music.

However, more important was to raise voice of the artists who are living a miserable life after having enjoyed the glory in prime of their careers. Dr Seema and her team of volunteers including Ms Shazia Ismat, Mrs Mahreen Khan, Mr Shiraz Masood, Mrs Zafar Iqbal, Mrs Salahuddin, Mr Nouman Mohammad Zai, Mr Masood Hashmey, Mr Hassan Reza and Sardar Omar Durrani had been engaged in arranging musical functions since past almost a decade to raise funds for artists in need.

With a ‘Patron’ like late Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, Dr Seem and the ‘Team Mausikaar’ had been trying to help such artists who had befallen to bad times. Last time the ‘Mausikaar’ arranged a function to help an ailing artist was Ustad Allah Rakha, the famous ‘sarangi’ player.

Ustad Allah Rakha, who was the only ‘Ustad’ in the art of ‘sarangi’ playing, died in utter poverty in mid-2015 and with him died the art of ‘sarangi’ playing in the country.

Dr Seema Khan, the President of ‘Mausikaar’ said that the trust has very limited resources but still it offers a platform for highlighting the plight of such artists and artisans who are facing difficulties in their lives.

“We have been arranging such functions in the past as well like we arranged functions for late Ustad Ghulam Hussain Shagan, his son Qadir Shagan and also his grandson, Muslim Shagan. Similarly, the ‘Mausikaar’ had been patronizing and promoting young and seasoned artists in Pakistan as well as abroad,” she added.

“We believe that it is the responsibility of the state to take care of these artists and artisans who are keeping our traditional, folk, mystic, classical and semi-classical singing and playing music. They are a very important part of the society and need not only be protected but patronized and promoted not at the national level but at international level to highlight soft and colorful face of Pakistan,” Dr Seema Khan said.

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