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September 27, 2020

Paras melodies from Minimerg

Lahore

September 27, 2020

Salman Paras is the Talat Mehmood of Pakistan, says Secretary Culture and Tourism of Gilgit Baltistan, but a more keen listener would say he has the anguish of Talat, neatness of Muhammad Rafi and pitch of Kishore Da.

Salman Paras hails from Kalay Shai Minimerg, a far-flung area of Astore valley bordering the valley of Gurez in India. It is little ahead of Kamri check post of Minimerg. Kalay Shai is famous for its jungle, Markhor, natural beauty and backwardness.

When Paras sings one feels as if a cascade is flowing from the mountains.

He has a neat voice textured with a curious combination of anguish and yearning not conferred upon everyone who ventures into the world of music. Atif Aslam and Ali Zafar have neat voices but they lack the subtle anguish that is hallmark of lovable singers.

Paras is blessed with the quality of singing on high octave and he never lets his voice lose the strength picked from the very beginning. He rather becomes more engaging when he carries the notes on higher octave.

Sitam Gar is one of the most beautiful songs he has sung together with the one that has almost become the national anthem of Gilgit Baltistan. Everyone at school sings it.

"Hum Gilgit Baltistan Kay Hein" is not only a song now. It is the voice of every one hailing from Gilgit Baltistan. The song describes integrity of the people, beauty of the land, benevolence of nature, kindness of cataracts, caressing of cascades, cradle of civilisation, crosscurrent of diverse cultures that adds on the beauty of the people of Gilgit Baltistan and the richness of love they share.

He paid tribute to the valley of Astore by dedicating a song that describes the scenic value of Deosai, Minimerg and Rama Meadows. No doubt Astore the most backward and most neglected region of Gilgit Baltistan has the most beautiful valleys like Kalapani, Skamal, Mir Malik, Rupal, Tirahing and Parshing but the roads are in deplorable conditions and the basic human facilities are denied to the district.

Political elite is oblivious of the worsening human condition and already eroded infrastructure. The beauty described in Paras' songs lies in the wooing wilderness, soothing quietude and healing heights of Karakoram. Very hospitable and loving in nature the Astori people are highly respectful to those who work for their district. Perhaps they still carry the agony for Astore that it lost the status of being the head quarter of the region before the independence and even before the construction of KKH.

Astore is culturally more connected with Kashmir and most of the Astori people are descendants of Kashmiri people. There was a time when Astore was connected to Kashmir through 52 different treks. Many of these are still used by local populace to bring animals from these treks. If you visit Astore you ll recall One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez to find gypsies bringing in the merchandise from other areas of the country. There are people who have never visited Gilgit and they have spent all their lives in Gishat, Riat, Skamal, Tirahing and Shounter. These areas are connected with Azad Kashmir.

Paras is not very active on social media perhaps because he doesn't find time to manage his social media accounts for the job in the department of Culture and Tourism of Gilgit Baltistan and partially because he never took it serious.

If you upload his songs you ll start getting strikes because people have been earning by uploading his songs.

He is a perfect voice for Urdu songs as well. It is very strange that his accent of Urdu is not overshadowed with that of Shinaa which usually happens with Punjabi, Sindhi and Pashtu speaking people in Pakistan. I believe he ll do miracle in music if he is given a chance to work with good arrangers expert in continental music. Recently a lake in Fina (Astore ) has been named after him as Paras Lake. It is situated at the height of 15,263 ft from sea level and it is a multicolored lake where blue and green waters flow. Paras Lake will attract a lot of tourists in coming future and a road will soon be constructed there for the tourists.