Kashmiri Woman’s Bid To Revive Folk Ballad Tradition

In a bid to revive centuries-old Kashmiri art form known as “Ladishah”, Syed Areej Safvi, a 25-year-old woman hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, performs the traditional folk ballad to tell tales in a satirical and humorous way.

Safvi writes and performs Ladishah, which makes commentaries on social and political conditions in the society. Humour forms an essential part of its presentation.

For hundreds of years, this storytelling musical genre was performed only by men and but now Safvi has taken the mantle to revive this art form.

Talking about her journey, Safvi said she has written all of her Ladishah’s in Delhi but told tales of Kashmir. “I stay in Delhi but my heart stays in Kashmir. I am always updated on what is happening in Kashmir,” she said.

Safvi said that confidence is essential for performing this art form. “Performing Ladishah is unlike giving speech or singing. It is part of a traditional folk ballad. If a one does not have confidence one cannot perform this art form,” she told ANI.

From her school days itself, Safvi was into extracurricular activities like debating and acting which later led her towards Ladishah.

“From my school days itself, I was into extracurricular like debating and acting. I have won several awards at the national level in these activities. …After my graduation, I leaned towards public speaking and writing. I love to write. I love poetry as well. And through ‘Ladishah,’ I got a common platform for all my talents,” she said.

On the history of Ladishah, Safvi said that not much literature is available on this subject. “Certain reports say that there used to be an old man who used to spread social commentaries from one village to another in a humorous and sarcastic way. Other reports say that this person came from either from Pulwama or Sopore. His surname was Shah. And hence came the name.”

Emphasising her aim to revive the art form, she said, “I am the first lady of this generation who performs Ladishah. I don’t see any person from my generation who performs this art. My foremost task is to revive this art form.”

Safvi said she is trying to give Ladishah a wider audience and make people realise how this art form is part of the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir.

“I want to do this full time and I need support for this from the administration because I am not doing this for my own good. This is something associated with Kashmir and this is a part of its culture that I want to take forward,” she said. (ANI)

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