September 2004 News

Not Jana Gana..., Pak Anthem Rings In The Valley

27 September 2004
The Times of India

Srinagar: The Indian National Anthem may never have been very popular in the Valley, but it seems the Pakistani anthem is becoming quite popular here, thanks to the growing number of cellphone users choosing it as their ringtone. Students here say they've got the ringtone from their Pakistani friends. 'I received it from one of my friends in Srinagar,' said Feroz Ahmad, a professional in his twenties. His friend, he explained, had got it from another friend, and they all keep passing it on to other friends. Sarzameen Shadhbaan, the Pakistani anthem, is preferred in Kashmir to the Indian National Anthem, says Aaftab Wani, an unemployed youth. He says this is because they never had to learn the former in school; that anti-India feelings are growing and that many Kashmiris have a soft corner for Pakistan, because in a demographic and religious sense, they relate to their neighbour. 'It has been like that since 1947. We have been hearing Pakistan Radio or BBC instead of All India Radio; we know the names of Pakistani states, their daily temperatures and cricketers. In 1990, when insurgency erupted in the Kashmir Valley, people set their watches half an hour behind IST, in time with Pakistani time,' he says. 'We still feel like natural supporters of the Pakistani cricket team,' says 60-year-old Aslam Beig of Baramulla. On TV too, there are five Pakistani channels. Besides this, the latest Pakistani trends in clothes and make-up are picked up here 'because we feel part of the Muslim society in Pakistan', says Naseema, a Kashmir University student whose wardrobe is full of Pakistani salwaar- kameez . Ali Mohammad, a taxi driver, however, says, 'This does not mean that Kashmiri people want to be part of Pakistan. People just feel closer to it.'


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