Mubeen Irfan and Muneeb Chaudhary are two brothers who have taken the lead in reintroducing classical music to Pakistan. The lads, who are 15 and 13, maintain a blog called Save the Sitar. They include interviews with veteran musicians, travelogues of Lahore, and discussions on the state of the music industry now.
It blows my mind to think of two youngsters being so excited about such a significant subject, especially at such an early age.
Save the Sitar
“Save the Sitar” is a first-of-its-kind video resource that archives the experiences of elderly musicians through interviews. The brothers walk throughout the city with a camcorder in hand, looking for artists to interview. They also spoke with folks who built and repaired stringed instruments.
The blog of Muneeb and Mubeen is dedicated to the preservation of classical music. They truly care about the cause, which is what distinguishes their blog. Teenagers will not repeatedly volunteer to do something they dislike, especially if it is something they are enthusiastic about.
It also includes a series of tabla classes taught by the brothers, who teach people how to play the tabla.
The moniker of the blog is also noteworthy because it is self-explanatory. The name ‘Save the Sitar’ is not only memorable, but it also instantly educates people about the blog’s idea. You can tell they’re talking about an instrument that isn’t used as much in our music as it should be. At the same time, you understand that they are referring to more than simply the sitar, but rather a broad context of ideas and concerns concerning this generation’s music.
“Thanks to its alliteration, we picked a fairly appealing term, which plainly represents classical music. Mubeen proposed this name as we thought about the notion of a website. We have rejected numerous suggestions such as “Rescue the Rubab” or “Rescue the Rag” simply in order to make up for its bouncy and relatively brevity, “They stated. They explained.
“It was a name just as melodious as we thought! Since the Sitar, with its eternal appeal and fame, is the most iconic of classical music, it was an obvious pick among all classical instruments.”
The forgotten artists
I got to see how many musicians were neglected by their blog. Some of these persons in the past have been a key part of major initiatives and are now unemployed. I’ve also seen interviews about the financial instability of artists and the lack of interest in classical music among young people. The blog interviews are instructive, but they are also provocative. The sitar manufacturer Ziauddin was 75 and manufactured sitars for skilled sitarists such as Ustad Sharif Khan Poonchawaley, Kabir Ustad Khan, and Ahmed Khan Ustad Nafees. The blog says “he warns that the past will be romanticized.” But then he tells the lads that his only pupil was Muhammad Kashan, one of his children, who is also the only one who carries the heritage of the family forward.
The winner of the Pride of the Performance in 2014, Muneeb and Mubeen Ziauddin, are part of the Save the Sitar organization, which attempts to sensitize classical artists in Pakistan to the situation of local sitar players. The government and NGOs will devote time, energy, and money to conserve what is left of the Pakistani rich musical legacy, Muneeb said they hope to birth a movement.
Muneeb and Mubeen are the co-authors of a blog that attempts to raise awareness about the imminent extinction of classical music, a centuries-old heritage. Despite their desire to raise awareness about this genre all across the world, Muneeb and Mubeen’s primary audience are Pakistanis.
Muneeb: We want to be as inclusive as possible since classical music belongs to everyone on the planet. However, Pakistanis are the ones who caused this situation, and Pakistanis are the ones who must address it. “As a result, we want to begin development on an Urdu version of our website as well.”
“We believe that appreciation for our musical history is lacking in today’s music industry,” says Muneeb. The brothers also have a YouTube account where they share excerpts or entire interviews.
“The young generation needs to experience amazing TV programs like Nikhar, which featured singers like Iqbal Bano and Ustad Salamat Ali with a full orchestra of classical musicians in the 1970s, and movies like Wada, which featured Sharafat Ali singing ‘Jab teray sheher say guzarta hun,’ whose music was composed by Rashid Atre and lyrics by Saif-ud-din Saif.” People need to hear better music in order to appreciate what we previously had and are about to lose forever.”
The future of Save the Sitar
“When we were in Grades V and VII in 2016-17, we were introduced to classical music and singing of Kalam-e-Faiz, Iqbal, and Jalib at our school Maktab.” “Their resentment at being unrecognized and labeled as mere ‘merasis’ shocked us, and we determined to do something to help them,” says Malik.
What is being mentioned here is not just that they aren’t functioning, but also that people are gradually drifting away from their traditional music. This is producing a schism between those who are truly capable of creating amazing works and those who do it for pleasure with no prior research, practice, or knowledge of music. “We would also like to increase awareness through social media and other channels,” the brothers added.
“In terms of our personal musical professional development, we like performing music and will do so for the rest of our lives.” But we’re still a long way from becoming professional musicians. We don’t know what life has in store for us, but we’ll keep studying and playing the tabla and see where it leads us. We need to do well in our O and A level examinations right now!”
The most intriguing aspect of this site is that when you start reading the interviews, you immediately think of an elderly person who is opposed to modernity. But then you discover it’s not an elderly person at all, but rather two youngsters. It’s encouraging to know that these issues are being addressed by more than just a bunch of elderly folks reminiscing about the past.
“We have interviewed singers, but they are not our primary emphasis because we are looking for instrumentalists. “Those we’ve spoken with do not have high regard for mainstream music and, in fact, reject it,” they stated.
“It truly varies on each person, but the vast majority of them are opposed to it and regard it as a grave threat to their work.” “New technology in mainstream music has enabled the replacement of hundreds of skilled musicians, pushing them closer to the abyss of obscurity,” they warned.
“We feel that adopting, studying, and loving pop music is absolutely acceptable since one should be flexible and adaptive to new, enjoyable things.” This, however, must not come at the price of ignoring one’s own centuries-old musical history. This is similar to kawwa chala tha hans ki chaal, apni bhi bhool gaya [when someone imitates another and loses their own identity].”