Young Kashmiri Girls Challenge Traditions, Form Sufiyana Group to Revive Age-Old Art

Young Kashmiri Girls Challenge Traditions, Form Sufiyana Group to Revive Age-Old Art


Suhail Khan


Srinagar: A bold move to revive the fading art of Sufiyana music, a group of young Kashmiri girls has come together to make their mark in this traditionally male-dominated field.


Led by Irfana, a talented musician from Ganastan, a remote village in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, the group has been breaking barriers and captivating audiences with their soul-stirring performances.


Five years ago, Irfana, inspired by her father’s santoor playing, embarked on a journey to learn the art of Sufi music.


As she honed her skills and began singing Sufi poetry with traditional tunes at home, her passion ignited a spark in her younger sisters and other girls in the neighborhood.


Two more girls joined her father’s class, and together they formed the Sufiyana Group.


Despite hailing from humble backgrounds with limited financial resources, the girls’ determination drove them forward. They used the earnings from their concerts at social functions to purchase musical instruments, managing their endeavors without any external support from the government or NGOs.


Irfana, currently studying in the Department of Music at the University of Kashmir, recognized the urgency of preserving Sufiyana music, which was on the brink of extinction.


Despite facing numerous challenges, including social media backlash, the girls persevered, receiving overwhelming appreciation and love from many quarters.


Under the guidance of Irfana’s father, Muhammad Yusuf, a talented musician himself, the girls receive comprehensive training in various aspects of Sufi music.


Muhammad Yusuf emphasizes that Sufi poetry and music form the true essence of Kashmir’s identity and must be safeguarded.


He ardently believes that the efforts of his daughters and the Sufiyana Group will yield fruitful results, but emphasizes the need for government and non-governmental support to ensure the survival and growth of this art form.


The Sufiyana Group has showcased their talent beyond the borders of Kashmir, garnering appreciation for their captivating performances. The girls’ achievements have been recognized through several awards, further fueling their determination.


Rehana, another member of the group, highlights the importance of support from the government and NGOs to preserve this dying art form and encourages them to extend their assistance to groups like theirs.


Irfana expresses that their shared love for Sufi music brought the group together and ignited their collective mission to revive and preserve this cherished art form.


Their melodious voices now resonate through Gunistan, a previously forgotten village in North Kashmir, breathing new life into the age-old tradition of Sufi music.


The Sufiyana Group’s journey serves as an inspiration, challenging gender stereotypes and breaking down barriers in the pursuit of their passion. Their efforts underscore the significance of preserving cultural heritage and highlight the need for collective support in preserving and nurturing fading art forms.


As the Sufiyana Group continues to captivate audiences with their enchanting melodies, their mission to revive Sufiyana music gains momentum. Their determination, resilience, and talent shine a spotlight on the power of music to transcend boundaries and breathe life into the rich cultural tapestry of Kashmir.


With each performance, the girls carve a path for future generations, proving that traditions can be rejuvenated and cherished, even in the face of adversity.


As their harmonies echo through the valleys, the Sufiyana Group represents a beacon of hope, ensuring that the timeless beauty of Sufi music continues to thrive in the hearts of people for generations to come.(Kashmir Despatch)