Kashmiri national anthem to get new composition

  • Mushtaq Minhas says govt will not change lyrics, written by Hafeez Jullundhri

The state cabinet of Azad Jammu Kashmir, in its meeting under Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan in Muzaffarabad City, has announced re-composition of the Kashmiri national anthem – Watan Hamara, written in the mid-1960s by Abu-Al-Asar Hafeez Jullundhri, a poet who famously wrote lyrics for the state anthem of Pakistan.

The cabinet announced a committee, under Minister for Information Mushtaq Minhas, to make arrangements for the re-composition of the Kashmiri national anthem. Generally, the anthem is a patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, and struggles of its people, recognized as the official national song.

Speaking with Pakistan Today, Mushtaq Minhas said that the state cabinet has decided to recompose the national anthem. “We will try our level best to contact and consult good music maestro or a music company in any major city of Pakistan to recompose our national anthem,” he said.

“The music quality of ‘Watan Hamara’ is not up to the mark, as a record of the anthem is too old. Basically, this national song was composed in an old style and not according to the modern age,” he said. “We will try to give a modern composition to our national anthem,” he said, adding that the beautifully written lyrics need up to the mark composition,” he said.

For the last several years, there was a general debate among the Kashmiri people, living inside the state or abroad, that the lyrics of the anthem are not reminding the national history, traditions, territories and struggles of its people. But the information minister praised the lyrics and termed it according to the need.

“We will not change the lyrics, written by the great poet Hafeez Jullundhri, as this is not our mandate,” Mushtaq Minhas said. He said that no nation in the world history can change lyrics of their national anthem. “So how we can change the lyrics,” he said, and called the lyrics historical and not time bound.

Reportedly, the Kashmiri national anthem was composed in the studio of Azad Jammu Kashmir Radio in Muzaffarabad. Talking to Pakistan Today, renowned Kashmiri scholar and book author Abdul Hakeem Kashmiri said that there were a lot of questions over the lyrics of the national anthem.

“This Kashmiri anthem is not a true representative of the Kashmiri nation. In the whole world, nations have their national anthems with a patriotic musical composition that evokes their national history, traditions, life, people and their national struggle,” he said and pointed out some concepts in the anthem as negative.

Sarwar Sagar, a Kashmiri music composer and renowned singer, said that duration of this anthem was three minutes and 30 seconds. “For me, this is too long due to its music composition,” he said, adding that he recently re-composed Watan Hamara with just one minute and 30-second duration with all lyrics included in the national song.