Social networking sites are increasingly turning into a battle ground of contention. On the one side, social media is abused to hurl threats, while on the other it can also form solid support communities. In a recent case of yet another Facebook-induced hatred involving Kashmir’s first girl rock band ‘Pragaash’, the 3 teenager girls - vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir aged 16, drummer Farah Deeba and guitarist Aneeka Khalid both aged 15 – were forced to go underground following threats and severe criticism, along with a fatwa being issued against them by the Grand Mufti of Kashmir Bashir-ud-Din.
Pragaash which means from darkness to light, was formed by the trio at a music institute and soon received recognition after the band won the third place in ‘Battle of the Bands’, an annual music festival . With live shows and interviews on news channels, the girls were living their dream, when threats and abuses began to pour on social networking sites. The girls have been accused of choosing a rock band over other permissible options as per Islamic laws.
Though the negative outrage has been deleted, here are a few screen shots saved by Raheel Khursheed, Founder of Change.org.
As per a story in Rising Kashmir, the girls including their families have now been encouraged by support groups on Facebook. ‘I support Pragaash, Kashmir’s first all-girls’ rock band’ is a newly created Facebook community and has already garnered 2000 fans in 4 days. There is an overwhelming support from men and women from all corners of the country through comments, likes and shares.
“cheers girls, today i saw about u on ndtv…..dont worry about anything…..ppl will bark….you go ahead and u will surely get full support from music loving citizens of our country….best wishes“, posted Nitin Bhatnagar, while Karan Talwar from Radio 79 Delhi posted “Snd us your music so we can broadcast it on Radio 79 Delhi - India’s first alternative music channel. Great going Pragaash, music can change people and therefore can change the world ! Keep shining on …“.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also came out in support of the girls on Twitter. Given below is a screenshot of his tweets on Saturday:
Deciding against performing in live shows, Pragaash has raised a debate over extremist opinions prevailing in the Kashmir valley. Whether or not they are able to perform live without a security threat, the growing support on social networking sites is here to stay.