Fayiz Zargar, the Kashmiri artist, is sparking emotions yet again with new single ‘Mouji’ (Mother!). Filmed in the parts of Downtown, Srinagar, the music video gave voice to the emotions of a grieving mother, who has lost her only child to the 2016 civilian uprising after killing of the popular militant commander Burhan Wani on 8 July 2016. The song bagged love and compliments moments after its release on artist’s YouTube channel.

Zargar has been playing his hands on music since 2008. After completing his diploma in mechanical engineering from Kashmir, he moved to New Delhi to pursue B. Tech. Currently, he is working as a maintenance engineer at a technology company in the city.

A Mumbai based composer, Aman Moroney, produced the music while it was composed by Zargar himself. The music runs on the backbone of Sufism, beautifully fused with the western touch.

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While everyone is praising the new music video of the Kashmiri artist online, which has got 26,000 views in six days, very few are aware of the story behind it. The Kashmir Walla talked to Zargar about how the aftermath of Burhan Wani’s killing, a popular rebel commander, inspired his latest song, and the role of music in resistance.

What inspired your new single ‘Mouji’?

I wrote and composed Mouji in 2016. I came back to Kashmir from Delhi on 6 July, two days prior to my birthday. As it turned out, Burhan Wani was killed on my birthday, 8 July. And within a night, Kashmir was burning like hell. Everyone was so disturbed, so was I. Not specifically by his death, but what followed after it. The entire valley was under house arrest for at least a month.

I remember watching protests and funerals on my television with my family in the living room. I saw my mother weeping, and it triggered the thought that these people will forget what happened – all funerals and wails, but a mother gets stuck there. A mother will never forget this.

Then Mouji happened to me.

What do you want to express by this song particularly?

Basically, the song is all about asking a mother to not cry, but to look at other mothers around. Here, in the valley, you can find mourners in every next house. Everyone has stories of their disappearing or killed family members. The woman in the video is a mother from Kashmir, and it is what it represents – Mothers of Kashmir.

Do you think of Kashmiri language as a linguistic barrier in reaching out to a larger audience?

I like to compose songs in Kashmiri like our elders used to do. I don’t want to go out of the box. I want to stay connected to roots for now. Unlike a few other Kashmiri artists, I can’t do multilingual songs.

And to connect to non-Kashmiri speakers, we have produced the video. By adding subtitles, we aim to reach a larger audience.

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How do you manage music with the work?

It was never hard for me. I have been doing it since 2008. I work till 7 pm in the office, and then I play my music. I’m not even thinking of quitting my job and pursuing music as a full-time profession anytime sooner.

Tell us a bit about your future projects?

I’m releasing another song by the end of this year. It will be a collaboration with a Kashmiri EDM artist. We have teamed up for a particular song. It will be a melodious style in the Kashmiri language, with a beautiful touch of EDM.

I’m also planning to release a few songs, which I composed back in 2010.

Many people associate only hip-hop with resistance, how do you see that?

Well, hip-hop is about speaking the message in your style, but so is music. I have my own genre, and I portray things in it that I feel about. I write what I see around.

And even Mouji is a piece of resistance music. The song is telling the story of a Kashmiri mother, who lost her child to conflict. At the end of the day, everyone forgets after a week of the funeral, but a mother never forgets.

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