Feb 1, 2011


MC Kash...the Soozebaaz of Kashmir who unlike the sangbaaz bombards with something intangible and more effectual.
The blood-spattered summer last year might have halted all the life across the valley and ceased the heartbeats of many innocents but for many the tribulation acted as new catchy theme to experiment upon. Many writers, lyricists and intellectuals emerged out of the blue to exploit the captivating news. The paradise on earth witnessed one of the worst turbulence since 1990`s. The whole valley was shut-down for more than four months and the crisis claimed many innocent lives, mainly the youth. In retaliation, a new generation called “sangbaaz” came into existence who vent out their anger by throwing stones in the streets but the chanting of their “Azadi” pleas only met the deaf ears with dead souls.  

In the midst of this mayhem in the valley of Kashmir an avatar known as MC Kash was born out of a young wordsmith Roshan Illahi.MC Kash, a pseudonym for Roshan Illahi presented a much effectual and peaceful alternative to demonstrate against the killings. Unlike the sangbaz or any other run of the mill that register their protests online on facebook or like, this gutsy young man bombards with something more effective, something abstract and intangible. MC uses the invincible words tuned to the truth in the beats of reality of Kashmir. Roshan Illahi sings English rap songs winded-up by himself and is as rightly tagged to be the first rapper of the valley.

Call him a Rebel, a Revolutionist, a Rapper or an angry kashmiri bud; MC Kash is a 20 year old chap who started a new innovative way to expostulate against the oppression and subjugation in kashmir. Kash was born in the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir in the tough times of militancy in 1990 and has grown up under the shadow of the gun. Right from the time he breathed his first in the suffocated atmosphere of bullets and flames in Kashmir, Kash has been witnessing enough unkindness and humiliation to speak against the injustice.

In an exclusive friendly conversation with me (Abdul wajid), MC Kash a.k.a. Roshan Illahi reveals his way of straight beliefs and shares his beautiful dreams.

Kash`s Talent:
Kash`s talent didn’t came out of the blue at last summer`s unrest rather it has been his born leisure pursuit to write lyrical poems. Kash says he used to write poems from the time he was a kid. As a child he was too bashful to confirm his talent and the only credible person with whom he could share his dreams was none other than his own mother, a school teacher. As he grows up into a teen he keenly followed the Rapp genre. All the time he used to lollygag with his mobile phone or any handy stuff documenting his verses that kept circulating his head. Despite being too young to write Rapp verses, MC was completely able to follow the rap world in a well mature way. His fully grown wisdom which was far beyond his undersized age guided him all the way long to pen down all the prolific stuff.

I Protest:
 Satisfied with writing Kash never thought of singing but once doodling at a friend`s residence Kash recorded his very first track “Ma Game” on a Home PC and naively the result was a fine sound track. After that in the year 2007 he got a chance to present his tracks at a talent-hunt competition at a local University, IUST Awantipora . Following that he was far appreciated for his vocals began to fire up. Without much waiting he started to record his songs in a local studio and uploaded his work on a music website called “ReverbNation” besides using facebook to promote his numbers. In the first run he was not able to receive a much good response but soon with the release of one his supreme tracks “I protest” in September 2010, his work got boosted among all the local netizens particularly on the social networking site facebook. The song “I Protest” which is a true reflection of the Kashmir unrest in 2010 is very touching and it got multiplied like a wild fire through mobile Bluetooths and Internet and with that MC Kash became the voice of Kashmiri youth and soon “ I protest ” was taken as the Kashmir`s national anthem among the net-savvy locals. The composition of the song is very artistic. The prologue carrying various news reports about Kashmir crisis and the epilogue naming the 65 martyrs from the valley during 2010 unrest is so pathetic that one cannot hold the tears from rolling down the eyes. Irrespective of the age or the Level of self-consciousness, the moving track makes one holler mawkishly.
One may wonder why Kash has chosen Kashmir turmoil as his theme to sing but his words are the clear reflections of the way the government has been mishandling the Kashmir turmoil since 90`s. Right from the time he was born he has been a mute-spectator of an enumerate bloodshed and violence which was far beyond his potential to be tolerated. And now it’s the time for him to expostulate in the form of vocals.

Talking about the critics, well our valley is full of many taunt-happy people whose only job is to gibe over any non-trivial issue and to pull others leg. Soon after the popularity of his song “I Protest”, Kash was subjected to a much hyped red-tapism by the local police. Kash says after the release of “I Protest ”, the studio where it was recorded was raided by the police and its officials were questioned from alpha to omega. After that Kash was not able to record any of his further songs. It seems that one of the stanzas from his song I Protest comes to life which goes like this:-
Freedom of speech is subjected to strangulation

Kash`s Revolution:
Roshan is not a rebel as he acknowledges - “Many People say that MC is an angry youngster. But I am not angry. I never write or sing in anger. Rather I am a sad person, sad at the heart-rending condition of my people. I only write or sing when I am sad in order to alleviate myself off this sadness.
Kash has tailored the traditional way of Kashmiri rap called “Ladishah” in a more effective way because Kash believes that Ladishah which is a cultural way to sing for civic concerns in Kashmir is not very popular among the present youth of Kashmir. Kash believes that with his way of English rap, he can reach a much a vast addressees round the globe saying English is an international language accepted by all. Kash has thus rightly brought a revolution so the apt term for him is not a rebel but an outspoken young Kashmiri who dared to speak the truth and tunes to it in his own way of Rapp and as such he likes to be tagged as a Revolutionist as he further comments-
Don’t tag me as a rebel. I am not that sacred to qualify for being a rebel; rather call me a revolutionist who has revolutionised the way of awaking the people of the happenings in Kashmir.”

Various Interviews:
MC was not only successful in earning an enumerate listeners but a colossal number of first rate news dailies and magazines. Various buzzwords for him by some publications include-
·      Kashmir rapper uses rhymes to protest Indian rule(ABG INSIDE KASHMIR
Friday, November 26, 2010)
·      Beats of bleak streets..A young Kashmiri rapper is keeping the protests alive in the Valley.(Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 48, Dated December 04, 2010)
·      Kashmir rapper uses rhymes to protest Indian rule (PTI)
·      Kashmir's Young Generation Expresses Frustration With Stalemate (Kurt Achin | Srinagar 08 November 2010)

His reverberations have crossed all the borders and people all across the globe like to be his fan-
followers. When interrogated about the various interviews published or aired about him, MC says he is not satisfied with most of them labelling him as a rabble-rouser, sacrilege anti-Indian or seditious. MC being a fan of peace-lover Gandhi and  Nelson Mandela  goes a way around and says he is philanthropic, favouring only the truth and his verses are truly secular as he goes in one of his
latest tracks “Bow to ground ”- 
"...Read Torah, Bible or the Holy Quran...
Be in Makah or Vatican, just pray for never doing no wrong...

MC`s handiwork only hold the truth he has experienced so far, what he has been witnessing from the time he started breathing in the suffocation of totalitarianism. In his words as he says-
My revolution comes out of the love for my people not at the hatred for others.”    

Other releases:
Besides I Protest his various other classics include-
“Moment of Truth”, “Beneath the Sky”, “Bow to the Ground”, “Freestyle” and “Feel it” and can be listened on the music website ReverbNation under his account MC Kash.

MC is not backed by anyone rather he is all alone in the tempest. Kash says he is completely an independent body and is not controlled by any outfit and believes this is his most optimistic point. He writes his songs himself, composes their beats and then sings them all by himself. Even he has to spend all his pocket-money in buying all the requisite stuff for engineering his tracks. The only people who support me are my parents, my friends and my kind fan says Kash.

 Upcoming Plans:
About his future releases, MC says he has winded up a folklore number that relates to the history of Kashmir in positive learning manner. In the words of MC-
Kashmiri youth is mostly unaware of their past. All they know is the awful past, subjugation and pain but there are a lot of cheerful and learning things to know about Kashmir. My aim is to present the happy face of old Kashmir to my brethren.
Kashmir was a land of LalaDed, Habba Khatoun, Zain-ul-Aabadeen, Shiekh Noor u Din Norani and the like intelligentsia. Kashmir is not all about blood and flames but a joyful and a peaceful paradise.

Further going MC says he is looking for a local producer to devise a new innovative folk-rock that combines Rap and kashmiri folk and that uses kashmiri instruments like Tumbakwari, Santoor and Nout(Pitcher).

 What does MC Kash stand for?
People have formulated many acronyms for MCKash like the one “My Country Kashmir”. In true MC is a short form of EMCEE meaning Master in ceremony or a host or an Entertainer. Kash says MC is commonly used by the rappers before their tag and the period Kash indicates it’s all about Kashmir. Kash further says he is now looking for a kashmiri tag for him.

Kash's Family:
Kash who belongs from a nuclear family says that all that concerns him is the safety of his family and that`s the only thing preventing him to proceed freely to his way of wonderland.
       Roshan`s dad, a retired doctor is happy for his son`s work and suggests him only to be smart enough not to talk any biased.
His mom, a school teacher feels very proud of her kid but at the same time she`s afraid about the safety of her child.
Being glad to be kash`s sib, Raunak illahi, a
M.B.B.S student says it`s very great to watch his little bro singing for his people.

Kash`s commendable effort not only paved a new way to bring truth to the front but acted as a springboard for the other young artists who can also resonate with Rapp like him. Many new MC`s are emerging following kash`s footsteps and are positively getting popular.   

No doubt for many of the Kash`s listeners it may seem hard to digest some of his verses but what he claims is the truth. Respecting the prolific talent of this young bard will be a much healthier preference rather than looking him through the tough lens otherwise. The valley of Kashmir has been a fountain head for many superlative artists. Moreover History has been a witness of the fact that Kashmir has been a hotbed for maestros from all across the globe. The crux of the matter is that in Kashmir, we need to enhance the young emerging talents like that of MC Kash in a positive and optimistic way rather strangulating the skill by mingling it with the dirty politics.        
Author is a Kashmiri Engineering Student at Kurukshetra University Haryana and can further be contacted at www.facebook.com/abdulwajid786