I recently gave a keynote at an event organized by Pakistani-American Cultural Center in Silicon Valley, CA, USA.
The subject was Pakistani culture and music.
Here are some of the salient points of the presentation:
Importance of Music and Culture:
-Music Helps Define Each Nation’s Culture and Identity
-Culture Helps Project Soft Power and Softer Image of a Nation
-Soft Power is Often More Effective Than Hard Power...It's easier to resist a military invasion and much harder to resist a cultural invasion.
-Neglect of Music and Entertainment Leaves Undesirable Vacuum Often Filled By Unwelcome Alien Influences
- Origins of Indo-Persian Culture and Music:
-Sufi Saint Hazrat Amir Khusro 1253-1325.
- If Music Were Un-Islamic, then Khusro, a Devout and Pious Muslim Follower of Nizamuddin Aulia, Would Not Be a Musician.
-Defining Artists and Songs of Each Decade
-North Indians and Pakistanis Share a Common Heritage of Indo-Persian Culture.
-Our Indo-Persian is heavily influenced by Persian-speaking Muslims From Central Asia
13th Century Sufi Saint Hazrat Amir Khusro’s Name Stands Out For His Key Contributions:
- Khusro Introduced Khayal and Tarana
- Khusro Invented Split Version of Tabla ( from Arabic word tabl, meaning drum) and Modern Sitar (from Persian Seh Tar, meaning three strings.)
- Harmonium Was Invented Later By the French in 18th Century
- Khusro Considered Father of Qawwali
- First Pakistani Film Teri Yad Released in 1948.
- Noor Jehan’s First Film Dupatta, Released in 1952, Became a Hit in India and Pakistan.
- Pakistani Film Industry Thrived As Many New Movie Theaters Opened With Growing Number of Viewers.
- Radio Pakistan Promoted Many Artists and Musicians…Noor Jahan and Mehdi Hasan Among Them
- Birth of Pakistan TV (PTV) in 1964
- New Music & Entertainment Shows on PTV Promoting Ghazal and Geet Singers.
- Film Armaan, Released in 1966, Gave Birth to Pakistani Pop Music Genre
- Popular Armaan Team of Suhail Rana, Mala and Ahmad Rushdi Inspired New Generation of Music Lovers.
- Sohail Rana’s “Kalyon Ki Mala” Children’s TV Show Spawned Young Artists Like Nazia and Zoheb.
- Growth of TV and Birth of the VCR Hurt Movie Theaters Business in 1970s.
- 1980s Started With Sohail Rana’s Student Nazia Hasan’s Disco Diwane
- Gen Zia ul Haq Ordered Headscarves on PTV in 1980s
- Music and Entertainment Suppressed on PTV
- Vital Signs Band Formed, Allowed to Sing Dil Dil Pakistan as Patriotic Music.
- Vital Signs’ Pop Music Spurred Middle Class Youth Culture in Pakistan
- Over 100 TV Channels Catering to Different Tastes During Musharraf Years 2001-2008
- Channels Devoted to News, Religion, Music, Fashion, Sports, Cooking, Etc
- Growth in Music & Entertainment Shows Spawning New Talent
- Gao Celebrity Ban Jao (Pakistani version of American Idol)
-Nachle (Dance Competition)
-Coke Studio (Regional and Sufi Music)
Here is a 3-part video of my presentation at PACC: