Iqra Nisar and Anam Nasir love to rap but they must face being vilified in their native Kashmir for pursuing this passion.
In the male dominated society of Kashmir, female rappers are often accused of spreading “vulgar western culture”. Iqra Nisar is 17-years old and performs under the stage name “Yung Illa”. Anam Nasir is a 19-year-old rapper who likes being rebellious. The two of them are among the first female hip-hop artists in the region. Even though Anam’s parents object to her being a professional rapper and Iqra faces condemnation from peers, they both stay true to their passion. They are both role models for other young rappers who dare to break with rigid social expectations.
A report by Akanksha Saxena.
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They are young and they are restless You can be killed for doing this they can shoot you for it you’ll die today or tomorrow so they can do what they please I’ll start a revolution here tomorrow girls will be inspired by me and say they want to be like Annie and they are unstoppable meet the first
Generation of female rappers from kashmiras in the picture perfect but gum District of Indian administered Kashmir most people have never heard of rap let alone of a woman doing it who goes by the name of Annie is 19 years old and a local rap artist she’s had to learn the skill from scratch
I didn’t know what rap was I hadn’t even really heard any I didn’t have a clue about rappers or how to go about rapping her interest was first peaked by TV shows I was writing then I took some YouTube tutorials on wrapping what’s a verse what’s a chorus what a
Triplets what a bars it took me time to understand it all she burst onto the scene in 2020 as a pop rapper and soon gained popularity among young online audiences however her success came alongside challenges when I tell my parents about rapping they flatly refused to allow me to do it
They said this isn’t something that girls go into what will Society say undeterred Annie write songs that take aim at the very same Society She has been subjected to Serious trolling and has received death threats in response to her work they told me because I’m from Kashmir they troll me because I am a girl they troll me because I’m a rapper girls are trolled everywhere even if they’re not rappers when a man works till late
People say what a hard-working man but when a woman does the same they say she has a bad character if she has to work at night what kind of work is it A few miles toward India’s de facto border with Pakistan is ikranisar’s home in the district of baramulla ikranisar who goes by the stage name Young Ila is only 17. despite her young age she has already experienced a great deal of conflict in one of the world’s most heavily militarized zones In 2016 a militant called Bohan Vani was killed by Indian Security Forces when I heard about what happened to him I decided to write a lot was going on in Kashmir at the time and I expressed that I didn’t write anything wrong about anyone just the truth about my brothers
Things about the kashmiri people’s long-standing desire for freedom Although ikra has received warnings she continues to rap about human rights atrocities crackdowns and curfews in the restive region I used to be scared people would say the Indian army will come to your house they will pick you up I was afraid and thought I should stop
Then I remembered that I must write must feel whatever I am witnessing I must write so that’s what I’m doing I write what I see and what I feel many people particularly in this conservative Muslim dominated area consider rapper Annie’s style of music to be an Islamic
I don’t think rapping is a good thing for girls to be doing this isn’t appropriate in Islam when somebody comes in the Limelight others will start following in 2022 a young female Tick Tock blogger was killed by suspected radical islamists in the same district I can’t sleep at night it buses in my
Ears they say leave this rap and focus on your religion if you’re presenting art and they say you’re doing something wrong they’re being hypocritical because they listen to music themselves if you have such a huge problem don’t listen to our songs we’re not forcing you to stalk
Us or listen to our music they want to troll they want to stalk and they also want to see rapper Annie’s work is an act of defiance but she wants people to understand why she’s doing it the message of this song is that listeners should open their hearts to
What we want to say understand our struggles why we rap why our pens can’t stop also learned her craft alone I do old school rap freestyle boom bap and I’ve started doing a bit of drill her debut was replete with challenges mostly because there was no one around
To inspire her without the help of Studios or equipment she records the songs and uploads them to social media her mother is her loyal cheerleader support no one has supported my rap career more than my mother she accompanies me wherever I go I don’t like people to say bad things
About me like oh where’s she off to alone it’s not in the culture here people talk they say she’s venturing out what’s she up to so I always take my mother along Wherever I Go her father is against it but because I go with her he has to agree
He doesn’t like her rapping he agrees to it because of me I don’t listen they say she has talent let her go out because these days there’s no difference between boys and girls kashmiri Society thinks it’s okay for a boy to go out but a girl should sit at home
Girls and boys are equals always has my support and she will always have my support till I die then after that it’s her destiny Annie isn’t so fortunate her parents aren’t supportive of her chosen path but she Rebels against them many young girls in the neighborhood look up to her
I’ll start a revolution here tomorrow girls will be inspired by me and say they want to be like Annie Annie and young Ela have traveled from their hometowns to Srinagar the capital of Indian administered Kashmir they are attending an underground Gathering of kashmiri rappers called ciphonama Hip Hop the girls participate in beatboxing battles with boys sometimes they have to raise their voices to be heard ikra’s Mom’s here too Spectators Gathering or to listen to the girls rapping their tears and hoods of appreciation from the audience these underground events In these gatherings they’re also there’s a tendency to ostracize these female artists because when men get together and there is a clash of their masculinities through all the slurs and cuss words coming in in the form of their art form uh imbibed with the art form uh suddenly you turn invisible to
Rappers female rappers like Annie and ikra kashmiri wrap now plays a recognized role in the regions resistance movements who raps about the political situation in Kashmir also points to another problem you won’t get any Duff here just because there is no industry No Labels are here who would take you up
And you will get some money so yeah you are doing it it’s more like a passion in the male-dominated rap arena and fighting a number of challenges stacked against them are breaking one glass ceiling at a time and before long others will follow in their wake you know these female rappers are a
Testimony to the fact that there are kashmiri female rappers in their rooms writing and wrapping they are people like Annie mehek ikra they are they are actually giving you a small glimpse of how there are empty number of girls out there who are who are writing they’re just not out yet I’ll break your bones I got this I’m a fire alone
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