Tourism Department Ignores Local Artists, Prefers Outsiders, misrepresents Kashmiri Culture – ‘Kashmir News Trust (KNT)

Kashmir News Trust [KNT]

Kashmir Artists are up in arms against the government for failing to provide them with work opportunities. The Artists say they are jobless due to the indifferent policies of the government.

The Association of Light Music Artists of Kashmir has been expressing its resentment. The Association includes the Senior and Junior Artists, Singers and Musicians who have been for decades affiliated with the Kashmiri Light Music industry.

For these local artists, the DD Kashir and All India Radio Srinagar were the only sources of sustenance but the continuing long termination of production work in these stations has pushed them into despair. Besides these artists used to meet their ends by performing in the programs/events organized by various organizations like J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, Department of Information and Public Relations, and Department of Tourism.

However, following the abrogation of Special Status of Jammu and Kashmir and subsequently the emergence Covid 19 situation, these artists were deprived of their jobs and have been struggling to find work.


Although some programs are being organized by the present UT Government and other organizations the local artists hardly benefit from them. The artists alleged discrimination against the local talent and accused that outside artists remain the main beneficiaries of these events who are paid huge fees amounting to lakhs while the local artists get peanuts.

“The tourism department organized several events and brought artists from outside and a lot of money was incurred on these programs. It seems that the Tourism department has kept its resources for the disposal of outside artists and a couple of blue-eyed local artists who are booked for almost every event,” said Kaiser Nizami.
“What is more concerning is that favoritism and nepotism have marred Tourism Department where some selected event organizers are involved to organize cultural events”, he said.

These organizers bring low paid young artists to perform in these events and on the other hand extract a huge sum of bills from the Department.

The local artists also accused misrepresentation of Kashmiri culture in many of such events. Recently a Sufi Festival was organized by the UT Government and there was no portrayal of Kashmiri Sufi Music in the event.

“We have our unique style of Sufi Music and it can be showcased and promoted by local artists only. Bringing artists from outside to perform in the name of Sufi and other cultural events is a mockery of our culture” said another Artist Aijaz Sahir.

These local performing artists particularly musicians expressed anguish over the fact that the insensitivity of the Government has pushed them back to wall and they are struggling to survive.

The artists demanded the intervention of the LG  for the disposal of their issues and urged that the government should frame a policy for engaging and promoting the local musicians/ artists and safeguard their right to work,  give precedence to local artists in programs/ events organized by Government organizations at UT level, resume production works in local Radio and TV station to enable these artists to work with dignity, enhance the fee structure, and involve local artists for the meaningful promotion and dissemination of our Kashmiri culture.

These artists while putting forth their concerns expressed hope that Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha would reflect upon their genuine issues and resolve them in the interest of the artists’ fraternity. (KNT)


Neyaz Elahi

Neyaz Elahi, who switched from Electronic to Print Media is a Kashmir based Accredited Journalist who has written extensively on Kashmir for local, national and international web portals. He is currently associated with Srinagar based News Agency Kashmir News Trust (KNT).

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