From Toting Guns to Making Music: Here’s Altaf Mir’s Story

The Sufiana Mehfil singer’s folk songs were lost in the sound of roaring guns as insurgency crippled Kashmir.

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Video Editor: Vishal Gupta

‘Ha Gulo’, the new song from Coke Studio Pakistan sung by ‘Qasamir’, has charmed music lovers across the globe. Lead singer Altaf Mir’s mother is ecstatic watching her son perform.

Watch the song here:

Altaf Mir’s is one remarkable story of struggle and sorrow. The Kashmiri Sufiana Mehfil singer’s folk songs were once overpowered by the sounds of roaring guns as insurgency crippled Kashmir.

One night, he left his home and crossed over to Pakistan, trading his mic for an AK-47. He joined al Umar, an urban militant organisation.

From 1990 to 2015, Mir remained completely out of touch with his family. Except in 1995, when he turned up at his home for two hours only to leave again. The fear of the Ikhwan – a government-backed counter-insurgency group in Kashmir – was pervasive at the time. He escaped to Pakistan again.

When he went back, he pursued his love for music. He started to rediscover his passion for Kashmiri folk music and founded his band ‘Qasamir’.

In 2017, Coke Studio Pakistan discovered the band and decided to feature their song ‘Ha Gulo’ for their 2018 Explorer edition. They were looking for a Kashmiri singer and they found the perfect one in Mir.

‘Ha Gulo Tohi Ma Sa Wuchwan Yaar Meon’ is a classic penned by noted Kashmiri poet Ghulam Ahmad Mehjoor.

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