Tune in to Kashmir

Aug 17, 2018, 10:20 IST | Suman Mahfuz Quazi

Mumbai-based artist collective takes storytelling to Kashmir and brings on board a radio jockey who struggled with speech impairment

Tune in to Kashmir
Nasir Ali Khan

When we finally get through to Nasir Ali Khan, we want to skip the pleasantries and ask, "What is it like to be a radio jockey in Kashmir?" But we dilly-dally and instead, ask him about his upcoming performances at storytelling events in Srinagar and Baramulla over the weekend, organised by Mumbai-based artist collective, Kommune.

Speaking of why they decided to go to Kashmir, the platform's director of strategy, Hari Sankar says, "I think we decided to take our storytelling culture to Kashmir because there was no precedent for it there and we wanted to change that."

Khan, too is trying to change things in his hometown with his breakfast impact show which tries to address the myriad social, political and economic issues that are plaguing the torn state, ranging from female infanticide to drug addiction. "With the work I do, I try to provide an outlet for people, and especially women, to express themselves or seek help," he says.

Though he's proud of what he does today, radio jockeying didn't come easy to Khan. "I used to stammer till I was 17," he shares. "I would get bullied a lot but one day, I decided to change everything around me. It began with changing my school after 10th standard. There I met and interacted with more people and began participating in activities. I changed my name, too, so that I could say it without stammering. I began taking ownership of my identity and slowly became confident.

Today, I talk for a living," he reveals. And then we finally ask the question we'd been waiting to — "What is it like to be a radio jockey in Kashmir?" Khan laughs. "It's not easy," he says laconically, adding, "It's a long story; maybe next time."

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