Rap music is relatively new to heavily militarised Kashmir. Rap music culture emerged in 2010 following long protests triggered by the killing of a 17-year-old boy, Tufail Ahmad Mattoo, by the Indian police. A rap song ‘I Protest’ (Remembrance) written by Kashmiri rapper MC Kash on state violence and occupation became a protest anthem during that time.
Since then, many talented Kashmiris have started performing rap music to express themselves. However, the rap music scene was mostly dominated by men until Mehak Ashraf, the first female rapper from Kashmir, performed her music in public.
Note: The article title is a translated lyric, ‘Qalam rukne ka naam na le’ [My pen doesn’t stop], from Mehak Ashraf’s song.
Reporter: Sajad Hameed
Camera: Sajad Hameed and Umer Asif
Edit: Umer Asif