Music is a way to worship your soul. Many musicians around the world are creating unique pieces of music everyday and celebrating whole life like a festival. But even after so many beautiful pieces of music that we have around the world, society does not recognise the singers and musicians the way they deserve. Musicians around the world struggle their way up to life to make their living and earn a little name.

Although the global music industry has been recognising the artists for quite a while now, still there are places around the world where music is a sin. Such is a scenario of Kabul, the capital territory of Afganistan. The country is dominated by Taliban thought mentality and people believe that Performing Musical Arts is a “Haram” (Crime in Islamic Religion).  

From among such people for whom music is a sin, a group of ladies has developed the only orchestra in the town. The group consists of 30 ladies who are part of the orchestra which goes by the name “Zohra” (Meaning, A Piece of Jewellery).

Jarifa Abida, who is the leader of the orchestra tells that her society considers music as a sin, but when she got to roam the world, she understood that it is divine deed to create and play music. She tells that the society that they are part of considers the people, especially a woman, to be a sinner if he/she plays, learns or composes music. They are either burnt in the streets or are tied and pelted with stones, until their last breath.

“I Joined the ANIM (Afghanistan National Institute of Music) in 2014. I did not even tell my family about it because they would not support because of societal pressure. People in our society do not behave nicely with girls who are learning music. Once, I went to Yale University in America, to perform in a summer programme. From the experience I had there, I realised that perception of people towards music is so different than the one that I have seen in my country. “ tells Jarifa.

After that, she created Zohra Orchestra, the first-ever women orchestra of Afghanistan, After a year, her friend, Nagina Khiplawak also joined her and they started managing and conducting the orchestra together. The all-women orchestra consists of around 30 girls between 13 to 20 years age only. Most of them are from poor families. Up till now they have earned lots of name around the world and have been praised a lot for their work and dedication for music.

On the 19th and the 20th of January 2019, 35 Zohra girls performed at the stage of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The hall was crowded with around 3000 people which included CEOs from many countries.

These women have adopted the tune of the flute, the tabla thumb, the guitar tunes and the melodious tone of the violin in their life. Going against their society’s fundamentalism, these women are a true example of bravery.

Story of Jafira Abida has been an inspiration for those who receive criticism for whatever they love to do. It may be an art, any passion or profession, but if you love it, you should work for it day and night and never let the hopes and dreams fall down.

May you have a Happy World Music Day.