In 1996, a group of four girls broke a centuries-old convention when they started learning Sufiyana music, a classical Persian genre of music which Kashmir adopted after Persian Sufi saints started visiting the region.
A music school named after legendary Sufiyana maestro Ustad Ghulam Mohammed Qaleenbaf began training the girls at a time when guns roared in every corner of the region.
‘‘Despite the unprecedented unrest, I received support from everyone who came to know of my initiative,’’ said Sheikh Mohammed Yaqoob, Qaleenbaf’s grandson.
Bhat, the sociologist, said nobody objected to the initiative ‘‘perhaps because they stayed within a tradition that does not contest the present-day political realities here.’’
‘‘The tension between modern and traditional is in every society. But what exemplifies this in a conflict situation like Kashmir is its motivated politicization,’’ he said.
Mattoo, the manager, did not hide his anger.
‘‘I know it from my last eight years’ experience that we could have easily dealt with the online abuse,’’ Mattoo said. ‘‘We were failed by the government-run mufti, who asked us to forget our music and declared our band against the religion,’’ he said.