23 August, 2014 / Shawwal 26, 1435

A good 'Sign' in Srinagar

In a region where the boom of guns and bombs has drowned out all sounds for almost 20 years, a cacophony of melodies from guitar and drums is now sweeping Kashmir's war-weary youngsters with a message of love and peace. “Sign - the signature of music” is rock band with four members born at the peak of conflict, and are now in the age group of 17 and 18 years. The members said the purpose of its music is to try to erase the scars and spread the message of love and peace. The armed revolt against India's rule in Kashmir has killed tens of thousands of people since 1989. But with time, the militants' hold over daily life has lifted, a single cinema has reopened, traditional theater and music are being revived. The band, which began performing in 2008 to small audiences, saw a rise in people attending their shows which correlated with a fall in violence. Overall violence has ebbed in Kashmir since India and Pakistan which claim the region in full and rule in parts began a peace process in 2004, officials say. Encouraged by the response, the multilingual band -- which performs in English, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi - claims to be a professional band. The band, its members mostly dressed in western outfits, performs shows for NGOs, government agencies and charities in between their studies. - Text and photos by Reuters.

Band ?Sign - the signature of music? (R-L) guitarist Zahoor Qadir, 18, guitarist and lead singer Qassam Dar, 18, drummer Muneeb Khan, 17, and guitarist Azan Mullick, 18, arrive to perform on stage at a college in Srinagar.
Band ?Sign - the signature of music? (R-L) guitarist Zahoor Qadir, 18, guitarist and lead singer Qassam Dar, 18, drummer Muneeb Khan, 17, and guitarist Azan Mullick, 18, arrive to perform on stage at a college in Srinagar.
Members of the band ?Sign - the signature of music? (L-R) guitarist Zahoor Qadir, 18, drummer Muneeb Khan, 17, and guitarist and lead singer Qassam Dar, 18, take part in a jamming session in Srinagar October.
Members of the band ?Sign - the signature of music? (L-R) guitarist Zahoor Qadir, 18, drummer Muneeb Khan, 17, and guitarist and lead singer Qassam Dar, 18, take part in a jamming session in Srinagar October.
Band ?Sign - the signature of music? (L-R) guitarist Zahoor Qadir, 18, guitarist and lead singer Qassam Dar, 18, guitarist Azan Mullick, 18, and drummer Muneeb Khan, 17, (unseen) perform on stage at a college in Srinagar.
Band ?Sign - the signature of music? (L-R) guitarist Zahoor Qadir, 18, guitarist and lead singer Qassam Dar, 18, guitarist Azan Mullick, 18, and drummer Muneeb Khan, 17, (unseen) perform on stage at a college in Srinagar.
Members of the band ?Sign - the signature of music? (L-R) guitarist Zahoor Qadir, 18, drummer Muneeb Khan, 17, guitarist and lead singer Qassam Dar, 18, and guitarist Azan Mullick, 18, record a song at Azan's home in Srinagar.
Members of the band ?Sign - the signature of music? (L-R) guitarist Zahoor Qadir, 18, drummer Muneeb Khan, 17, guitarist and lead singer Qassam Dar, 18, and guitarist Azan Mullick, 18, record a song at Azan's home in Srinagar.

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