A Little Backstory
Save the Sitar aims to create a thriving culture of Pakistani classical music that will remain true to its roots while having a strong worldwide presence.
Save the Sitar will
- rejuvenate the waning government and public interest in Pakistani classical music.
- bring together governmental and non-governmental organizations to empower musicians.
- encourage and provide opportunities to people to learn authentic Pakistani classical music.
- archive the rich classical music tradition of Pakistan.
It’s human nature to get lost in an unhealthy dose of nostalgic sentimentality, especially with our lofty goals in mind. However, we pride ourselves for having our feet firmly on the ground with quantifiable achievements: we have archived the life experiences of 16 musicians, a treasure trove of exclusive knowledge that otherwise would have been lost forever. Videos related to this oral history project have gained over 60,000 views! We’ve been featured on BBC Urdu and Dawn, delivering our message to a wide audience.
Save the Sitar was founded in September 2019 when we (i.e. the brothers Muneeb and Mubeen Irfan Chaudhary) were inspired by a visit to Lahore’s Androon Shehr. We had gone to buy some music instruments and were shocked by the miserable conditions of musicians who had fallen on hard times. Their bitterness against the government and society, whose active and passive actions had destroyed their community and art, was palpable. Appalled by the situation, we resolved to help them with the encouragement of our parents, and Save the Sitar was born. In November 2019, we interviewed Tanveer Hussain, an elderly blind musician, for our first post, which was published in January 2020.
Muneeb is 17 years old and has loved playing the tabla and harmonium ever since he started in seventh grade. A true hypocrite, he spends more time listening to Western classical music than its South Asian counterpart and also plays the piano. Between his A Level classes and squash sessions, he always finds the time for Save the Sitar. He likes to say that he’s been the main driving force behind the website, despite Mubeen’s objections to this haughty claim.
Mubeen is 14 years old and started playing the tabla in fifth grade. He suggested the name of Save the Sitar (which everyone agrees is clearly better than the alternative of Rescue the Raag) and is considered to be the resident factotum. He enjoys reading, weaving date leaf baskets, making puppets and playing squash.
Save the Sitar is a website dedicated to promoting and preserving Pakistan’s classical music. Join our growing community to help further our cause!
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