In the rhythmic echoes of artistic Kashmir, where chaos has painted the canvas for years, a heartfelt melody emerges, titled Golabaw.
Crafted by Ahmed Parvez, a perceptive artist with a Masters in Peace and Conflict studies, this video song delicately weaves into the musical tapestry—bringing forth a message of hope in times of hardship.
Against the backdrop of a desolate city, the song begins with the plaintive notes, “Gulabaw sooz meti akh dael, yath wearaan shahras manz” (Roses have sent me a gift / In this desolate city).
The video unfolds with the pure innocence of a girl surrounded by nature, her joy colliding with the harsh reality of sightlessness upon waking.
Ahmad, the creative force behind Golabaw, shares that the song is an exploration of hope, specifically how a blind person, who could once see, can now only see things when they dream.
The lyrics of the song, written by Poet-Anthopolgist Ather Zia, deeply resonate with the audience: “Onun brunh beyi suuy manzar, khonni lalwaan yetan Jehlum, Dal’an zaneh beyi be kodnass sael, Yath wearaan shahras manz” (The vision before me is Jhelum, again, rocking me in its arms / Dal, once again is taking me on a journey, in this desolate city).
As Ahmad sings these lines, his thoughts turn to the young girl who has forever lost her ability to see.
Echoing the poignant lyrics, the girl in the video—initially in a dream state—reflects the plight of her young tribe: “Aenin chesman diwaan chuss zael, yath wearaan shahras manz, tem dopnum az te kad’hem khael, yath wearaan shahras manz” (I take my blinded eyes, in this desolate city. Will you leave me barehanded today too?).
It’s then that a symbolic character responsible for the girl’s lack of sight emerges on the scene.
Unsatisfied with her condition, the devil seeks to deepen her distress. A red scarf, signifying impending danger, becomes a recurring motif. Yet, amidst the darkness, Golabaw carries a powerful message of resilience.
Co-Director Saba Tanzeel explains, “We wanted the words to match the visuals perfectly. Eventually, we settled on the colour red as a symbolic motif, representing not only rage and anguish but also the profound concept of blood itself.”
The red scarf, a symbol of death, ultimately envelops the girl, but she survives. Though the trauma lingers, a survivor she remains, adorned with the undying grace of hope.
Saba added, “We delved deep into each line of the poem to craft a cinematic experience. For instance, the phrase “Yath wearan shahras manz” (In this desolate city) inspired us to portray wires juxtaposed with delicate flowers, to highlight the irony of the situation.”
Ahmad finds artistic nourishment in Iranian cinema, drawing profound inspiration from the cinematic brilliance of Majid Majidi and Abbas Kiarostami.
“Iranian filmmakers ingeniously employ child characters, as children are the potent symbols of innocence,” he observes. “This insight guided my choice to feature a fourteen-year-old girl in the video, symbolising the enduring resilience of innocence in the face of adversity.”
With over 9000 views on YouTube, Golabaw has resonated strongly with its audience. “I made the video with a specific situation in mind, but it’s amazing to see how everyone feels their own connection,” Ahmad shared.
In the heart of Kashmir, Golabaw isn’t merely a melody; it’s an emotional symphony, echoing far beyond the musical notes.