An epitaph is being etched for music by the local government in Multan. Authorities have decided to close down the music department at Multan’s Bahauddin Zakariya University.
Teachers at the department see the closure as death of music. But who is responsible? Both poor infrastructure and lack of interest among students.
Whatever the reasons, local music lovers are sure of one thing: the move will have far reaching consequences for music.
“The future of folk music in the area comes under threat after the government’s decision,” says Surayyia Multanikar, folk singer who launched the department four years back.
The department was opened with the aim to preserve the rich heritage of music of the area.
“The region is rich in music tradition. The department was focusing on this wealth to train new singers and also do research in the field,” says Multanikar.
Multan College of Arts principal Zaffar Haider Gilani, however, blames “lack of interest among students” for the closure of the department.
“The varsity had no other option but to close the department. The number of students had gradually dropped to two from 30,” says Gilani.
On the contrary, Multanikar points fingers towards the flawed system for poor enrollment.
The varsity administration had only allowed graduate candidates to apply for admission to music classes.
“Formal education doesn’t matter as far as learning music is concerned. I have passed just Class 7th,” she added.
The varsity had also decided not to give admission to candidates belonging to professional singing families.
Will this be the concluding note for the music department?
Prof Riffat Abbas, coordinator of Swali, a local literary and cultural organization, commented the region had a rich tradition of music which could play a significant role in fighting extremism.
Terming closure of the department unfortunate, he alleged that certain elements in the university were against promotion of art and culture.