The Dapper Rapper

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An aspirant for civil services from Kashmir raises awareness on drug addiction and other social evils through his raps

Bisma Manzoor
Baba Asrar, a Kashmiri teenager who was inspired by Punjabi singing sensation Yo Yo Honey Singh is now a popular rapper among his peers and creates rap videos to create awareness against drug abuse and other social evils.
Baba Asrar started rapping three years ago when he was 15. While in school, he was an active participant in all kinds of stage activities, which boosted his confidence. “Honey Singh was very popular some years ago, and I used to love to see him perform. I have been fond of writing poetry and hip-hop dancing since I was a child. Inspired by the singer, I decided to rap, and started with raps on my friends and family.”
Asrar is 18 now and is deeply saddened by the problem of drug addiction in society. “I realized that I can spread awareness among the youth by addressing drug addiction and other issues. I have been witnessing teens my age becoming drug addicts. This greatly saddened me, so I decided to address this issue. My heart breaks seeing the plight of parents whose children are in the claws of drug addiction. This addiction also pushes youngsters towards criminal behavior. I write on social evils to make the youth aware of the pitfalls, so that they steer their life in the right direction,” added Asrar.
The rapper hails from Wazbagh Chrar Sharief of Budgam, Kashmir. He grew up under the shadows of the holy shrine of Shaikh Noor-ud-din Wali. His father Shakeel Ahmad Baba works in Indian Technical Institute (ITI) and his mother Rafeeqa Akhtar is a home maker. Asrar has two siblings, a brother and a sister younger to him.
Asrar says he always wanted to do something different that would make his parents proud. “I chose to do something of my own, and soon I found myself as a free style rapper, ” said Asrar.

Rapping in Kashmir 

Rapping is still in the initial phase in Kashmir. Asrar says people do not really understand the art. “They tend to ignore the hard work and dedication that goes into creating good raps,” he points out. Sadly, Asrar has experienced humiliation and has been looked down upon by people who have said to him, “Ye tou koi bhi gaa sakta hai”. But his friends kept him motivated and uplifted his spirit, encouraging him to accomplish his dreams. With the support of friends and family, Asrar is now regarded as a role model among youngsters in his society. Asrar’s sister has started following his footsteps. She too loves to rap and sing.
 “I don’t rap for money or fame. I love to rap; it’s an attitude of self. I want our people to understand and explore the art of rapping. It is my way of expression and creating awareness among people of Kashmir,” he says.
Asrar aims to join the civil services. He has written almost 30 raps. Asrar wants to use his talent to convey the message to the youth that they should not involve themselves in any kind of activity that they may regret later. Asrar encourages the youth to do something productive and fruitful. He believes that parents are the greatest support for any child. “If they give the child their total love and encouragement at all times, the child will not choose the wrong path. Parents must give moral support and let the child confide in them so that that he doesn’t fall prey to any kind of undesirable activities like drugs, acid attacks, or rapes,” says Asrar.

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