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Young Afghan pianist Arson Fahim says musicians are afraid of Taliban and hiding instruments

Arson Fahim, a young Afghan pianist, who performs world over, is worried about the fate of music and musicians with Taliban assuming control of Afghanistan

Worried just like others about his family and friends in Afghanistan now that Taliban has taken over with the departure of United States forces, Arson Fahim, is also worried about what will happen to music and his musician friends there.

The pianist, conductor and composer, who is just 21, is in US, Boston, to study piano and composition on scholarship but is extremely worried on account of his family, including parents, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. In constant touch with them, he keeps himself updated about the situation in Afghanistan.

Talking to TNN he said: “I speak with them. They (family) are fine as of now. But the situation in Kabul is not good at all. It is like we are returning to the Stone Age once again. Taliban are claiming that they have changed. But I don’t believe them. They are like a dark force. There will be restrictions on women, education will stop and there will be a ban on music.”

Worried about music now that Taliban have seized power, Fahim recalls the period between 1996 and 2001 when Taliban banned music in Afghanistan.

“Earlier, we saw them breaking and burning musical instruments. They killed artists. Recently, they killed a comedian. My musician friends have started hiding their musical instruments far away from their house so that when the Taliban conduct raids, they find nothing. It is heart-breaking to see that in the 21st Century, when we have so much technology around us, you have to hide something as beautiful as music.”

Fahim has performed all over the world, including Bengaluru and Udhagamandalam, and is an Ambassador for Peace at the South Asian Symphony Orchestra (SASO).

Project SASO has been put together by former Indian Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao with her retired civil servant husband, Sudhakar. It has more than 70 musicians hailing from Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and India, as well as some from their diaspora.

Fahim is keen to return to his homeland once his studies are over. He told the media: “Once I'm done with my studies, I want to go back home to my family and help build my country. If they silence our music today, they will silence our voice tomorrow. We all are very scared about it. But we will have to continue our music. We will have to speak up and help our country.”