Naeem Dilpul is a civil officer, lecturer and most famously known as the singer of “Arz-e-Kana”. He was born on 26 June, 1991 in Turbat, Balochistan. He holds a Master’s degree in linguistics from Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad and Master of Philosophy (Mphil) in Applied Linguistics from University of Management and Technology (UMT) Lahore.
Q: Tell us about your journey starting from Turbat to NCA, and ultimately making it to Patari?
ND: Never had I perceived that I would somehow start from Turbat, come to Lahore and make a song (that would go famous). It all started back in 2006 when I started taking English language classes at the Delta Academy Turbat, and later become an English teacher at the same academy. That’s when books became my interest and created a whole new vision towards life, and so I decided that I wanted to accomplish something in life. I aspired to become a writer and at that time in the academy I gained exposure to song and scriptwriting. That’s when my interest in music sparked. Later, I joined the Quaid e Azam University where I gained further exposure in singing while performing with Mansoor Kazi (current AC Multan). With all this experience, making an original song of my own composition remained in my unconsciousness, which finally came out when I came to Lahore.
Eventually, I came to Lahore for Mphil and later found myself among the visiting faculty at NCA, while today I am among the permanent faculty. I took a lot of inspiration from people around me in NCA and started working on Arz-e-Kana that was eventually took up by Patari, and today people in Pakistan know me as the singer of Arz-e-Kana.
Q: Being a teacher at NCA, how do you see the representation of Balochistan in Arts?
ND: At NCA, I came to acknowledge many other artists from Balochistan who are either studying or working there. Some that I can name quickly are Ahmed Baloch, Jamil Baloch, Akram Dost and many others. The students of Balochistan are equally creative and hardworking as of other provinces, which gives me more encouragement to work towards my creative ideas with them.
Q: What inspires your art?
ND: It is god-gifted and comes from within. Ever since my childhood, I have been fond of music and by the age of 15 I was quite mature with my interest in it by taking help from poetry. I was always encouraged by the appreciation I received from the people whenever I used to sing, which was always situational. The one thing that I can affirm firmly is that I never wanted to sing for fame. I wanted my music to convey a message to the people and that is what inspires my music the most. I can say that my own existence is an inspiration for me as well, along with a few fellow artists who are doing great job in the music industry. Legendary artists like AR Rehman and Kishore Kumar inspire my art greatly and I usually put myself in their shoes to think of new ideas.
Q: How was the feedback on Arz-e-Kana from within and outside Balochistan?
ND: Overwhelmingly, the response was extraordinary both from within and outside the province. The faculty at NCA was extremely appreciative of it along with fellows in Lahore. I had expected a little backlash from people in Balochistan since it was a risky song with a fusion of Balochi and Kathak Dance, but to my surprise we did not receive any insignificant criticism. It went out extremely well with the audience.
Q: What are your future plans to promote Balochistan as an integral part of Pakistan?
ND: I have worked extensively on my academic thesis regarding dealing with language barriers faced by the students of Balochistan, who visit other parts of Pakistan to study and are unable to submerge in new cultures. Similarly, a song of mine currently in writing is a fusion of poetry of Baba Bulleh Shah (Punjabi Sufi poet) and Mast Tawakali (Baloch Sufi poet), where Mast Tawakali is inviting Baba Bulleh Shah to visit the surreal land of Balochistan. The message of the song is coexistence of different beautiful cultures in Pakistan. The song is still under work and will be out in the near future.
Q: What hampers the talent of Balochistan from coming out into the mainstream and what are your suggestions to overcome the gap?
ND: Over the years, I have realized that any quality work that you do will be acknowledged anywhere around the globe, be it Pakistan or Balochistan. It is a misconception that Balochistan lacks cultural representation in the country. There is a lot of work being done in the province in the field of music in many different genres, which needs to be acknowledged by artists within and outside the province. Balochistan has great potential to produce songs that can create an international impact. It is the responsibility of our people to break barriers and come out with their talents, and the government to facilitate them.
Q: Message for the youth?
ND: In whatever we want to accomplish, hard work and honesty is all that we need to incorporate in our lives. There are no shortcuts in life, it is all about working smart with uprightness and dedication. Arz-e-Kana could not have been possible without constant hard work of one and a half years, topped with rectitude and time that we had put into the project’s audio and video.
Interview by: Fajar
Questions by: Hamna Malik