YouTube is a showcase at best -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

YouTube is a showcase at best

By: Arshad mehmood

Arshad Mehmood is critical of the apathy of state organisations as well as the general public towards archiving our local and regional music. Personally, he is happy to have kept his penchant for classical music alive by transferring it over time from LPs and cassettes to CDs and DVDs.

Mahmood believes there is no other option before us but to welcome and adopt all the new technologies being used for archiving music, “I had a collection of old music records on LPs and cassettes so I knew that I had to transfer them on CDs and DVDs or else I would lose it.”

The music maestro makes another important point: “Archiving is important not just because it enables us to enjoy music or drama from the times gone by, it would also, in the same way, help our future generations to know about things we would like them to know about, such as our changing culture, society, and history, etc.”

He gives an example of the letters that Ghalib wrote. “In one of his letters, kept in the archives, Ghalib talks about the letter-box. He expresses his surprise by describing the letter-box as one ‘open-mouthed box’ that has replaced the official at the post office. This gives us an interesting glimpse into the bard’s times and how the new ways were replacing the old.”

Mehmood regrets our lack of attention towards archiving, “We don’t have, for instance, old photographs of Queen Victoria’s statue that was removed from the Charing Cross in Lahore at some point in the 1950s because we perhaps believed it to be our national obligation to remove every symbol of the British Raj. But we do have a glimpse of it in one of Mussarrat Nazir’s films.”

He is not very happy about the state institutes’ approach to archiving, “I hope Radio Pakistan Lahore is archiving its work. We have had, for instance, EMI that keeps records of things. One Lutfullah Khan in Karachi is noted for having done some wonderful archiving. Besides, there may be only some individual efforts in that direction.”

According to Mahmood, websites like YouTube are not meant or designed to archive things, “YouTube is at best a showcase where you can find a lot of old and new works. I also find some of my work on it. But this is not in any way a substitute for proper archiving.”

He is somewhat satisfied about having done his best to archive his melodies and other works, “I have tried to archive music from the early 1970s to the present day. So, when I am no more, you will have my work properly archived in the form of CDs and DVDs.”

The News