Celebrating The Spirit Of A Kashmiri Woman: Anshoo Tikoo Zutshi Part 7

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Anshoo Tikoo Zutshi is an artist and singer based in the Bay Area, California. Born in Delhi and raised outside of the region, her passion for music began in her childhood, and she has been performing as a lead singer since elementary school. She has won multiple awards and recognitions, including scholarships from SPIC MACAY. She had the opportunity to perform with singers like Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas, and Dr. L. Subramaniam. She is also a visual artist who creates modern, contemporary abstract works inspired by her Indian heritage, which have been displayed in local galleries and won awards at city art fairs.

Her love for singing and painting remained dormant for a while when she was relocated to Finland and then the US after getting married. She rediscovered her passion during a low point in her life when she was facing work authorization complications. She started uploading Kashmiri music content online and searching for local singing groups in the US. Her guru, Rita Sahai, invited her to perform as part of her choir at several music concerts in California. Thereafter, Anshoo started getting invites to perform at galas, private musical events, and Kashmiri community events. She also started painting more regularly, and pursuing her creative passions professionally began to take root.

A feminist who idolizes Kashmiri women who silently became the bedrock for their families and nurtured them back to prosperity. She was cast in the traditional and stereotypical mould of becoming a doctor or an engineer during her schooling and college, but she caught the express train to become a Physical Therapist. Only after she decided to pursue her creative passions full-time did she see a shift in attitudes. She believes it is essential to stay connected to one’s roots and carry forward the unique culture of Kashmir.

She likes to unplug from the internet’s firehose and take long walks to recharge herself. She enjoys reading books, community volunteering, cooking, and trying out new cuisines. She feels responsible for ensuring a continuation of Kashmiri culture and believes the most direct and significant contribution people can make is to teach their children the essence of the culture and how to live, continue, and enrich it further.

She speaks Kashmiri at home to teach her children the language fluently and celebrates all the festivals with them. She started teaching her daughter Kashmiri music since she was little and is proud to see her singing out old Koshur hymns and leelas with pride, ease, and confidence. During COVID, Anshoo volunteered to virtually teach Kashmiri children from all over the US and some in India folk songs and other music in Kashmiri.

This is something very important to me. I feel responsible to ensure a continuation of our Kashmiri culture. And in my opinion, the most direct and significant contribution we can make is to make it a part of the lives of our children, teach our kids the essence of our culture, teach them how to live, continue and hopefully enrich it further.  We speak Kashmiri at home so our children can pick and speak it fluently. We celebrate all the festivals and keep our children involved. I have fond memories of Shivratri and I want my children to have the same. I started teaching my daughter Kashmiri music since she was little and am very encouraged to see her belting out old Koshur hymns and leelas with pride, ease and confidence.