Zubin Mehta’s concert exhilarates Kashmir imbroglio
Annie Gowen writes (Washington Post, September 06, 2013), "What began as a nice idea by Zubin Mehta and some German diplomats to promote peace in this war-scarred region has instead wound up generating more animosity, a sign of the divisions in a land that has been bitterly contested by India and Pakistan since partition in 1947". DNA India reports that Maestro Mehta quipped that "I didn’t choose Kashmir, Kashmir chose me" brushing aside controversies over his concert in Kashmir and hoped for the blessings of the people of Kashmir. However, people expected Maestro Mehta to utter few words of sympathy for six young men killed in cold blood only a few miles away from his chosen place of performance.
The recent intermittent Kashmir ceasefire violations of land and air by India, perhaps out of political compulsion, created an embarrassing situation as UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon made his presence felt by a panic visit to Pakistan. The Secretary General sent out strong signals that world community could not afford any military adventure especially when the warring factions were equipped with lethal nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
Pakistan’s apprehensions about a threat of war at the peak, downplayed the incident when Indian air-force violated Pakistan’s airspace and Pakistan Foreign Office quickly responded by saying that Indian air-force had crossed over "by mistake". Pakistan, all know under its precarious internal situation, can ill-afford any military engagement foreboding catastrophic consequences. The political jingoism coupled with bellicose chauvinism displayed by India is the direct result of trepidation on account of new bonded relationship between China and Pakistan and Kashmir emerging again on centre-stage on international level.
The track-record of Indian action at times frustratingly forces it to commit political blunders by inventing new strategies to eclipse new developments about Kashmir imbroglio. The idea of maestro Zubin Mehta show arranged in a jiffy also backfired and even blemished maestro’s international image. There is hardly anyone in Kashmir who recognizes and understands Mehta’s music as Kashmiri Sufiana spiritual and melody music has its own standing and is world famous. Under the circumstances, it is not difficult to contemplate Indian irritation and anxiety to go berserk for its unfulfilled political needs.
BBC Asia, Geeta Pandey (September 06, 2013) quotes Indian-born Parsi Zubin Mehta who described his concert named as Ehsas-e Kashmir or Feeling of Kashmir as a "dream come true situation". Mehta added that "through this concert he wanted to reach the hearts of Kashmiris with a hope and encouragement". But the maestro failed to ask the question: Where the populace to be reached had vanished? However, he was content to perform in picturesque Shalimar Mogul garden of Kashmir before a select audience of Indian business magnates airlifted in their private jets to enjoy maestro’s outstanding musical notes.
Srinagar Municipal Park the venue for Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir or Reality of Kashmir a parallel event organised by Kashmir’s youth had a twin purpose. Initially to convey the Indian attempt to mislead the world about political reality and at the same time create awareness, a reminder that Kashmir maintains its own centuries old tradition of spiritual Sufiana music, love poems and folklore with a support base of rich poetry.
Kashmir has a variety of instruments like Santoor and Saaz-e-Kashmir unique to its collection sending listener into ecstasy and exaltation. Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir went ahead but was cordoned off by Indian army. Kashmiris in public garden in unison sang poetic descriptions of atrocities committed on them by Indian army and performed skits to remind each other tearfully and emotionally about their dead mercilessly butchered buried in hundreds of graveyards.
The Hindu of India reported that Zubin Mehta concert has run into rough weather as any sort of international activity, be it political, diplomatic or cultural has an adverse effect on the disputed nature of Kashmir. For safety of the visiting audience, Indian dignitaries and Zubin Mehta’s orchestra, extra check points were set up and army sealed all routes to the concert. Maestro wanted to spread his "message of peace with his performance" and chose Kashmir as perhaps he believes that Kashmiri people are only ones fighting Indian army for the last sixty six years and elsewhere in India is all peaceful. To make the venue more secure, the labour to erect giant billboards and general upkeep were imported from India and as witnessed, most of the visitors and invitees were frisked at the entrance.
In the recent times Kashmir has been on the international agenda and the powers on the world scene have shown eagerness to find a solution as per the wish of people of Kashmir. The ceasefire line violations and organised created disturbances through designed sabotage and state sponsored terrorism in Kashmir assuming dangerous proportions caused worries and anxiety. Using Maestro’s services did not deliver for India and on the contrary provided further political support for urgent solution of the long standing Kashmir problem.
Dr Altaf Hussain, one of the organizers of the Kashmiri event said "Ehsas-e-Kashmir is an event by the rich for the rich while Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir was an event by and for the people of Kashmir. It is unfortunate that the Shalimar garden, which is an abode of heritage, has been vandalized".