It was not just Ehasaas-e-Kashmir (the feeling of Kashmir) versus Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir (the reality of Kashmir) but a battle of two ideologies fighting it out through the medium of music in Srinagar city on Saturday.
For every Zubin Mehta’s note, there was a pun from the ‘pro-azadi’ artists. For every western composition, there was an ‘azadi’ rap and recitals. And if Zubin Mehta stole the hearts of “elite who-is-who”, the civil society-organised concert gave new hope to pro-azadi supporters in Kashmir.
“Zubin Mehta’s show is for the rich, of the rich and by the rich. Rs 100 crore spent, 50 BMWs for the elite crowd. In contrast we are aam admi and our show is for the common Kashmiris whose hearts are bleeding for the last so many years,” said Dr Altaf Ahmad, noted pediatrician and one of the organisers of Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir.
Zubin, too, was spot-on when he reached out to Kashmiris saying he would like to perform for an open audience next time perhaps in a stadium apparently trying to sooth the nerves of those who had been on their toes to protest his concert in the historic Shalimar garden.
“I promise next time we shall do this with everyone in a stadium where everyone can come, so it won’t be a select few. When the music starts, a positive wave goes from this stage everywhere.
Let us accept the reality,” he said.
And to that noted poet and satirist Zareef Ahmad Zareef, who was one of the organizers of Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir, said they would invite Zubin to perform during their “azadi” celebrations. “We have nothing against Zubin personally. Artist has no boundaries. We will invite him to perform when we will be celebrating our azadi,” he said.
History was created when Zubin-conducted Bavarian State Orchestra (BSO) played Kashmiri tunes with local musicians in tow. It was one of the rarest occasions in the musical history when the world renowned western classical orchestra played Kashmiri folk-based composition composed by young santoor maestro Abhay Rustum Sopori to pay tribute to the rich culture of Kashmir. And that was why when the musical mélange was over Zubin shook hands with each of the Kashmiri artists as a token of gratitude.
Zubin played four western symphonies to a select audience which included chief minister Omar Abdullah and others from the country. “I would like to organise this programme again. I jumped at the opportunity when German ambassador told me that Zubin wants to perform,” said Omar.
Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir, however, was open for the mixed audience with people from all strata – students, professors, litterateurs, doctors, media men et al – were in attendance. There was no bar on dress code with traditional and modernity reflecting on the girls and young boys who would have paled the audience at Zubin Show
It was rap song of Keayemmar—a band by two students—that stole the show at Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir. “Resistance is choice….It is going to make some noise” goes the song by Saif, a class IX student and Fahad, a class XII student. “I am playing for my nation,” he said later.
“Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir wants to pay tribute to resilience and struggle of the people of Kashmir. We have been fighting for 66 years. For 23 years, we have lost 70,000 people. More than 7000 women were raped and molested.