German Ambassador for India Michael Steiner in collaboration with the governments of India and Jammu and Kashmir State organized a musical concert Ehasaas-e-Kashmir (the feeling of Kashmir) of world renowned composer Zubin Mehta in the famous Mughal garden Shalimar in the summer capital Srinagar. Since this concert faced an opposition from the pro freedom leadership of Kashmir because as per their statements it was going to be the held in an occupied land. They even said that it is against the Germany’s status on Kashmir and was an attempt to legitimize the New Delhi’s rule in this disputed region. But its organizers did not pay any heed to them and moved on with systematizing the musical concert. Although, for them it was not a political but a cultural one, but after facing criticism from the people, the organizers of this concert behaved as antagonists and made this musical concert a headache for them, because where it was broadcasted live on many national and international news channels, it also aired the protesting messages from Kashmir. Kashmiris not only opposed the concert but also decorated a parallel concert Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir (the reality of Kashmir, organized by rights activists) just a few miles away. There were many differences in both the shows and major ones are that Zubin Mehta’s show succeeded in attaining the world’s attention but the simultaneous one succeeded in getting the local attention. Foreign media thronged the Zubin Mehta’s show while as they remained merely nonexistent from the parallel show Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir. According to Dr. Altaf (a noted pediatrician and one of the organizers of Haqeeqat-e- Kashmir show) one major difference was that “Zubin Mehta’s show was 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 (common man) and our show was for the common Kashmiris whose hearts are bleeding for the last so many years”. Apart from Kashmiris the Bavarian Orchestra Director participating with Zubin Mehta’s show said that he was not aware of the concert audience, which as it turned out to be elitist, far from being a ticketed people’s concert”.
These shows were not organized for any sort of competition but were thoroughly seen and held as a battle between two diverse ideologies, one represents the elites and other represents the agonizing hearts. In one show Zubin Mehta stole and mesmerized the hearts of those who belong to cream of the crop group, while as the other one witnessed an independence rap and recitals beyond the pun from the pro-independence artists and no doubt gave a new hope to pro- independence supporters in Kashmir. The civil society members must thank Zubin Mehta who opened the ways for their new genus of effective and pun filled protests or they might have not been allowed to hold such an event because they were living a depressed and unruffled life. But the significance which busted out is that the disputed nature of Kashmir could not delight the souls of natives by the music of Zubin Mehta. It is also evident that where the people are subjugated, music fails to deliver glee and never works with its privileged mission. And where facts remain hidden music can not wipe out the tears. That is why his musical concert faced criticism in spite of acclamation from the large sect of population from the valley. On other hand civil society played a pivotal role in highlighting the long pending Kashmir issue and they showed the world that protests can be registered without shouting the slogans. They not only grabbed the people’s attention but deciphered the modest situation prevailing in the valley of Kashmir. So Zubin Mehta along with the civil society members must be given equal weight age for a common job handled with two different tools. This western musical concert might have worked and served the purposes put forth by its organizers for any bigger and irreversible change but when it faced its due disparagement it also became the stage of interest and fantasy. These ideas were further strengthen by Zubin Mehta’s own words in which he said that second time when he will come; he will play for the Kashmiris as the 7th September concert was not for them.
The Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir show on the other side made alive that very dispute which was getting distanced from the world’s consideration. It not only refreshed the unforgettable incidents but also put them in every body’s eyes and ears. Unlike topsy turvy crowds it will neither become desolate nor will become target of the critics. The way noted personalities of Kashmir (Khuram Parvaiz, Zareef Ahmad Zareef, Dr. Altaf etc) handled the situation and managed to get a huge success is to be greatly commended. They worked in a democratic way and did not give any space to violence and bloodshed which always found a room during the protests in Kashmir. They answered in an extraordinary way to all those queries which were posed to them directly or indirectly. Where Zubin Mehta being apolitical, spoke politics like electricity, poverty etc. they (civil society) uttered the words of their fellows. Their work told everyone that where criminals roam and guns roar freely, music can not mesmerize the dejected souls.
There are many places in the world where shows of great personalities are being conducted for humanitarian and charitable issues, but Kashmir again became the victim of such events as they were presented for the political concerns. Here is pauperism, here is hunger but they managed to play for the elites. The public sector kept begging for their attention but they care for the creamy layer. They even forgot the relevance of this land as tears are continuously rolling down the cheeks of people and they choose to play the music for special ones. Turmoil filled land needs peace but musical dilemmas were created out of nothing. Their doubts regarding this all were cleared by the barrels in Shopian district where four innocents were killed in a cold blooded murder on the side lines of their musical event. Did they paid any heed or not remains a question. World knows the fact that to serve the humanity, everything must be utilized with great care and adoring efforts, otherwise a human being has to face a shame before the humanity.