The team Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir (the reality of Kashmir) Thursday made it clear that “we are not against the music, but against using music as propaganda machinery”.
In a press conference at a local hotel here, the organizing committee of parallel event flanked by civil society members said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir take immense pride in their “rich history of resisting oppression”.
“We also have historically cultivated a sublime tradition in and love for music,” Khuram Parvez, one of the organizers of event told media. “However, legitimizing an occupation via a musical concert is completely unacceptable.”
On Saturday, the Shalimar garden will host the India-born world famous conductor of Western classical music, Zubin Mehta and Bavarian State Orchestra, which are scheduled to visit Valley on Thursday with a fleet of scores of BMWs. Mehta and the pack will be playing musical notes in an event called Ehsaas-e-Kashmir (Feeling for Kashmir) concert.
Of late, Mehta’s musical trip to Valley is running in rough weather. Organized by the German embassy, the home affairs ministry and a host of NGOs, the Ehsaas-e-Kashmir concert has drawn widespread opposition. Civil society groups, separatist camp, the local literati and opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party have criticised it.
A civil society group in protest is planning a parallel counter-event Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir on Sep 7 in Srinagar’s Municipal Park, when Mehta’s symphony would entertain the big shots of national and international fame in Mughal garden.
“The concert serves to build on the state narrative that seeks to dilute the reality of Jammu and Kashmir and people’s aspirations,” Parvez said. “It seeks to promote an image of a peaceful and normal Jammu and Kashmir. The pain, suffering, courage and bravery of the resistance will find no place in this concert.”
The organizing committee of Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir informed that an estimated Rs. 100 crores are reportedly being spent, and invitations have been sent to corporate India like Tatas and Birlas, the film world like Amitabh Bachchan and sportsmen like Sachin Tendulkar.
“It is most condemnable that the Government of Germany has chosen to be party to the Indian state’s continued political machinations in Jammu and Kashmir,” Parvez said.
Parvez said that certain Kashmiri civilians have been blacklisted from attending the concert. “Anti-national elements are not welcome to the concert. A proposal to invite 230 Kashmiri students has also been turned down by the state,” he said. “The occupation will therefore be amply reflected in the demographics of the audience of the proposed concert.”
Based on available information, Parvez said, it appears that of a total of 758 invitees, only 102 are supposedly unaffiliated civilians of Jammu and Kashmir with no perceptible State connection.
“The German Ambassador is misleading the people by calling it an event for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It is deeply political event for a political purpose,” Parvez said.
Hameeda Nayeem, one of the members of organizing committee in her address to media said German Embassy is becoming collaborator of Indian designs. “The concert revolves round the politics of exclusion, where perceptions are manipulated to give false impressions,” Nayeem said. “Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir will break this exclusion.”
Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a noted satirist and poet said Mehta’s visit is being organized on the crutches of India. “The day Kashmir dispute will be resolved, we would invite him to perform for us,” Zareef said.
Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir will include musical performances, poetry recitals, photography exhibits and other performance art and is open to the public. “This event will showcase the reality of Jammu and Kashmir, to mark the dark times of the military occupation and to commemorate the luminosity of struggle of self-determination,” Parvez said.