Khurram Parvez

KHURRAM-PARVAIZThe ‘Ehsaas/Haqeeqat’ contest might no longer be talk of town, but one man is still talking and is being talked about – Khurram Parvez – convener and spokesperson for Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). Just four days after Municipal Park housed ‘the reality of Kashmir’, Parvez led civil society group announced an album “tribute” to Afzal Guru, which will be released on September 21 in Srinagar on the occasion of world peace day.

“Kashmir was demonised for being against art, culture and music in the run-up to the (Zubin) concert,” Parvez said. “This is not true. We want to use art and music to put across thoughts and opinions on issues concerning us. Music can really make a point as it did in Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir.”

On Sep 7, when ‘Haqeeqat’ was unfolding in Municipal Park, Parvez was leading from the front in highlighting ‘pain’ displayed at the venue. “How could Zubin’s concert project peaceful Kashmir, when Kashmir is abode of pain,” he was quoted saying that day.

Parvez is recognized for his work with the JKCCS, an organization devoted to the documentation and defense of human rights violations in Kashmir. Through JKCCS, he has advocated for fair elections, investigations of disappeared people, defense of human rights victims and for the creation of space for democratic discourse by involving the youth in various social endeavors.

Parvez was thirteen when his grandfather was killed during a peaceful demonstration. Later, he turned to a peaceful solution to widespread human rights crisis in Kashmir. In 1996, as a student of Kashmir University, Parvez started a helpline, which provided guidance and assistance to students affected by the situation in the valley. He committed himself to human rights work despite ‘threats’ to his own life.

In 2004, he lost his leg in a landmine accident while monitoring elections in north Kashmir. His driver and his close colleague in the mission,  Aasia Jeelani, died in that accident.

Comprising eight songs in Kashmiri and Urdu, penned by budding  poets and sung by three vocalists, the album on Afzal Guru will be available on the internet for free download. “This album is an artisitic tribute to Guru,” Parvez said.

Parvez is among the four activists honored with the Reebok Human Rights Award during the ceremony held at the New York University Skirball Center for Performing Arts on May 27, 2006. He called upon the words of the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King to deliver his point: “Injustice anywhere is the threat to justice everywhere.”

-Bilal Handoo

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