A complete stranger, says JD Stroube in Caged in Damnation, has the capacity to alter the life of another irrevocably. Certainly, Zubin Mehta is complete stranger for Kashmir, who did alter the mind pools around and made them to react. And reaction escalating to such an extent, that suddenly the word Ehsaas (feeling) seemed shady, if not, scandalous.
People questioned the credentials of incoming figure, who is said to be patron of Zionist ideologue. In the Valley, where intelligence and surveillance have firmed their roots, it was but natural for natives to question the ‘not-so-obvious’ feeling behind the concert.
Apart from overt suspicions, plethora of reactions poured in against the ‘holy’ visit that would cost crores of rupees. The Indian currency might be losing its market value, but then spending it to damage the remnants of Mughal heritage in Shalimar garden, made intentions not only cheap, but also cheesy. The act is in itself signature of supremacy. Nowhere in the world, are heritages being blemished for the sake of creating symphonies for non-native big shots that sound no music to the natives.
The visit empowered people on streets and elsewhere in Kashmir to take potshot at the establishment. “What the hell, do we really give a damn to his visit and his musical team,” one elderly passenger said in a moving bus some days ago in Srinagar. “He is a state-sponsored guest, who has been sent with a definite purpose. He is from Israel, so the intentions are very much clear,” another passenger chipped in. And reactions kept coming.
As the narrative around Zubin visit is drawing new contours, many people now harbor the thought that German Embassy along with Indian counterparts has jeered at Kashmiris through its Ehsaas campaign. One more ditch. One more hoax. One more farce. And then, they stepped ahead and let loose the music on natives much before Bavarian concert unplugged itself. Not only Kashmiris were denied to have some music in Shalimar, but they were equally put at shores.
The treatment was such, as if, people were waiting in queues to have glimpse of music conductor. Hence an underlined message: Since most of you are infected with an anti-national germ, so you won’t be allowed to put the holy immunity of band-master at jeopardy. So please, bear with us and have some music wherever you are other than in Shalimar, our crown.
Knowing how the environment is pulling your strings and playing you, says Ronald Heifetz, is critical to making responsive rather than reactive moves. And then amidst reactions, a proactive move was conceived, when Haqeeqat took Ehsaas head on: “So, if some aliens will impart feeling for Kashmir through their Ehsaas Nautanki, then how about, if we arrange a rendezvous with reality for world and for visiting pack. Let us show them some Haqeeqat.” The creative-pack of Haqeeqat has shown that reality has an edge over feeling, always.
And of course, one won’t get that feeling by playing Martian notes in garrison reduced garden for the entertainment of posh-people. It is simply an act of smirk for all inflicting pains on natives. In the middle of Zubin storm, Haqeeqat has signaled a dawn of new form of protest, where intellectual resistance remains at forefront.
(The author is Srinagar based graduate in Literature)