Musical Gala Unites Kashmiri Youth ‘divided’ By Militancy

Musical Gala Unites Kashmiri Youth ‘divided’ By Militancy

22 July 2012
Mail Online India
Naseer Ganai

Srinagar: They are a generation which never saw the bonding that Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits once shared, but when they danced together, it seemed as if the two communities were never separated, never drawn apart by the militancy and violence in the Valley. Dr Amit Wanchoo of Space Communications recreated the harmonious and beautiful Kashmir on stage by bringing together Kashmiri Muslim and Kashmiri Pandit youths born after 1990, the year militancy raised its ugly head in the Valley. This was the first time youngsters from the two communities came together to perform in a Sufi musical show, Salaam Mahara, at the Sher-i -Kashmir International Convention Centre in Srinagar. 'The idea of the show was to strengthen the bond of brotherhood between the two communities. It was an attempt to bring together youths who were born after 1990, so that they could share their feelings and sufferings with each other,' Dr Wanchoo said. The experience was more unique for the Kashmiri Pandit youths, brought up in the migrant camps of Jammu, who had heard about Srinagar only in the stories of their parents and grandparents. 'It was a memorable experience for all the Kashmiri Pandit girls and boys who visited the Valley for the first time,' Dr Wanchoo said, adding: 'In these seven days, they saw and experienced all that they had heard about Kashmir.' Dr Wanchoo said the name of the show reflects age-old bonding between the two communities.'On Maha Shivratri, one of our neighbours Muhammad Sultan would come to my grandfather and greet him 'Salaam Mahara'. I cannot forget those memories. So I thought let other Pandit children also get a feel of the old Kashmir,' Dr Wanchoo said. Kashmir remained the theme of their performance as they sang songs on snow, its movements, its formats, and its relationship with the Valley. In the final presentation 'Mashal', the artists gave a message that Kashmir will be fine and the time will come when all Kashmiris will once again live together like a big, happy family.