Sorrow And Anger Mark Protest Concert

Sorrow And Anger Mark Protest Concert

7 September 2013
Rising Kashmir
Asem Mohiuddin

Srinagar: As a symbolic mark of protest against government-facilitated concert of Zubin Mehta, a parallel concert “Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir” (reality of Kashmir), organized by civil society members, was held here Saturday. The protest concert, held at Municipal Park, witnessed a sizeable gathering with people from different walks of life in attendance. The organizers, however, said many more people could not reach the venue due to restrictions. “Despite various tactics by the government, people still managed to make their presence felt. But, still there were hundreds of people who were not allowed by the authorities to attend the cultural concert. We got hundreds of calls from people who had wished to express their solidarity but they were not allowed due to the restrictions,” said Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir spokesman Khurram Pervez. The concert saw various performances like poetry recitation, play, folk dance including the famous ‘Bande Paether’ and music performances by the youth. The performances aimed at depicting the reality of Kashmir saw many people in the gathering overwhelmed by emotions with some of them raising pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. The civil society members and victim families, which included half-windows whose husbands are missing, and families of those victims who remain untraced after being picked up security agencies, termed Zubin Mehta’s ‘Ehsaas-e-Kashmir’ concert as “elitist and far from reality”. Two local rappers conveyed the message of resistance and hope with their performance. “Resistance is the choice. It is gonna make some noise…” In the emotionally charged atmosphere, renowned artist, Arshad Mushtaq urged people to maintain calm. “It is our collective sufferings and pain we all are going through. But we need to express it in a civilized manner. The so called western intellectuals don’t like this way. We have to use various methods of using literature, art, poetry etc to make them feel what we are,” said Mushtaq. The emotions ran high as the poetry of Nayeem Ahmad, who was killed in 1993, was recited by a young boy. Singer Irfan Bilal’s songs depicted the sufferings of people, turning the atmosphere gloomy. “Ye Kaem woan che subhas gasnai Digar,” (Who told you that your dawn should turn in dusk).” “For the elitist class attending the concert in historical Mughal Garden 50 BMW’s were imported. But the people of this land have been prevented to walk on their own feet. And these elites don’t have an iota of sympathy for us. The historical (Shalimar) garden was vandalized for them,” said Dr Altaf Hussain, one of the organisers of the event. Noted poet Zareef Ahmad Zareef said: “We are not against Zubin Mehta. Artists have no religion and language. They are pious at their hearts, but the place he preferred to perform was not right since Kashmir is a disputed territory. If the people of Germany love him, let them call him home. If we like Zubin, we may call him someday to perform to celebrate our freedom.”