Zubin Mehta caught between music and politics

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Sri: Zubin Mehta concert faces music
Music is one language that is universal and is understood by people across border and India is one country that prides itself in being a culturally and musically rich nation. But what happens when the dark clouds of politics loom over music and concerts? It results in an ugly political fight.

Facing the music recently is world renowned Indian music instructor Zubin Mehta, who is set to perform in Srinagar on September 7. Artists and bands are often threatned in the Valley and the latest vitim of this is Mehta. This incident has turned the musical event into a political narrative.

The concert 'Ehsaas-e-Kashmir', planned by the Bavarian State Orchestra and Mehta and organised by the German embassy in India, is a first of its kind in Kashmir and ever since the news of the concert spread it has angered separatist groups and others, who are against the performance. They have said that such performances do no good to the region and instead of spending so much on the concert, they must utilise the funds to rebuild the region, devasted by war.

Joining the separatists, are many poets who term the concert as 'ill-timed' and have refused to be a part of it. Civil society memebers too support the opposition saying that the Germans must recognise the disputed nautre of Kashmir and must recognise the pain and the struggle of the people. Having such concerts in the valley will send wrong signals internationally, where people will believe that Kashimiris have the leisure and prosperity to attend such events.

Mehta:"I didn't choose Kashmir, Kashmir chose me."

The separatists, who oppose the concert have come up with a counter attack. While preparations are in full swing at the Shalimar gardens for Zubin Mehta's concert, members of the civil society have announced that they will hold a cultural show simultaneously, titled Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir at the Sher-e-Kashmir lawns.

Support for the show

Facing opposition to the concert, the security has been beefed up in the valley ahead of the concert. The main focus right now is to keep the visitors safe, who remain unfazed by the threats andsaid that the concert will go ahead as planned. Mehta said: "Let the music speak for itself. It will be broadcast in 24 European countries and it will happen."

He stressed on the issue and said that music can only bring peace. On asking what made him choose Kashmir as the venue he said : "I didn't choose Kashmir, Kashmir chose me."

Polititcal leaders too have backed the show saying that such shows are a must to restore harmony in the Valley. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdulla has appealed for calm and said that if one opposes such events its their own political point of view. "Music is a part of our culture and to say that this concert is against the ethos of Kashmir is wrong," he said.

Even Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, backed the concert and said that there is no need to cancel the concert. Government officials say that they will go ahead with the concert and will not cancel it.

Germany's Ambassador to India told that the aim of the concert is to 'reach the hearts of Kashmiris with a message of hope and encouragement.'

Many feel the contorversy revolving around the concert is bizzare as Kashmir is known to be a land of poets and musicians.

Indian born Zubin Mehta, who has conducted thousands of concerts, will conduct the Bavarian State Orchestra, before an estimated 1,500 guests, including ministers and diplomats.

OneIndia News

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