Parallel concert showcases plight of Kashmiris

Plays, poems remind of tragedies; Restrictions curbed people’s movement: Civil Society


Srinagar, Sep 7: In the shadow of mighty Chinars at the SK Park here, the venue for Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir, a parallel event organized by the civil society to counter Ehasas-e-Kashmir show by German Embassy, an emotional play staged by two young boys made all eyes wet.
The play reminded the participants about tragedies inflicted on the people of Kashmir over the past 22 years—missing people, unmarked graves, fake encounters and much more.
The poems and songs of resilience and sufferings added colour to the event as participants couldn’t refrain themselves from raising pro-freedom slogans. Before the event started, the park witnessed a chaotic look as civil society members were not sure whether the authorities would allow the stage, microphones to be set up. However, banners displaying the pictures of dead, atrocities by forces, parents waiting for the loved ones were already on display which attracted the attention of foreign media.
It was at 2 pm that organizers were allowed to erect stage and the volunteers managed everything within two-and-a half hours to make all necessary arrangements for the concert.
The volunteers of the, however, put in their best to ensure all arrangements are made before 4:30 pm.
The counter concert started with emotional couplets of a poem written by Zareef Ahmed Zareef. There were series of events—recitation of poems, a performance by a group of rappers, and the major attraction of the show — a play that shook hundreds of the participants of the event making them weep.
The play was staged by two young boys, one acting as an elderly person while another one in his teens. In the play, an elderly person, who was carrying a bag full of letters, claimed that he was on a journey while the young boy tried his best to inquire what the journey was all about. Finally, the elderly man tells the boy “he was a witness to something”.
Leaving the bag full of letters with the boy for a while, the furious boy started bringing out the letters one by one. “I am waiting for you day in and out. I am your mother. It has been ages since I saw you,” the first letter read. The second letter reminded people of fake encounters while the third one was about a grave digger, who has buried dozens of people in unmarked graves.” Another letter reminded the participants of the fake encounters.
The entire SK Park erupted with shrieks and cries when the young boy refused to return the bag to the elderly man. “I won’t return this, now it’s my property,” he said before closing the play.
“Kashmir is full of tragedies and we all are witness to it,” says Muhammad Iqbal, whose brother is missing since 1995. “I couldn’t stop tears as the play was very powerful and based on real things that this place has witnessed since 1990.”
A group of women along with their children could be seen crying even after the play ended while the youth resorted to massive pro-freedom slogans.
The young rappers Saif and Fahad enthralled the participants of the concert by singing resistance song— “Resistance is our choice, it’s going to make some noise.” 
Another play staged by three youth, whose names were not disclosed, depicted a situation where they are tied— Kashmir craving for a solution and a fire in between them. The play was explained by Shafaqat Nazir, a lawyer, who was moderating the concert. “This shows that tough times won’t last. Time will come soon when Kashmir issue would be resolved,” he said.
In the initial remarks, Khuram Pervez, the spokesman of Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir event, accused government, especially Chief Minister Omar Abdullah of sabotaging the event by resorting to strict curbs. “Main roads leading to the venue were literally closed as barricades were placed there. We feel cheated in the name of giving us permission for the event. Most of the people couldn’t reach the venue due to strict curbs,” he said. “The government of Germany has desecrated the UN resolutions by organizing a musical concert in a disputed region.”
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Altaf Hussain, one of the organizers of the event said Ehasas-e-Kashmir is an event by the rich for the rich while Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir wan an event by and for the people of Kashmir. “It is unfortunate that the Shalimar garden, which is an abode of heritage, has been vandalized,” he said. 
Mirwaiz drops in: Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq made a sudden appearance in the counter concert in the afternoon. He saw all the pictures depicting atrocities by forces that were put on display in the SK Park. Talking to reporters, Mirwaiz said he was not against the cultural programs. “But the concert that has been organized at Shalimar garden is loaded with a political agenda. It is unfortunate that strict curbs have been put in place in Srinagar. People are not able to make to this venue which shows government’s intentions of sabotaging it,” he said. He said the event that is being held at Shalimar is a show by the “elites and for the elites.” “That event should have been an open, where every common Kashmiri could have come. Why selected people that too elite ones?” he asked.
Hurriyat (G) Spokesman Ayaz Akbar and human rights activist Muhammad Ahsan Untoo also attended the concert.
Radha Kumar attends parallel event: Former interlocutor Radha Kumar was spotted in Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir event. Talking to Greater Kashmir, she said it is good to see the voices of dissent in open. “I am happy that civil society is organizing such events in open and government is allowing it,” she said and added that she would attend the Zubin Mehta’s concert as well.
“I am an academician, so I wanted to attend both concerts,” she said. The event ended with the traditional Kashmiri Band-e-Pather after which the participants resorted to pro-freedom slogans within the park after which they dispersed peacefully.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Sep 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Sep 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 8 Sep 2013 00:00:00 IST

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