Zubin’s dream realized in Shalimar performance

‘Next time we shall do this with everyone in a stadium’


Srinagar, Sep 7: Amid heightened security measures, international music maestro Zubin Mehta Saturday conducted the Ehsaas-e-Kashmir (the Feel of Kashmir) concert in Shalimar Garden here.
“I have waited and dreamt of this moment all my life,” said 77-year old Mehta before his performance in the Mughal era garden on the bank of Dal Lake. “Every person in the subcontinent will agree this is where it (concert) should be held.”
"There are those we have hurt inadvertently. I promise next time we shall do this with everyone in a stadium where everyone can come,” said Mehta. “This music has a message for our friends and critics. God bless them all.”
The venue erupted in clapping when the 150 strong Bavarian State Orchestra from Munich led by Mehta performed alongside Kashmiri musicians during the opening segment of the concert which was called Haft-e-Rang (seven colors). From violinists to flute, bassoon and horn players, musicians from the orchestra played to the tunes of Kashmiri songs along with the local artists, led by Abhay Sopori, to enthrall the audience.
“Rinde Posh Maal Gindnay Drai lo lo and Chol Hama Roshay Roshay” were among different local songs whose tunes reverberated from the instruments of the international band of musicians.
“I am not sure if anyone in the German embassy will agree to it but if I am to be asked again that would I do this (hold concert) all over again in Kashmir, absolutely yes,” said Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who was among the guests.
Reacting to the controversy the concert generated in Kashmir, Omar said politics was never far off from what happens in Kashmir.
A parallel concert called Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir (The Reality of Kashmir) to counter the Mehta concert was staged by rights activists in Lal Chowk here. The open-to-all concert highlighted rights violations in Kashmir, which its organizers said the Government-backed concert was allegedly trying to overshadow.
“The sun will rise again over the land that is in trouble, which has seen pain and sufferings and that is yearning for peace,” Omar said. “Let us allow the music to enlighten our souls today and have a peaceful tomorrow.”      
After two and a half decades later, Omar said, the music echoes in Kashmir and the Shalimar Bagh has come alive to the sounds of the music.
“Today my dream of watching a musical concert on one of our Mughal treasures has become a reality. It is an honor and pleasure for us to be able to welcome him (Mehta) and his Orchestra to Srinagar today,” he said.
The 90-minute concert saw Zubin conducting four segments starting with Leonore Overture (No. 3) by Ludwig Van Beethoven and followed by Trumpet Concerto by Joseph Haydn, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Pyotr Llyich Tchaikovsky and Symphony (No. 5) by Beethoven.
Leonore overture is a musical homage to and request for freedom and justice, two ideas which were very dear to Beethoven who worked in the aftermath of the French Revolution, reads information brochure provided by the organizers.
“The music (Symphony No. 5) develops along a motif through hardships to the stars- an allusion to the victory over the evil forces,” it said.
“Tonight the whole world is looking at Kashmir and tonight we are all here for you and Ehsaas-e-Kashmir,” said German Ambassador Michel Steiner who had organized the event with support from Government of India and State Government. “Today the music has reduced the 7076 kilometer distance from Srinagar to Munich to zero.”
Reaching out to Kashmiris, Steiner said Germany and European Union countries “bow to Kashmir, to its heritage, beauty and its different realities”.
Weighing his words cautiously, Steiner who came under criticism from civil society and separatists over the event, said Kashmir was not an easy situation. “We need to show to the world the full picture of Kashmir and what we did here is a sign of respect for Kashmir,” said Steiner.
Steiner said he wanted to work in future in Kashmir. “I want to do more (work) here for which I need people’s support,” Steiner said.
However he evaded a direct response to a question on why he turned down the invitation for attending the parallel concert called Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir which was organized by the civil society here in protest against the Zubin show.
“There were more than 2000 guests here and this is the proof that it was an open show,” he said.
The guests from Kashmir and beyond including diplomats, Indian film stars and government ministers and officials had gathered at the garden to listen to the timeless music of Beethoven, Haydn and Tchaikovsky.
Prominent among the guests were former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh, Union minister Farooq Abdullah, actor Rahul Bose and Tina Ambani.
The event was telecast live in different countries including India.
Mehta and his orchestra got a standing ovation by the enthusiastic visitors after they ended their performance.
“Wait we will play again and this one is for Kashmir,” Mehta told the audience as he recalled the head of the local musician team led by Abhay, to the platform.
The musicians from the Munich joined the local artists to replay the Kashmiri musical notes to the clapping audience.
Authorities had put in place tight security measure to ensure smooth conduct of the concert. The area around the venue was completely sealed by the forces including police and CRPF and all the roads leading to the venue were completely under their control.
Model-turned-Bollywood actress Gul Panag anchored the concert.

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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