A harmless musical concert may become embroiled in separatist politics of Kashmir.
Zubin Mehta expressed a desire to play in Kashmir while visiting the German embassy in Delhi for receiving an award. The German ambassador to India, Michael Steiner, took this up seriously and has managed to put together a show where Zubin Mehta will conduct the Bavarian State Orchestra from Germany in the Mughal Gardens by the Dal Lake in Srinagar. Zubin Mehta believes music can bring peace to the people. Notably, Germany was also the first major country to relax the travel advisory to its citizens for visiting Kashmir in 2011.
The concert, called Ehsaas-e-Kashmir (loosely translated as ‘feeling of Kashmir’), will be telecast free all over the world. Like the famous concert by Yanni at Acropolis, this also has the potential to combine the beauty of the location and the music to enchant everyone. The boost to the tourism in Kashmir and also its appeal as an exotic locale will be incalculable. The cost for doing it is being borne by our German friends.
However, as expected the separatists have already fired the first salvo protesting against hosting this concert. Any high profile event which has the potential to better the lives of folks in Kashmir is surely not good for the separatists. Their reason for existence gets bolstered by any hardship that the people of Kashmir face since it can be linked to the separatist cause. Prosperous and a peaceful Kashmir will be a big impediment for separatists and they will not miss any chance of disrupting such events. This event started as a non-political, cultural event with positive local economic spin-offs. By converting this into an opportunity for political gains, the separatists are doing a disservice to Kashmir.
Break a leg, Ehsaas-e-Kashmir.
Saurabh Chandra is a Bangalore based technology entrepreneur with an interest in public policy. He tweets at @saurabhchandra.