Srinagar: World renowned music conductor Zubin Mehta is set to take the stage on Kashmir on Saturday with his Ehsaas-e-Kashmir concert. It will broadcast live in fifty countries and 1,500 people are likely to attend it.
But there has been a lot of politics over it with separatist groups demanding scrapping of the event. The state government has made it clear that the concert will go ahead despite the protests.
Speaking to CNN-IBN on Friday, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah asked as to where these separatist groups were when Pakistani band Junoon came to perform in Kashmir in 2008.
Omar denied his government was trying to score brownie points by allowing the peace concert in the valley and said that his government was only providing logistical support for the concert. "This is not a political move. We are only providing logistical support for the concert," Omar said.
Meanwhile, Zubin Mehta, who received the Tagore Award on Friday, said, "I didnt choose Kashmir, Kashmir chose me." In the past few weeks seperatist leaders have threatened to have the concert cancelled and called a bandh in Srinagar for the day. Heavy security means no one will be allowed near the beautiful Shalimar Bagh on the Dal Lake without invitation.
In Kashmir, even music is divided into differing narratives. On the day the iconic Shalimar Garden hosts Zubin Mehta's concert for peace, the civil society is planning to organise a cultural event that depicts Kashmir's turmoil for the last 23 years.
Even in Delhi, Mehta's concert, organised by the German embassy and the tourism ministry faced flak. But Mehta, who was in Delhi to receive the Tagore award for cultural harmony isn't deterred. He said his mission remains to spread music with the hope that the strains from the Bavarian state orchestra will drown out all the discordant sounds of the past few week.