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Music is for the soul

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Banning of music concerts anywhere, for whatever reason, shows a coarseness of the soul that does not accord well with the lofty traditions in Sufi...

Banning of music concerts anywhere, for whatever reason, shows a coarseness of the soul that does not accord well with the lofty traditions in Sufi music that Jammu and Kashmir are justly proud of. That is why music-lovers the world over are apt to be shocked to learn that separatists in the Valley have opposed a concert planned for September 7 in Srinagar by Zubin Mehta troupe. Sponsored by the German embassy in New Delhi, the Western music concert is Kashmir-specific in the sense that it is called ehsaas-e-Kashmir (the feel of Kashmir).

That it is a diabolical design of Western powers plus Israel to do to Kashmir God knows what is nothing more than the chimera of a diseased imagination. If one music concert could alter the destiny of a country, or even of a constituent State of it, human history would have been different. It is, therefore, heartening that highest rated music composers and singers of Kashmir have openly supported the proposed concert. According to media reports, while the organizers are in contact with Rahman Rahi, Bhajan Sopori and Masood Hussain, top-ranking poet, music composer and artist, respectively, the average Kashmiri is waiting for a ticket. Besides, the logo for the concert has been created by Masood Hussain.

“Holding the Bavarian State Orchestra show at Shalimar Bagh is a fantastic idea. It would be wonderful to watch Zubin Mehta, the heart-throb of millions across the globe, performing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or Bruckner’s Eight Symphony in the foothills of the picturesque Zabarvan overlooking the famous Dal Lake. Every Kashmiri will feel honoured when the show runs live on the radio and TV channels across the globe,” Farooq Nazki, a living encyclopedia of art and literature, told The Hindu.

Therefore, the question is whether any power on earth has the power to ban/cancel a concert that has already generated so much public interest. All music, especially Sufi music, makes listeners forget their terrestrial existence, the pains of living, meaningless differences be they of politics or religion, and elevates the soul to recondite regions of Divine bliss. That may well be the reason why some sections of people in the Valley are opposed to the Mehta concert which, with its own divine quotient, might make Kashmiris forget the artificial divisions in their society and thus weaken the so-called separatist cause if there is one!

Music unites; never divides; and unity of Kashmiris is probably what the handful of separatists left in the Valley dread the most. But they forget their history. When Pakistan first sent its tribal hordes into the Valley immediately after Partition, it was the people of Kashmir who, without adequate arms, resisted the invasion until Indian troops arrived to throw out the invaders. That is a fact of history, and probably the one that separatists shudder to remember. If such unity were to get re-established, at least partly as a result of Zubin Mehta’s concert, separatists would not have a leg to stand on.
Finally, the organizers of the concert would do well to remind all Kashmiris, notably the separatists, that one of the few countries where a Zubin Mehta concert faced a storm was Israel! Therefore, nothing could be more preposterous than the charge that the conductor is an agent of Israel. Like the Sufi musicians of Kashmir, Mehta has dedicated his life to ennobling of the human spirit through his music. If perchance, some separatists were also to attend the concert that they are now opposing, it might well be said of them later that those “who came to scoff stayed to pray.”
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