Zubin Mehta's music an instrument of peace and harmony in Srinagar
By Santwana Bhattacharya | ENS | Published: 07th September 2013 07:59 AM |
Music as an instrument of peace and harmony - that’s what Zubin Mehta wishes to get across when he will be conducting the Bavarian State Orchestra in the picturesque Shalimar Bagh gardens overlooking the Dal Lake in Srinagar on Saturday.
But with separatists in Kashmir playing notes of disharmony in the background, the world renowned maestro was left fending queries in New Delhi on why he selected such a venue. “I didn’t choose Kashmir, Kashmir chose me,” he said. Mehta was attending the award function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday.
“He has made it his mission to bring hope and reason whenever there is conflict and discord. To audience across the world, Zubin Mehta has brought a message of optimism and conviction about the shared destiny of humankind,” the President said, while handing Mehta the Second Tagore Award for Culture Harmony, quite evidently trying to convince those opposing the concert.
Mehta - the India-born conductor, who had dared to play in Sarajevo in the midst of the Bosnian war, said that he had nothing to say to the separatists opposing his ‘Ehsaas-e-Kashmir’ concert. “We are playing our music for the people and for their inner peace,” he said, carefully adding, ‘I’m extremely happy’ about performing in Kashmir. “I hope and wish for the blessings of the people and the country for our music.”
Mehta has been trying to bring the “healing touch” of music to the strife-torn Valley for a while now. Those in the know say, about six years ago he had approached an Indian private sponsor to organise a symphony orchestra in Srinagar. It fizzled out after the state government gave a a rather lukewarm response to the idea.
Mehta still did not give up hope. He again revived the plan with the German Ambassador to India, Michael Steiner, who took up his proposal in right earnest and persuaded the Union Home Ministry to agree to the concert. After months and many round of chasing, the proposal was finally cleared and the security apparatus was brought in the loop. In fact, sources in the Ministry said the audience - a large part being flown there - is being provided unprecedented security cover. To bring Kashmiri flavour to the concert, Mehta will be playing a piece by composer Abhay Rustum. The concert of the “distinguished son of India” as the President described him, will be aired live by Doordarshan. The separatists though are organising a parallel concert in an attempt to drown out the sounds of the ‘Ehsaas-e-Kashmir’ concert.