The bygone year 2010’s iconic music numbers Sheila ki Jawani and Munni Badnaam Hui sung by a Kashmiri band Valley Boyz made tourists and local revelers in Srinagar usher into the New Year last night at a rare party.
The party was organized in the backdrop of a very violent and tumultuous year, which left more than 115 people dead since January --- mainly in street protests. The protests were sparked off after a series of deaths of protesters and tipping point was the killing of 17-year-old Tufail Mattoo in the police action in downtown Srinagar on June 11.
“I was overwhelmed by the response. More than 140 people below the 40 years of age group participated in the party. There were local boys and girls as well,” said Nafi Zargar of Red India Films, which organized the bash.
While Srinagar residents returned home early because of the snowfall, a motley group of locals braved both the harsh winter and the conservative society to celebrate the year end.
The revelers started the rare party around 9pm and lasted till 2pm at Grand Mumtaz with Mumbai DJ Shaun as the main attraction. “I am happy about the event. There were no brawls and spats…besides there was no criticism from any quarter,” said Zargar.
In the past, some hardline separatist leaders, like Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Asiya Andrabi, would threaten people against participating in such events. Friday night’s event was given a security cover by the Jammu and Kashmir police to stop spoilers. No photo journalist or media men were allowed to shoot or cover the event for security reasons.
“We have witnessed blood and gore all 2010. So this was one small reason to cheer and I thought I should not miss it. You never know what will be in store in 2011,” said a local participant on the condition of anonymity.
But for tourists it was a dream night. “With snow all around, music on, dance floor full --- it was a great experience to be in Kashmir. I request my fellow countrymen to visit Kashmir and enjoy its beauty,” said Soni, a Delhi resident, who participated in the party along with her partner.
Nasir, happy with the response, said he will organize such events in the future too “to give some breathing space to local youth”.