The separatists in Kashmir have found a brand new cause — the ‘dangers’ of holding a Zubin Mehta concert in the state. We can only imagine that they have either run out of causes to espouse or are trying desperately to stay relevant.
The fabled conductor is to come with the Bavarian State Orchestra to play the concert, termed Ehsaas-e-Kashmir, scheduled to be held at the Mughal gardens of Shalimar Bagh near Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir on September 7. The first into the fray was Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Azam Bashir-ud-Din who has opposed the concert saying that holding such an event would send the “wrong signal that the people of Kashmir are prosperous and have the leisure to participate in such high profile events”.
We are glad to note that the Mufti himself found time to attend a musical soiree a while ago after issuing a fatwa to an all-girl Kashmiri band Pragaash. Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have also joined the chorus opposing Ehsaas-e-Kashmir.
What are they so afraid of? It beggars the imagination to understand how a classical music concert can harm the interest of the Kashmiri people. The separatists seem mortally scared that any positive projection of Kashmir as a place where people have pursuits other than their pernicious ideology will render them even more marginalised.
The separatists must feel seriously threatened if they think that the fate of Kashmir will change after one concert. However, their bizarre reactions expose them for the short-sighted, intellectually bankrupt people they are. And most of all, it shows them up for their sheer lack of any positive contribution to improve the quality of life of ordinary Kashmiris.
That the separatists may be able to spark off street protests with the aid of their friends in Pakistan is not in doubt. But they have fallen woefully short of influencing elections. Trapped between the army and the separatists, and their Pakistani masters, the Kashmiri people have not been able to realise their potential.
What is most worrying is the silence of the political parties and the state government. What prevents them from giving short shrift to these retrograde elements?
If the nefarious attempts of these elements aided by the silence of the state government succeed and the concert cannot proceed, it will certainly strike a discordant note among all Indians, most of all those in Kashmir.