Vigorous guitar riffs and Sufiana lyrics filled the air as close to 4,000 Kashmiri music aficionados converged on the banks of the Dal for a rare event: A concert by Pakistani rock group Junoon.
With former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunge, union minister Mani Shanker Iyer and Farooq Abdullah in attendance, the group, arguably one of the hottest rock acts in South Asia, belted out numbers like Khudi ko kar buland itna, Ya Ali and the popular Sayoni.
“The beauty of their lyrics makes one forget the pain of terror,” said Sania Jan, one of the first to arrive for the concert, despite opposition from groups like the United Jehad Council.
It was a dream come true for the group, said guitarist-lyricist Salman Ahmad. “We’ve performed all over the world but have not seen such an ambience before.”
The event coincided with the launch of the Kashmir Study Centre at the Kashmir University. “Music stimulates the world of intellect and learning,” added vice chancellor Riyaz Punjabi.