The Jammu and Kashmir government has granted permission to the parallel concert to Zubin Mehta’s performance in Kashmir. The organisers have been told to hold the event between 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm at Srinagar’s Municipal Park.
The permission came late in the evening after a day of hectic deliberation amid elaborate preparation for Mehta’s concert at the Mughal era Shalimar Garden on the banks of Dal lake. Though the application for permission for the concert had been submitted on 2 September, the authorities waited until around twenty hours of the slated event to give the go-ahead.
“We have granted permission for the parallel concert from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm,” Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Shah said. The permission has buoyed the organisers who had earlier accused the government of trying to sabotage the event. “We have set about our job right away. Early tomorrow, we will start erecting the stage for the show. We are ready with the show,” Khurram Parvez, the organizer of the event, told TEHELKA. “We expect a good gathering of people to attend the concert. Our event is inclusive.” He claimed that around ten thousand people would turn up for the show.
It is said that the “personal efforts” of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah made the event possible. “From the very beginning Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was very positive about the show. He told the district administration to ensure that the event happens parallel to the concert by Zubin Mehta,” Tanvir Sadiq, political secretary to the CM, told TEHELKA. The CM is said to have overridden the reservation of the security authorities to give the event the go-ahead.
Khurram says that the civil society concert, which is called Haqeeqat-i-Kashmir (Reality of Kashmir) – as against Mehta’s which is named Ahsaas-i-Kashmir (Experience of Kashmir) – will have Kashmiri singers performing on stage along with the exhibition of some artwork, photos and paintings which, according to organisers, will underline the “harsh truth of Kashmir sought to be obscured by the Mehta show.”
“Our concert will showcase songs of revolution and pain,” says Khurram. “It will present to the world a picture of Kashmir as it is and not as is sought to be portrayed by the government through the Zubin Mehta concert.”