New Delhi: Acclaimed music conductor Zubin Mehta has been awarded the prestigious Tagore Award for cultural harmony by President Pranab Mukherjee. This comes just a day before his peace concert in Kashmir that separatists have been opposing.
Mehta played down the protests over his concert saying music is the message of peace. "We are only playing from our hearts tomorrow. That's all we want to do. We must never underestimate the power of inner peace that music brings.," Mehta said.
This even as the chorus against his landmark concert in Srinagar is increasing. Echoing separatists' sentiments TMC MP and singer Kabir Suman said Kashmir doesn't need concerts, it needs a political solution. "It is a ploy to obfuscate the Kashmiri problem and an attempt to portray that everything is fine with Kashmir which it is not," Suman said.
The civil society has planned to hold a counter musical show in the Sher-e-Kashmir lawns. While Zubin Mehta's show is titled Ehasas-Kashmir the other show will be called Haqeeqat-E-Kashmir. Khurram Parvez, member of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society said, "In our concert there is nothing against art and culture, it is only art and culture. But through it, we want to remain very vigilant to the sufferings of people of Kashmir and express that suffering of people and pay tribute to the resilience and struggle of Kashmir."
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has appealed for calm. "There is no controversy. Music is in our culture and there is no need to do politics over the concert. This is wrong. People who say this will weaken the Kashmir issue are getting it wrong. The issue cannot be diluted by the visit of one individual," Omar said.