Maestro’s hopes to promote peace are waylaid by shootings, lockouts and official complaints.
Zubin Mehta’s laudable aim to bring classical music to the troubled province of Kashmir may have scored an artistic success on Saturday but by the following morning with one man injured and questions being raised at diplomatic level it was clear that not everything had gone according to plan.
The concert, at Shalimar Bagh, Mughal Gardens in Srinagar on the banks of Dal Lake, was given by Mehta and the Bavarian State Orchestra with Andreas Oettl (trumpet) and Julian Rachlin (violin). The performance included Beethoven’s LeonoreOverture No 3, Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony plus a piece by Kashmir composer Abhey Sopori which included 15 local musicians.
Afterwards, Mehta was upbeat about the event. “We are not politicians. We cannot change boundaries but we can start a process of healing. Yesterday there was the beginning of some process of healing because Hindus and Muslims were sitting together in complete harmony,” he told Indian television station NDTV.
The event was organised by Michael Steiner, Germany’s ambassador to India, with the avowed aim of reaching “the hearts of the Kashmiris with a message of hope...