The Telegraph
Thursday , September 5 , 2013
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Suman song in Valley ring
- Singer questions logic of staging zubin concert

Srinagar, Sept. 4: Trinamul Congress MP Kabir Suman has given Kashmir’s pro-azaadi civil society members a song to counter Zubin Mehta’s concert.

In the song he has penned and uploaded on his website, the 64-year-old Calcutta-based singer has questioned the logic of staging the concert, Ehsaas-e-Kashmir, or feel of Kashmir, saying peace and music fail when “human souls are chained”.

He also asked the “great conductor” to be careful, as “soldiers might run for the drill” hearing the sound of the trumpet.

Mehta’s concert, organised by the German embassy, is scheduled to be held at Shalimar Garden in Srinagar on Saturday, the same day the civil society members have lined up a parallel show at the city’s Sher-e-Kashmir park to counter the government-backed event.

“We have engaged Kashmiri singers who will sing in Kashmiri, Urdu and English,” a spokesperson for the parallel concert had earlier said.

Kabir Suman

Suman’s song, which has created a buzz on social networking sites, will feature at the Sher-e-Kashmir park concert — Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir (reality of Kashmir) — organised by the J&K Coalition of Civil Society.

Khurram Parvez, spokesperson for the parallel concert’s organising committee, said Suman’s song was a “tribute to the sufferings” of Kashmiris. “We will be playing it at our programme.”

In the 2.20-minute song, played on guitar, Suman addresses the celebrated conductor as “Dear Zubin Mehta” before going on to ask: “Will your music weep for the martyrs, seventy thousand Kashmiris killed. Will your music bring back the thousands-disappeared in the shadows of the hills?” the dissident MP sings.

“What will you conduct Mr Mehta, the maestro that you are…. A bleeding Kashmir’s sonata at the garden of Shalimar…. Don’t use trumpet, maestro, our soldiers might run for the drill….”

The lyrics touch on other alleged rights abuses in the Valley. “Our guns not violins killed Kashmiri boys…. Be careful great conductor. Your baton may prompt a wail. When human souls are chained, both peace and music fail.”

The dissident MP, who has often come out with comments that have embarrassed his party, said he wrote the song on September 2, recording and mixing it the next day.

Zubin Mehta

The Valley’s civil society groups said they were taking other measures, too, to attract the attention of the international community to the “sufferings of Kashmir”, which their parallel show aims to highlight.

Spokesperson Khurram said they were inviting diplomats from various Delhi-based embassies, including those from Germany who are behind Mehta’s concert, to watch their programme.

Sources in the J&K Coalition said the civil society group was ready to stage the show but was still waiting for the government’s nod. “We have applied for the permission but the government is yet to respond to our request,” said a member.

While separatist leaders have opposed Mehta’s concert, saying any activity related to politics, diplomacy, culture or sports would have an adverse effect over the disputed nature of Kashmir, what has added to the government’s worry is the threat from some little-known militant groups.

The groups — Al Nasireen, Shohada brigade and Farzandan-e-Millat — have asked the German embassy to call off the concert.