M A I N   N E W S

Zubin set for mega show in city of contrasts
Ehsan Fazili/TNS

Srinagar, September 6
As the mild sun prepared to set over the Dal Lake, Zubin Mehta led his 100-member Bavarian State Orchestra to tempt an evening of his choice at Shalimar Garden: the music that seeks to soothe Kashmir.

The occasion was the rehearsal for Ehsaas-e-Kashmir to be performed before 1,500 distinguished guests on Saturday. The Garden is guarded by several hundred security personnel.

The moment Zubin alighted from his vehicle, scores of photographers captured his movement as he walked up to Shalimar Garden. This was the maestro’s first visit to the venue for a rehearsal. A second rehearsal is scheduled at the venue tomorrow morning.

The rest of Srinagar presented a scene of contrasts. Shops along the route from Dalgate to Shalimar Garden were shut as people kept their fingers crossed for Zubin’s show for which the country’s who’s who have been invited. The event, being hosted by German Ambassador Michael Steiner, has been in the limelight following opposition from a section of civil society and separatists.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is monitoring all arrangements. His father and Union minister Farooq Abdullah also visited the venue swarming with senior police and security forces personnel.

The concert is being projected as a rare event in the history of music and Kashmir. The ‘Concert for Kashmir’ will feature Beethoven, Hayden and Tchaikovsky compositions. It will be presented at Shalimar Garden 5 pm onwards and would be telecast live across 104 countries.

The list of invitees is a virtual who’s who of movers and shakers. Union ministers, ambassadors of European countries, Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir, industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani, actors Amitabh Bachchan and Shabana Azmi, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, state government ministers, legislators, top bureaucrats and military officers and select journalists are among those invited to the concert. Bollywood actor Gul Panag is hosting the event.

While some guests arrived here today, others are expected tomorrow. While many are staying in hotels around Dal Lake, including Lalit Grand Palace and Taj Vivanta, others have preferred houseboats.

Tight security arrangements have been made in and around the venue and elsewhere in the Kashmir valley as some little-known militant groups and separatists have opposed the event. The concert, according to separatist groups, was aimed at presenting a “rosy picture” about the situation in Kashmir. The hardline APHC led by Syed Ali Geelani has called for a general strike on the occasion and security agencies have been on high alert to maintain security ensure smooth conduct of the event.





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