Zubin Mehta to perform in Kashmir, organisers confident

New Delhi: Celebrated Mumbai-born conductor Zubin Mehta is set to perform at the historic Shalimar Bagh in the Kashmir valley Sep 7 and chief organiser German Ambassador Michael Steiner is confident that the programme would go without a hitch.

Public music performances have been taboo in the Valley ever since Mufti Azam Bashiruddin, Grand Mufti of Kashmir, issued a fatwa against music in the valley.

At a press conference at the German Embassy here, the ambassador said: "We will only hold it if security situation allows." He said he was confident the event would go without any glitch.

Sitar maestro Bhajan Soprori and secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir Cultural Academy Bhashir Ahmed Bhat were also present on the occasion.

When asked whether Zubin Mehta`s nationality and background may cause trouble in the Valley, he said: "It is purely a musical event and it has nothing to do with politics."

"With the magic power of music, crossing geographical, political and cultural borders, we want to reach the hearts of Kashmiris with a message of hope and encouragement," he added.

In case of bad weather, the venue will be shifted to the convention hall of the Kashmir University.

As many as 1,500 guests have been invited for the event, being organised by the German Embassy in association with the Jammu and Kashmir government. It is being sponsored by a number of non-governmental organisations as well as multinationals.

The ambassador has been working to organise the concert for the past one year.

Compositions of Beethoven, Hayden, and Tchaikovsky will be played by the Bavarian State Orchestra from Munich, one of the well-known orchestras of the world. This will be a cultural tribute to Kashmir and its warm-hearted people, said ambassador Steiner.

Meanwhile, the state government has appointed two high-level committees to ensure that no trouble takes place during the event.

One committee is headed by Principal Home Secretary and has Additional Director General of Police as one of its members.

Another committee, tasked with looking into logistic support, comprises high officials of tourism, floriculture and other departments, besides the deputy commissioner of Srinagar.