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A Victory for Kashmir


, security forces in motorized speed boats patrolled the Dal Lake, and plain clothes security personnel were planted among the members of the audience. But none of this came through in the live telecast. The video of the concert shows that the camera persons of Doordarshan (the public service broadcaster) did a sterling job of keeping the inevitable militarization of the event out of sight. Still despite its apparent success the much hyped concert appears to have backfired on its sponsors and facilitators. In the final tally the concert is unlikely to be viewed as a successful projection of peace and normalcy in Kashmir. There were far too many unscripted elements that gave away inconvenient truths regarding Indian military rule. The parallel event Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir (Reality of Kashmir) organized by anti-occupation activists brought out through speeches, poetry readings, theater, music and art exhibition the sufferings of Kashmir under Indian rule as well as the ongoing struggle for freedom. In its national telecast NDTV (New Delhi Television) had to split its screen to cover the two overlapping events. Then there was the remarkable outburst of the manager of the Bavarian State Orchestra who complained of having been misled by the Embassy. According to him the orchestra had been under the impression they would be playing for the Kashmiri people, in the ‘spirit of brotherhood and humanity’not at a restricted ‘embassy concert.’ He must have seen something that struck him with revulsion. Could it be the oppressive militarization that he witnessed all around him right from the moment of landing at Srinagar airport? Several journalists from Germany were present at the event. When their stories are published more will be known about what the members of the orchestra saw and heard in Srinagar.