Published : 2013-09-09 19:52
Updated : 2013-09-09 19:52
SRINAGAR, India (AFP) ― Celebrated conductor Zubin Mehta led the Bavarian State Orchestra in a classical music concert Saturday in disputed Indian Kashmir despite strong objections from separatist leaders.
The heavily guarded event was staged in the Mughal-era Shalimar Gardens on the banks of picturesque Dal Lake in conflict-scarred Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar.
“Everybody on the subcontinent will agree with me that this is where it (the concert) should be,” the Mumbai-born Mehta said, referring to the beautiful setting with the Himalayan mountains in the background.
“I have waited and dreamt of this moment,” Mehta, who has conducted the Vienna, Berlin, Israel, New York and other philharmonic orchestras around the world, told the audience in the bright late afternoon before taking up the baton.
Some 1,500 guests, including government ministers and diplomats, listened raptly to strains of Beethoven, Haydn and Tchaikovsky at the concert by organized by Indian Kashmir’s state tourism department and the German embassy in New Delhi.
While the Shalimar Gardens event was an invitation-only affair, Mehta said he hoped to return to Kashmir and give a concert where “everybody can come.”
The concert ― named “Ehsaas-e-Kashmir” or “Feelings for Kashmir” ― was televized around the world.