India

Indian media: Calls to cancel Zubin Mehta's Kashmir concert

Image caption Zubin Mehta, the musical director of the New York and Israeli Philharmonic Orchestras, is due to perform in Kashmir on 7 September

Media in India are discussing calls by some separatist leaders to cancel a planned concert by noted musician Zubin Mehta in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The Hindu reports that the "Ehsaas-e-Kashmir" (Feelings of Kashmir) concert, organised by the German embassy and the state tourism department on 7 September, has run into "rough weather with uncharitable reactions" from senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Omar Farooq.

"Any sort of international activity, be it political, diplomatic, cultural or sports, will have an adverse effect on the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir," The Times of India quoted Mr Geelani as saying.

However, officials of the German embassy and some musicians have a different view on the concert.

"The German embassy is sure there would be a true Kashmir footprint around the concert. As Ambassador Michael Steiner has already said, the concert would be a tribute to the fantastic Kashmir culture and would be supported by the cultural icons of Kashmir," The Hindu quoted Nicolas Wagner, spokesperson for the embassy, as saying.

Waheed Jeelani, one of the most popular Kashmiri musicians based in Srinagar, feels that art, culture and theatre are "noble fields" which "should not be influenced by politics and vice versa", The Hindu report adds.

Staying with Kashmir, the entertainment industry in the valley recently got something else to cheer about with the state capital, Srinagar, becoming the first city in northern India to have its own 7D theatre, The Tribune reports.

"Although we are a great tourism destination, but there are no avenues for entertainment for locals and tourists... I decided to try something new and hence brought the 7D theatre to the valley," the paper quoted Sheikh Rashid, the theatre's engineer, as saying.

Memorial of music maestro

Continuing with the world of arts and entertainment, the family of one of India's most famous musicians, Ustad Bismillah Khan, is unhappy with the government's failure to build a mausoleum in his memory, The Economic Times reports.

Khan, who died in August 2006 at the age of 91, is credited with popularising shehnai, a wind instrument which can be loosely compared to an oboe, and elevating its status in India.

"If a mausoleum and a monument is not built in his memory, how will people know about him 50 years later? Coming generations will forget about his contribution to music," Nazim Hussain, the musician's son, said.

Meanwhile, newspapers are also discussing the passing of the "ambitious" and "historic" Food Security Bill in the lower house of parliament.

The bill will "ensure legal food entitlement to 50% of the urban and 75% of the rural population across the country at reasonably cheaper prices", The Asian Age reports.

The Indian Express says the bill comes "at a time when growth is crawling at crisis levels, and that, in its current form, the law is almost certain to be an expensive and leaky boondoggle".

Meanwhile, dengue cases in Delhi have increased sharply in the last few weeks, media reports say.

More than 40 people have tested positive in the last one week and the total number of cases this year, which is 96, is almost 10 times the cases reported in the corresponding period last year, The Times of India reports.

Elsewhere, India's Aadhar card scheme, which aims to provide unique identity numbers to all citizens, has recognised transgender "as a separate category under the head of gender" with 1,600 of them given their unique numbers recently in Delhi, the Hindustan Times reports.

Activist Harish Iyer praised the move, saying "it is time that we move beyond the gender binary".

And finally, India put up an "inspired performance" on Monday to beat title holders South Korea 2-0 for a place in the semi-finals of the Asia Cup hockey tournament, the Zee News website reports.

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