J & K: Muslim-Pandit Bond Rejuvenated with ‘Salaam Mahara’
By Syed Rizwan Geelani
Srinagar, July 19: The musical and theatrical performance “Salaam Mahara” at SKICC on Thursday evening by youngsters rejuvenated the centuries-old bond of brotherhood between Muslims and Pandits of Kashmir.
The event best described the unity and brotherhood among the two communities of Kashmir valley in stage performances by youngsters from both communities, separated by the onset of political turmoil in the State since 1989. Young representatives from the two communities showed that love and harmony still exist between them.
Dr. Amit Wanchoo, Chief Executive Officer, Space Communications, in his welcome address, gave a resume of the aims and objects of organizing “Salam Mahara”. Governor, N N Vohra was the chief guest on the occasion. In his address, Vohra stressed the importance of showcasing the glorious composite cultural heritage of the State which spreads the message of peace, harmony, brotherhood and secular ethos.
The blended performance, “Salam Mahara” which was first of its kind, was organized by Space Communications and was directed by Krishen Langoo. The program started with Laal vakh (poetry of saint poetess Lal Ded) which took the audience back to lost culture and tradition of Kashmir.
“It was good to listen to the verses of Lalleshwari, who was creator of the mystic poetry called ‘Vat sun or Vakhs’. Her verses are the earliest compositions in Kashmiri language and are an important part in history of Kashmiri literature,” said Syed Altaf, who was lost in the performances of the children.
The special part of the event was participation of children born after 1989-the year political unrest started in Kashmir. They performed on the stage and expressed their wishes to revival of Kashmir’s lost culture and social set up.
“With a rope of loose spun thread am I towing my boat upon the sea. What that God heard my prayer and brought me safe across! Like water in cups of unbaked clay, I run to waste. Would God I were to reach my home” were the verses through which children expressed their wishes to see the lost Kashmir once again. Children portrayed the fairy tale image of Kashmir their grandparents have painted in their thoughts by performing in theatrical format titled “Gulrez”. The performance gave an image of Kashmir during happy times, brotherhood, tolerance and emotional connections that Kashmiri and Pandits shared for years in past.
As a special tribute to their motherland, the children who had come after long time to see Kashmir expressed their will in the form of a dance performance titled ‘Mouj Kashir’. It seemed that children were saluting their motherland.
Kashmiri Pandits’ marriage song ‘Vyaeg Vachan’ was presented in a unique way by the young performers from the communities. They took the audience back to pre-militancy period in Kashmir by presenting traditional Kashmiri marriage songs, usually sung by the female folk on marriage ceremonies.
Shikha Pandita, an 11-year-old girl expressed her happiness for being a part of the performance on a stage in Kashmir. “Shikha will be 12 on November 06. She is so happy to spend some days in Valley,” said an organizer of the programme. Bringing smile to the faces of the audience, Hafiz Nagma, a classical spiritual music of Kashmir made elderly members of audience to discuss the cultural values they shared in their childhood. The participant children represented lost image of Kashmir where Chinars and springs were considered quite auspicious. They depicted the happy moments of rural and urban Kashmir.
To the excitement of audience, ‘Maskharas’ which once used to be the prime source of entertainment in Kashmir also performed on the stage in order to depict the troubles irrespective of religion, caste and creed which people of Kashmir have faced.
The event concluded with a song ‘Mashal’ in which the artists gave a message that Kashmir will be fine and predicted the time where all Kashmiris have to unite for the prosperity. “If God has never been different between Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, who we are to do that,” was the message of the song.
Tabrez Madni spoke about the concept of this presentation while Imran Sheikh presented a vote of thanks. Those present on the occasion included first lady Usha Vohra, Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir, Minister for Tourism and Culture, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Chairperson, State Social Welfare Board, Khem Lata Wakhloo, MLC, Vijay Bakaya, H Bhaskar, intellectuals, writers, media persons, artists and invited audience.
[Source: The Daily Rising Kashmir]