Songs And Dance For Kashmir's Future
11 August 2004
Islamabad: An international group of artistes, including a singer of Pakistani origin, is in Indian-administered Kashmir for a performance of music and dance. Samia Malik is delighted to be in Kashmir It is the first time that the troubled region will be hosting an international cultural concert of this kind. The concert is travelling to 10 other Indian cities and also Bangladesh. Organised by celebrated Indian dancer, Mallika Sarabhai, the concert is aimed at highlighting human rights and women's issues. Samia Malik, a London-based singer of Pakistani origin, arrived in the Kashmiri summer capital Srinagar on Wednesday afternoon. She said she is thrilled to be in Indian- administered Kashmir. 'I am aware that there are so many tensions, so many problems here. Yet, I feel honoured to have been invited here,' she said. Ms Malik is part of a six-member group of artistes who will perform in Srinagar on Thursday evening. Reaching out The group includes Mallika Sarabhai and two other Indian artistes besides two dancers from the US and Italy. Mallika Sarabhai: 'Time to look beyond nationalities' Ms Sarabhai said it was time that people forgot about their nationalities and rose against the abuse of human rights and injustice against women. 'For this purpose, it is necessary to reach out to the people through art. We are taking this performance to every part of the world,' she said. The group were due to travel to Pakistan but that has now been deferred to December due to cancellation of visas of two Indian artistes. Cultural comeback The Srinagar leg of the concert is being held with the co-operation of the state's Academy of Art, Culture and Languages. The event has attracted a lot of attention and people have been coming in large numbers to collect invitation cards. The artistes will also perform in the state's winter capital, Jammu, on Friday. The academy has hosted quite a few Indian and foreign artistes in Srinagar and Jammu this year - a first since hostilities broke out in Kashmir 15 years ago. 'Such events help in diverting the minds of the people away from the violence happening around them,' the academy secretary says.