THE BAVARIAN STATE ORCHESTRA performs during the Ehsas-e-Kashmir concert at the Shalimar Garden outside Srinagar on 7 September 2013. Many criticised the event, organised by the Indian government and the German embassy, claiming that by hosting hordes of dignitaries and Kashimiri elites, the government was using cultural diplomacy to legitimise its actions across the state. The separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani admonished his supporters to go on strike that Saturday, which led to tightened security at the concert. Disavowing the concert’s political implications, conductor Zubin Mehta went through with the performance, saying before he began, “When the music starts, a positive wave goes from this stage everywhere.”
Only hours before the concert, four people were fatally shot outside of a CPRF camp in Shopian. The Kashmiri government imposed a curfew on the town, which remained in effect for almost a fortnight after the last notes rang through Shalimar.