By Ashraf Lone
I will not delve into the concept what “music is to the soul” or what are its benefits. The question that arose in my mind when I heard about another music concert being organized by Government next month was about the need of these shows. (This comes after we have been through music show by a lady singer just a few days ago). Here, I am not going to pass judgment(s) which singer is best or which singer should we invite and , but I take issue with the fact that in the garb of promoting tourism , we are committing blunder after blunder and wasting public exchequer on useless and futile pursuits.
Do we really need these music concerts one after the other? The answer is simply a big No, because we have not reached that level where we can afford these western style lavish programmes and gatherings one after the other. We simply copy western style and, unfortunately until now, we have copied almost everything negative from that culture and pop culture is one among these. The concert culture and music shows are a pure western thing and before copying it we should have thoroughly studied their culture and society and their economic condition and then compared it with our own. It is always said that West is some 2-3 centuries ahead of the 3rd World in terms of development-be it scientific or economic and in it we can add other cultural or social aspects as well.
In most of the European countries , education has been given most importance through ages and this is the big reason why West is ahead of us in every respect. Most of the contemporary education curriculums and methods are based on western models and world is benefitting from these. The West has progressed in every respect. It has produced scientists, doctors, sociologists, political theorists, writers and so on of the highest caliber and whole world is benefitting from its advancement and development. The problem is that we blindly imitate what we see on visual media, Hollywood movies and arrive at negative conclusions. This has badly affected our thinking towards the West. We ignore the history and the struggles behind western development and progress.
We cannot afford these kinds of musical concerts and lavish gatherings in the name of tourism and bringing peace to the wounded valley. While , on the one hand, we have corruption in the government sector but the big problem and concern is that we are ignoring the most vital aspects of our society which need more attention than these musical concerts. This is our education system which is crumbling day by day with high level of corruption and negligence.
There are some areas in Kashmir where girl education is not given much importance at higher levels. The Government school buildings are in a mess. Those schools which got damaged from the 2014 floods are still waiting to be repaired. School infrastructure is not updated. The science labs in our Higher .Secondary schools and some Degree Colleges are biting the dust. These labs have not been upgraded with the changing times and students have to just focus on theory and rote learning. Most of the chemicals and other material are of substandard quality or expired. Practical is nothing of that sort which we can compare with private schools. Our government schools lack everything which a school in 21st century should not lack at.
We are not living in ancient times where a Pathshala was required to take care of the education of some particular section of the people. Gone are days when we studied in open fields with blackboards hung on trees though it was good than today’s times owing to the corruption free atmosphere and sincerity of the teachers. But, time has changed drastically and with it also the methods of education. Science and technological education is considered the backbone of today’s education system and we cannot teach modern science and hold lab experiments in open paddy fields. Methane cannot be prepared on paddy fields; rather it needs well equipped labs with up-to-date infrastructure and so on To be precise, in the 21st century we need up-to-date labs in our schools and colleges. Libraries should be built in every educational institution from primary to higher levels. Library is considered the backbone of the modern education system, but there are hundreds of schools in Kashmir which do not have a small. Some schools lack expert teachers of some important subjects.
Why waste so much money on the crap musical shows, when there are other areas which badly need attention and money? Our own Sufi music industry and Sufi poets and singers deserve much attention than these pop stars. They need promotion and monetary help to sustain in changing times and to preserve our cultural heritage. Are not there better ways for the promotion of tourism? The Government must stop using public money on these lavish pop-music shows and other lavish extravagance and concerts in these trying times or at least show some concern also for other issues and areas. There are other sectors also which badly need attention.
It would be better if government first spends some money on building good infrastructure in schools rather than musical concerts. It is a shame for the government that most of the school buildings in Kashmir are in a dilapidated condition that need immediate attention. Instead, the government is spending crores on musical shows and other useless festivals in the garb of promoting tourism and to further its other agendas. In the final analysis, all this is appears to be in the nature of a cruel joke
—The author can be reached at: [email protected]