Flawed and Faulty Exercise

Flawed and Faulty Exercise

The Adnan Sami concert , organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department, was in the nature of an “in your face” offense to Kashmiris. The reasons pertain to the nature of the program itself and the contextual conditions that Kashmir finds itself in contemporarily. The mysterious braid chopping incidents, that are happening unabated , has had Kashmir and its people in thrall. The vale, on edge, is unable to come to grips with the collective and individual trauma of braid chopping, but , lo and presto, the administration holds a musical concert in Kashmir. At one level, the holding of the concert at a delicate moment in Kashmir’s political history, reflects the disconnect between the administration and the people. Besides issues of a political nature and the collective emotional universe of Kashmiris addled by the serial braid chopping incidents, there are prosaic but important bread and butter issues that dominate peoples’ thoughts in Kashmir. The economy is in doldrums, many people are struggling to make ends meet, there is political uncertainty in Kashmir and all that the administration can think and conceive of is a musical concert! Besides being appalling, this might be even said to constitute sheer callousness. It might be argued that the concert in contention was aimed at promoting tourism – a vital industry- in Kashmir. But, while these kind of events can serve as a signaling device to potential tourists, the major issue(s) are the conflictual conditions in Kashmir. It is then the context and conditions and not merely promotional events that matter. In the least, these have to be aligned with each other. But, there is a dissonance between conditions and promotional events in and about Kashmir. Another allied issue is the massive dollops of monies that are spent by the tourism department in and over these promotional events. On the ground, there is hardly any impact of these events in terms of developing and enhancing the tourism potential of Kashmir. This money is then wasted. In the final analysis, Kashmir is a brand itself but this brand has been cannibalized for far too long to fetch robust and real returns. What are needed are concerted efforts to improve upon both the tangible and intangible aspects of Kashmir. These would include infrastructural development that is tailored to all tourist and market segments, helping and assisting those involved in the tourism industry and capacity building, among other things. But, what should undergird these attempts are genuine and sincere attempts at conflict resolution. Till then, nothing will really and substantively help