Not angry, but hurt says Ghulam Ali after Sena threats get concert cancelled

Pak singer says atmosphere is not conducive to perform

Not angry, but hurt says Ghulam Ali after Sena threats get concert cancelled

The much talked about concert by Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali in Mumbai was called off on Wednesday night after protests and objections by the Shiv Sena, an ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre and Maharashtra.

The concert, scheduled on Friday evening, was organised to pay tributes to late Jagjit Singh, coinciding with his fourth death anniversary, which falls on October 10.

Reacting to the development, Ghulam Ali said the concert was not cancelled from his end. “Atmosphere is not conducive for me to perform,” he said, adding, he wants Indo-Pak ties to improve. He further said that whenever his fans call him with love, he goes and performs. “Such controversies spoil people’s ‘sur’ (note). I am not angry, I am hurt. In love, such things don’t happen.”

However, Randhir Roy, the organiser of the concert said they are exploring the possibilities of holding the concert with other singers and composers to pay tributes to the legendary Indian ghazal maestro.

The decision to call off the concert was taken after the organisers met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai. Senior Shiv Sena leaders, including Rahul Shewale, the MP from Mumbai South Central, were present.

“If it is not cancelled, we would protest in Shiv Sena style,” Akshay Badrapurkar, the general secretary of Chitrapat Sena, had said earlier in the day, after visiting the Shanmukhananda Hall at Matunga here and asking the organisers and the hall management not to host the Pakistani singer.

The issue took another turn when Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Ghulam Ali was welcome to perform in Mumbai. “The Maharashtra government is ready to give full protection to the singer. It is wrong to involve Ghulam Ali in Indo-Pak politics,” he said.

“We all know what his happening, over the last couple of days. In firing along the border, four soldiers have been killed. We know the incidents of terrorism in Mumbai and India…at this stage, we cannot allow Pakistani artistes to perform in Maharashtra,” Shewale said.

Badrapurkar also pointed out: “There are so many singers and composers in India….right from A R Rehman to Sonu Nigam, they could have paid tributes, we agree there is a ghazal connection, but again, we have to see the backdrop,” he said.

The 74-year-old Ghulam Ali, earlier this year, sung in a concert at the famous Sankat Mochan in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency. Mumbai-based peace activist Jatin Desai, who is the general secretary of Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD), said music and culture know no boundaries. “Hindustani music is as popular in Pakistan as in many other countries as it is in India. Music spreads the message of peace. Ghulam Ali is as popular in India as in Pakistan. Mumbai and India love Ghulam Ali,” he said.

Roy, who was the main organiser, said he agreed with the viewpoint of Thackeray. “What Shiv Sena was saying was also there in the back of my mind,” he said. When asked as to when it was planned, he said it was around four months ago. “Around 80 per cent tickets have been sold out….but this is not a big thing…what is important is that since the last two weeks, there has been more incidents of firing across the border….as far as the concert goes, we have to pay tributes to Jagjit Singh, we would be doing something.”


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