“Chupke chupke raat din
Aansoo bahaanaa yaad hai
Hum ko ab tak aashkeekaa
O zamaanaa yaad hai ” -lamenting so are the Mumbaikar ghazal connoisseurs. As the Shiv Sena darted a threatening letter to the managing committee of the famed Shanmukhananda Hall not to go forward with the proposed ghazal concert by the world renowned ‘hindustani’ singer Ustad Ghulm Ali, the program was cancelled. Pune, the known garrison of Hindutwa ‘fringe’ elements followed suit. It was a program intended to express the fond memory Ghulam Ali has of Late Jagjit Singh, the world famous Indian Singer and music-director.
“I am not angry with whatever has happened. But, was deeply hurt as I could not render a fitting tribute to the late ghazal maestro, Jagjit, who was like a brother of mine” commented the Ustad. The streak of sorrow can’t be missed in his voice.
But, India, the place-of-birth for both ‘hindustani’ music and the ghazal gaaykee -the art of rendering ghazals, does not stand impoverished before the world, with such fanatic political stances. The Capital of the country, Delhi, invited the Ustad to sing from any of its coveted cultural centres. And, then came forward the cultural citadel of the country- the West Bengal State- which also invited Ghulam Ali to conduct his program from any platform he may choose. The most interesting part of these invitations is that they were served on the Ustad by none other than the respective State governments.
There was no dearth of lip service from the BJP camp. Union Minister and BJP official spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told the media that what all the Sena did was ‘absolutely wrong.’ The Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis also observed that ‘it’s incorrect to involve Ghulam Ali in Indo-Pak politics’. As the German proverb goes, ‘Sweet words do not fill the pocket.’ And, there is no point in ‘sympathising’ with the Ustad. After all, it is our country which lost its face before the International Community. What Delhi and W. Bengal did was the best anyone can accomplish. Of course this is not for the first time that such parochial stances were efficiently rebutted by the right thinking brains.
Ustad Ghulam Ali must have realized by this time that India, as a nation, is not reeling under the hysteric Hindutwa spell of which Shiv Sena and BJP are the official salesmen here. Hence, he must visit either Delhi or West Bengal and provide the ghazal afficianados there an opportunity to take pleasure in listening to hismakhmali awaz.